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COURSE

Module 4: Design an ePortfolio ecosystem

Introduction

After reviewing the ePortfolio concept (module 1), its related perspectives and purposes (module 2) and setting up an ePortfolio Strategy (module 3), let’s start talking about the setup of an ePortfolio ecosystem. Contrary to common belief, choosing an ePortfolio platform is not an essential part of creating an ePortfolio solution. What is essential is to create an ePortfolio eco-system where all stakeholders can interact as seamlessly as possible. This module will assist you in designing this context, which will “house” your and/or your users of the ePortofolio.  The course module will not recommend any specific technical solution, but will make some recommendations on the possible architectures for an ePortfolio eco-system. Note that in module 6 you will get more information on how to evolve your ePortfolio ecosystem into an more widespread organizational solution.

Objectives of the module

  • At the end of this module you will be able:

  • Based on your strategy set up a list of demands for your ePortfolio ecosystem

  • Review whether your existing assets can be used as a possible infrastructure for ePortfolios

  • Describe what practices the use of ePortfolio will replace, or how the use will change practice
 

Warm up questions

  • Do you have existing assets that could facilitate/hinder the implementation of an ePortfolio?

  • What do you expect from the implementation of an ePortfolio?

  • Do you plan to use ePortfolios to do what you are already doing or to change practice?

 

You will have a need for a number of “containers” for the evidence as well as other content of your ePortfolio. These containers can be accessible for all or they might have restrictions when it comes to access. Some parts ePortfolios may be private, and some parts of ePortfolios may allow access for a limited number - and then again some ePortfolios is accessible for everybody. The demands for accessibility of your ePortfolio are based on the strategy, which was the outcome of module 3.

You might already have the necessary assets. If you are in an educational environment there are probably school servers or an intranet. This is a possible room for the ePortfolio. Maybe you have a Learning Management System which supplies a number of possibilities.

If your existing assets fail to meet your demands don’t be alarmed. On the internet tools are constantly being developed which may offer you a lot of the possibilities you need to create the best ePortfolio environment.

Some platforms may require more technical knowledge and expertise whereas some are easier to navigate and to build.  You should choose a platform that is easily maintained, so make your decision based on the one that fits your skill level.

ePortfolio ecosystems are not just a question of technology. To be successful you should based on your strategy (module 3) look at your existing practices and see if some of it could be replaced by the ePortfolio use. If you are an individual you might think about your ePortfolio as a replacement of your personal website, your CV or your Personal Development Plan. If your point of view is organisational maybe the ePortfolio practice could replace or supplement any work you do in regards to students’ or employees’ Personal Development Plans. Maybe it could relate to your general work in regards to students’ or the organisation’s learning. Maybe it could be used instead of one or more types of assessment of learning. You can read more about this in module 5.

The same should be investigated in relation to whether or not there are existing practices which would be a hindrance to the development of an ePortfolio ecosystem. For example summative evaluations of student work are seldomly beneficiary in relation to an ePortfolio ecosystem which is more about progression and development. Examples of own work will in this regards be seen as steps in a progression rather than a “fixed” result.

Additional online resources on ePortfolios’ ecosystems that may assist you creating demands for your ePortfolio ecosystem:

 
  • To learn more on the use of Learning Management System for ePortfolio (case Blackboard), watch the following video Swinburne University of Technology:

    

 
  • To learn more about the perspective of portfolio ecosystem for an individual watch the following video from Glasgow Caledonian University

 

 
 

For individuals

  1. Based on the ePortfolio strategy create a list of demands for container for content and evidence.

  2. Review your existing assets.

  3. Determine how they fit to your list of demands.

  4. If they don’t fit use this tool to help you look for an external resource, http://think.stedwards.edu/career/choosing-platformhost-site-build-e-portfolio

  5. Review your current practices and reflect on if the ePortfolio ecosystem might replace some of them (or all of them)

  6. Describe your ePortfolio ecosystem - either as a use of existing assets or as based on external resources. Define how it relates to existing practices, and whether you recommend changing some of them.

 

For organizations

  1. Based on the ePortfolio strategy create a list of demands for container for content and evidence.

  2. Review your existing assets.

  3. Determine how they fit to your list of demands.

  4. If they don’t fit use this tool to help you look for an external resource, http://think.stedwards.edu/career/choosing-platformhost-site-build-e-portfolio

  5. Review your current practices and reflect on if the ePortfolio ecosystem might replace some of them (or all of them)

  6. Look at your current practices and reflect on if any of them could be seen as a hindrance to the ePortfolio ecosystem. If this is the case determine what it would take to change them.

  1. Describe your ePortfolio ecosystem - either as a use of existing assets or as based on external resources. Define how it relates to existing practices, and whether you recommend changing some of them.

 

Additional online resources on ePortfolios’ ecosystems that may assist you complete the activities suggested above:

  • To learn more about what to demand of your ePortfolio ecosystem watch this video by Lauri Dietz, Director of the University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL) at DePaul University, Chicago, USA

 
 

It is now time to share with your peers:

  • Develop and share the description of your ePortfolio ecosystem through your Personal Blog and invite comments from your peers

  • For an optimal dissemination of your ideas use the course hashtag #ePcourse and the Europortfolio community hashtag #epnet.

 
  • Based on the previous comments, revise your description of the ecosystem.

  • Write a brief essay explaining your ePortfolio ecosystem and share it through your Personal Blog.

  • Try to answer some of the questions that arose in the previous module.