Friday, February 29, 2008

ePortfolios 101 - Intro and Definitions

The most important thing to do before you decide on an ePortfolio system is to figure out what your goal is. What do you want the stakeholders to get: Students? Faculty? School? Institutions? (See the poster.)

Here are some things to consider:
1. The Repository:

where the student can put up a variety of files, and select which ones to “make public” within an ePortfolio instance. Examples: Blackboard, TaskStream, LiveText.

2. Secure/Selective Access:

owners can build ePortfolios for specific needs, and allows them to limit (or open) access. For example, a student might build an ePortfolio for her parents, which would differ from the ePortfolio for her snowboard group, which would differ from the ePortfolio for a potential employer. Contents may be shared, but each would have a different audience, and access would be controlled by the owner (who issues passwords). Examples: Blackboard, TaskStream, LiveText.

3. Workforce Development:

specifically allows the student to own the ePortfolio and use it long after they leave the institution. Unless your Institution highly supports alumni, the Blackboard, WebCT, Angel models are not viable for this. Examples: TaskStream, LiveText.

4. School/Institutional Goals:

allows for data aggregation, data analysis, and is helpful for accreditation.
This requires careful planning by breaking down goals and standards and aligning
them with specific departments, classes, assignments. This usually requires the
development of a template which is pushed to the student. The student uses the
template to upload specific assignments into ‘buckets’. The back-end collects
the data which can then be used to demonstrate student achievement and
institutional success. Accreditation agencies are becoming familiar with this
and most vendors allow for random selection. Examples: TaskStream, LiveText.

I am a firm believer that an ePortfolio should be student-centered. They own it, and they should be able to use it for job search (workforce development) and get to it after they graduate.