Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Portfolios have long been a part of learning, teaching and professional practice, therefore, why use ePortfolios and do Web 2.0 tools have to offer?

Abstract: "This paper will showcase what was, at the time, effective practice, whereby Foundation students at Dubai Men's College (DMC) developed a Career ePortfolio as part of an integrated Computer, Research Skills and Projects Course. Some students were able to use their ePortfolio to obtain summer jobs and work placement, and reflective practice was encouraged through discussion, use of rubrics, and peer feedback. However, the ePortfolios were not interactive or easily portable, and the final artifact was produced for assessment.

Several benefits beyond the 'static' ePortfolio utilised at DMC have been identified, in particular around those created with Web 2.0 social software. Key positive outcomes indicated in recent research studies include increased and improved reflective practice, enhancement in the quality of final artifact (partly facilitated by multimedia and mobility), a clear authentic purpose, and a greater sense of audience. The audience is often interactive thereby helping to shift the locus of power from the teacher as knower?. Designed around experiences at DMC and the benefits mentioned, pre-pilot initiatives were undertaken at Unitec NZ in 2008, and a larger-scale pilot is planned for 2009. Underpinning these initiatives are a range of issues around assessment practices, Web 2.0 tools, professional development, and ethical considerations. This session will describe developments at Unitec NZ, as well as soliciting feedback, input and discussion from the audience around these and other associated aspects of ePortfolios."

Slideshare presentation:

Accompanying resource document:

Please cite as: Owen, H. (2009, February 8-10). Portfolios have long been a part of learning, teaching and professional practice, therefore, why use ePortfolios and do Web 2.0 tools have to offer? Paper presented at the Australian ePortfolio Symposium 2009.


Ray Tolley said...


Thanks for a most informative and enjoyable presentation.

However, one of the comments on your SlideShare made the issue appear to be an argument of two extremes, 'the locked-down VLE' OR 'cloud computing'.

I would argue that there IS a middle way, that of an externally hosted e-Portfolio tool that can link closely with the VLE and yet use all the advantages of social software, all within one's personal e-Portfolio.

I supply such a system which provides for full portability, support, maintenance, upgrade and backup all for about $3 per annum.

Please see my blog:

Or my demo e-Portfolio:

Kind Regards,
Ray T

Hazel Owen said...

Dear Ray
Thank you very much for your interesting observations. I was intrigued with what you were proposing as a middle way, and have visited the sites you recommended. (This interestingly led to a trail of fascinating resources, but that is another story ;-)

Thinking long and hard about what EFolio offers, it is the underlying ethos that I am struggling with. If a system such as EFolio were recommended by an institution (with the option for learners/faculty to use another tool/suite of tools) then this is conducive to fostering creativity. My concern would be, as soon as an institution mandates a system then this has a tendency to foster conformity.

On the other hand, I am also aware that, if ePortfolios are to be used as part of an education programme as a reflection and an assessment tool, then some level of consistency will be desirable. There is also the point made in one of the videos on your site that saying "here is my ePortfolio" has a lot more impact for future employers than here is a link to my Facebook site. I would, however, argue that this comes full circle back to the notion of purpose(s), and maybe one of the skills that students may be learning at an institution if given free rein, is to explore which tools are going to be most appropriate for reflection, social networking, professional showcasing and so on.

Thanks again for the thought-provoking comment. Very much appreciated. Cheers. Hazel

Ray Tolley said...

Hi, Hazel, it's me again!

Again, you argue for both extremes! Yes, in my system you can have 'required' pages as part of the initial template. These would certainly include all the IMS conformity that other systems might want to import and export (for various reasons).

Such a start up can provide guidance and a sense of what the institution expects so that the less-experienced do have something of a 'kick-start'.

On the other hand, quite rightly, you want students to be able to select their own preferred tools. eFolio is purposely compatible with any tools or rich media.

As far as I am concerned this is the whole point of an e-Portfolio - to scream out at the reader, 'This is ME!' As I have often said to my students, the tools that you use and how you use them will tell older or more experienced people a lot about you.

Forgive my enthusiasm, I could go on for ages! But if you want a free trial with a group of students just let me know!