Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Musings on ePortfolios

The ePortfolio movement is maturing.  We are moving from a stage of a number of stand alone ePortfolios to developing more consensus regarding standards for interoperability e.g. the IMS and Leap2A.  Also there are 2 major open source ePortfolio tools - OSP and Mahara and these are to greater or lesser extent integrated with open source Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) - Sakai and Moodle.  There are vendors who will help institutions with installation, training and support for these open source tools.  Of course there are several commercial systems too for ePortfolios.

Institutions thinking about going the ePortfolio route have to first think about portfolios without the "e".  They need to understand the purpose of the portfolio and need to get buy in from the faculty and the students.  While portfolios seem to make a great deal of education sense, left to themselves, most students will not create portfolios!  Ali Jafari has a nice article summarizing the issues in Educause 2004.

Once the decision regarding implementing portfolios is made, going electronic makes a lot of sense.  Institutions will need to make a decision re Build or Buy.  As they review their options, it would important to keep the functionalities in mind.  I have put together a mind map of issues to consider when building or buying an ePortfolio system.