Monday, March 03, 2008

Reflecting on ePortfolios

Screenshot Last week's Febrile Ramblings post provoked the best discussions for some time, so having decided that there's a market for unstructured gibberish, here's another post in the same style :-)

I'm not able to do full justice to this morning's excellent BDRA presentation Using eportfolios and blogs as transition 'spaces' into and out of the University by Julie Hughes and Emma Purnell from the University of Wolverhampton, but it generated the following thoughts:
  • Online Identities: Perhaps we should get students to consider this question: What does a Google search for your name reveal, and what would you like it to say about you?
  • ePortfolios promote a dialogic, iterative approach to feedback (c.f. Bloom, mastery learning).
  • ePortfolios can be a "store of assets" to be rebadged and repurposed for multiple audiences, and/or a reflective exercise.
  • ePortfolio templates/exemplars are a good idea.
  • Institutional funding input is not sustainable long term, ergo lifelong learning requires a strategy which extends beyond the institution.


  1. I was also at the presentation and found it fascintaing. Julie is certainly an enthusiast and invests a lot of herself in the mentoring of teachers. It raised some interesting points for me - teaching delivered via the portfolio system did provide leadership for the students. Julie's observation that reflection is hard and hard to teach made me realise that we are up against some massive barriers in our PLE project.

    I like the idea of doing a named google search with students. I also think showing them that we have access to social spaces too - they are usually very shocked by this - will make them think more carefully about how they protect their online identities.

    A key point for Julie's students was security. The portfolios were by default locked down and private. The students needed to make a conscious choice to share. This perhaps encouraged them to be more open that they would otherwise?

  2. Open-ness and online identity management being inextricably linked. If students feel they can hide behind institutional barriers, they are not learning the real world lessons that they will eventually need.