Saturday, February 23, 2008

Portfolio solutions?

SkyDrive Tony and I have been discussing possible e-portfolio solutions for students. Tony, a big fan of the new Scribd iPaper platform, likes because it has:
  • folder based view - private, shared, or public; even share the contents of a folder via a webpage with the Box Widget.
  • edit your office documents via box's integration with Zoho
  • Preview documents you don't want to - or can't - edit, using Scribd's iPaper.
  • Publish documents to the world via Scribd
And then I stumbled across the new Windows Live SkyDrive, with it's free 5GB online storage, and mentioned that it might be part of an e-portfolio solution for students. At this point, our views started to diverge, with Tony favouring for its API integration.

But the more I look at it, the more I'm tending to think that our students will prefer the simplicity and familiarity of the SkyDrive interface over the bells and whistles of And since we're talking about e-portfolios as part of PLEs, user choice is a major factor, and uptake and maintenance becomes almost as important as features...


  1. I am just starting developing my own professional portfolio on wikispaces:

    Should I be thinking of using another platform or do you think wikispaces would do me?

  2. We've just started a technology evaluation project:
    which aims to look at a range of possible solutions:
    Wikis are definitely in the frame, but our final conclusions will be published in may/June, and I'm sure I'll publicize them here.

  3. Hi Alan!
    My name is Aaron and I'm with I saw your comparison of Skydrive v. on your blog and wanted to open up a dialog about the subject with you. Your points really resonated with me, especially as we strive to make a very simple and familiar solution (both of which you attribute to SD) - do you have any feedback that might help us better understand your needs or how could be improved? While we realize our API and integrations aren't for everyone, we hope they've been mostly kept to the side until you're ready to use them... any ideas or suggestions that you have would be much appreciated.

    Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for your email.
    As I understand it, goes beyond SkyDrive in terms of the provision of an API, etc. From my point of view however, the most important question is: what will our students want / need / like in terms of online storage, and what interface will they prefer so as to maximize take-up? We aim to answer those questions over the next few months by our evaluation project and the student roll-out starting in September.
    Of course, 5GB free storage is attractive ;-)

  4. For me, the major difference between and live skydrive is that the microsoft solution is just storage, with three access options - personal, shared and public folders.

    If you want to do anything with the skydrive files you need to download them to your desktop, or use a bookmarklet to open them in another web service. is more of a desktop - as well as storing files (and making them public shareable, group shareable or private) I can launch editors to actually do stuff with the files and access publishing options (eg on scribd).

    If you want mobile access, then that is one of the box commercial services, I think? ( )

    In the short term, it might be that just trying to push the idea of online storage and shared access is enough - and that being able to actually do things online with your files (like create and edit them) is too much for most people to grok all at once.

    In which case, then I guess the simplicity of the storage interface is enough: skydrive offers a segmented list ordered personal, shared, public folders; box by default displays all folders in creation date order (I think) but you can also filter them, view by tag etc. The state of 'sharedness' is identified by annotations on the folder cover (an 's' appears on shared folders, i think?)

    In short, I guess offers an environment, whereas (at the moment) skydrive is just a storage solution.

    PS would you like box better if it integrated with jing? ;-)