Exploring e-Portfolios event

Filed Under (e-portfolios) by elearning4bradford on 19-12-2008

I attended the JISC RSC YH Event “Exploring e-Portfolios” at York St. John University on Friday 12th Dec. The event was well organised and featured in the morning session an interesting debate on the use of e-portfolios that centred on whether this use was to the learners’ benefit or whether it was more to the institutions benefit. Four speakers who supported either side of the debate were entertaining and raised some interesting points. The audience were given the opportunity to participate by txt message during the debate presentations and also to ask questions from the floor – this added an enjoyable interactive dimension.
The debate really focused on what I’m calling the “control aspect” of the deployment of e-portfolios; on the one hand an institutionally sponsored e-portfolio solution might provide highly structured function typically within the, what one of the speakers Neil Currant – University of Bradford – called a safe environment. On the other hand there is an unstructured non-institution sponsored approach that relies heavily on the use of Web 2.0 tools such as flick and Google docs to allow the learner to develop their own portfolio – Kevin Campbell-Wright spoke to this theme with much passion and made the profound point that for today’s learners the world is the classroom. I came away from the debate not convinced by either argument – or perhaps not convinced that there needed to be a choice made between the two – could both approaches not work in the same institution?

At Bradford College Malcolm Smith (who was also running a workshop at the York event ) is using Mahara while we also have staff using other systems e.g. ELGG. This for me then is a key aspect; in short do I need to advocate a particular approach to e-portfolios or even prescribe one particular e-portfolio product or do I provide a set of guiding principles to ensure teachers (and learners) have a range of options to choose from.

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