Implementation Guidelines for consortia

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A consortia is an association of two or more institutions (or individuals) with the objective of participating in a common activity and pooling their resources for achieving a goal.



Basically, Implementation Guidelines for institutions can be applied also for consortia, but following aspects are particular important when consortia plan to implement ePortfolios.

Vision and mission alignment

Usually, institutional visions and missions (as well as values) may differ. On the other hand it is crucial for a consortium, that its members agree on a shared a vision/mission.

Implementation experience in consortia shows, that this can be a really challenging task.

Example: ePortfolio-implementation at the | University of Abertay Dundee and partner institutions

Main Challenges:

  • Benefits of implementing ePortfolios have to match different contexts (Higher education and further education) and different needs of the partner institutions.
  • An appropriate ePortfolio-tool - effective for all partners - has to be designed/chosen.
  • The different language, that individual students understand at the present moment, has to be considered appropriately.

(However, in this implementation-case partners had an agreement on an underpinning pedagogic model – when there is not yet an agreement, it might be also very challenging)

Lessons Learnt:

  • Designers of the tool met with representatives of all institutions on a regular basis and built in flexibilities
  • Issue of terminology could not be resolved
  • Interoperability needs to be tackled from beginning of the implementation process, because resolution of this issue does take much time
  • A clear definition of responsabilities is crucial


In this context interoperability means, that institutions have to interact with each other - this is very challenging in terms of sharing goals and measures.

Interoperability means also the capacity for people to transfer their ePortfolios to other institutions. For this to be realized, different technical platforms and features must be able to exchange essential information internally and externally.

Following diagram hierarchically shows the levels of ePortfolio development in an organisation. As the levels progress, the concerns shift from the learner to implementation challenges for the institution and consortia.

Maturnity levels tool.png

Maturity levels

  • Level 1: skills are presented in a form of structured order of files, in Power Point presentation or on simple websites, blogs or wikis. Teacher has freedom to choose applications that is the most convenient for the learners. On this level online tools that are hosted outside a school and do not require installation can be used. This solution minimalises effort and time that should be spent on administration work.
  • Level 2: a system consists of dynamic web pages and is dedicated to ePortfolio development. ePortfolio owners can also create different sections of the site to allow access for different reasons. System includes technical support for teachers and learners (e.g. central repository of documents, standardize ePortfolio templates in institutional system)
  • Level 3: a system dedicated for e-portfolio is chosen by an instutution (a school) and adapted to the its needs and requirements. System is used as institutional one. It can be hosted The institution may also host the software to allow learners to build their portfolios.
  • Level 4: a system dedicated for ePortfolio is integrated into the process of instruction and assessment at school (ePortfolio process in integrated in curriculum).
  • Level 5: a system dedicated for ePortfolio has similar feature as those from level 3 and 4 but additionally it is adhered to standards that quarantees interoperability with other institutions.

Based on Siemens, G. 2004 ePortfolios [[1]]

Many of the key interoperability specifications for education are being developed by the | IMS Global Learning Consortium

Further information you`ll find at the following link:



When ePortfolios are implemented cross-institutional and institutions interact with each other, collaboration based on trust is essential.

Moreover, particularly in relation to consortia arises also the question, how the validity of evidences collected in ePortfolios can be ensured.

A solution (on an individual level) might be Open Badges

A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you have earned. Open Badges take that concept one step further, and allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations. And because the system is based on an open standard, you can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of your achievements — both online and off. Display your badges wherever you want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.

Open Badges is an online standard to recognize and verify learning:

  • Any organization/consortia can create, issue and verify digital badges, and any user can earn, manage and display these badges all across the web.
  • Open Badges help knit your skills together. Badges can build upon each other, joining together to tell the full story of your skills and achievement.
  • Every badge is full of information. Each one has important data built in that links back to the issuer, the criteria it was issued under and evidence verifying the credential — features unique to Open Badges.
  • Individuals can earn badges from multiple sources, both online and offline. Then manage and share them using the Open Badges backpack.

More information on how to use the Open Badge Infrastructure you'll find on | Mozilla’s Open Badges site

See also following links for open badge initiatives going beyond institutional barriers:

| cities of learning

| badge the UK