Sunday, December 13, 2009

ePortfolio platforms: Pros and cons

I was recently at an ePortfolio symposium in Australia, organised by Allison Miller. The first evening a number of ePortfolio platforms were showcased, and these are the notes, reflections and thoughts I recorded during the session.

Concord -

  • Use a lot of the 2nd/3rd year students as mentors to the freshers
  • Use ePF throughout their time at the college
  • One of the features of Concord, can package up different content

Assessment - some thoughts and questions

Not sure about the idea of locking down an artefact. How does that fit in with the notion of organic development? Is this a problem with the focus on assessment as an end product? Would learners still keep ePortfolios if they were not part of the assessment process? Perhaps one way to harness some of the key benefits of ePortfolios without tying them into summative assessment would be to have a ‘completion’ and/or participation grade. One of the things we found at Dubai Men’s College and at Unitec NZ is that it is not until learners have completed the first round or two of ePortfolio tasks, and have their heads around reflection and feedback, that they become aware of the learning benefits they are experiencing by completing their ePortfolios.

I would argue that once an artefact is locked down
  1. the learner loses their sense of ownership;
  2. they are dis-empowered; and
  3. possible ongoing learning experiences may be lost. Some students, in our experience, do continue to polish their designs and extend their ideas.

Desire2Learn ePortfolio -
  • Focus on personalised learning
  • Very little common understanding of what an ePortfolio is and can be – is that necessarily a bad thing? However, important for programmes who are going to use ePortfolios to agree on what they are looking for, why, and how it fits in with the general learning outcomes of the programme
  • ‘Virtual collections’ – e.g. student studying vet science – take a photo; want to use it in 5 or 6 different contexts
  • Web-based technology (can be installed on own servers, or hosted by the provider)
  • Key areas: artefacts, collections, reflections, presentation
  • Pages built on HTML – edited through a WYSIWYG environment
  • Storage space – use the Web based storage facilities, and then link to it in the ePortfolio. Also enables external Web sites to be used as objects to be reflected on.
  • Competencies tool = learning outcomes (can take snap shots of achievement)…I wonder what this means. Completion? Assessment / assignment grades? Quality of reflection? Progress in an ongoing project?

Mahara -
  • Multiple, tailorable views, using the same artefacts, for specific audiences
  • To set up templates for assessment use a control group (closed group, open group, control group). Can put start/stop date as part of the design when the view can be accessed
  • With Mahara you can release an artefact back to the student to continue working on

Assessment - some thoughts and questions

Is there the danger that artefacts for ePortfolios are only being created for assessment – glorified essays with illustrations? Do some of the tools focus on tying-down students? I wonder if there isn’t the opportunity instead, to personalise assignments (for authenticity as well as effective learning) in a way that also mimics authentic contexts, or immerses learners in situations that encourage the application of analytical, problem solving skills to authentic problems or issues.

Pebble Pad -
  • Assert that ePortfolios can be restrictive, and therefore, that ePortfolios are only one part of Pebble Pad
  • Pebble Pad is therefore described as personal learning space

1 comment:

Less is More said...

Using technology in studies has been very popular to students nowadays. They can even download the lectures and some E learning tools to help them in the course or lessons.