Monthly Archives: March 2011

My Showcase – new evidence aggregating tool (#eportfolio)

My Showcase is a new open-source web-based tool for gathering evidence for use in an eportfolio. I saw a demo at the JISC  2011 conference in Liverpool this week delivered by David Sowden and David Waller from the University of Hull and it looks very promising.

You can gather evidence into a Twitter-style stream, which can include free text, links and uploaded documents, but more importantly, content from social media sites, Twitter and Flickr. MyShowcase filters these either by the user choosing a particular photoset in Flickr or a hashtag in Twitter. 

The Davids said they are looking into expanding the list of supported social media sites over time.

RSS feeds can be included making linking to blog easy and you can also incorporate PebblePad Webfolios and links from Sakai.

Evidence can be tagged and mapped against a range of different frameworks. The number of frameworks is limited at the moment but will grow over time.

The evidence stream is potentially too unwieldy to share with others but a user can select certain pieces of evidence to be collated into a shareable showcase. Users define who can see this showcase by defining email addresses of reviewers and so can be tightly controlled. There’s no option at the moment to make a Showcase completely public.

It’s currently available as a download for self-hosting, as a Moodle plugin (a Sakai tool is undergoing testing at the moment) or there is a hosting partner organisation. They also promised a smartphone app would shortly be arriving to enable evidence-grabbing on the go.

Other significant aspects of the project development include looking at interoperability and ways of enabling learners to maintain their evidence stream after they have left their institution.

There’s a demo site to have a go on. Be warned, to keep the demo site manageable, content is routinely wiped so don’t rely on it for your own content.

I certainly found it easy to use and a distinctive addition to the range of tools available. 

ePortfolio Community of Practice on Cloudworks

To support and nurture the extensive community of practice surround the implementation and use of eportfolios and associated pedagogies, Sarah Chesney, a freelance consultant, has set up a discussion and networking site on the Cloudworks environment. Sarah says:

The JISC funded E-portfolio Community of Practice (ePCoP) Project is led by the University of Wolverhampton and funded by the LifelongLearning and Workforce Development Benefits Realisation Programme.

The project is funded until the end of March 2011, but it is anticipated that the community will continue to exist and grow after this date, supporting and encouraging members who are keen to explore the use of e-portfolios to support lifelong learning. The community is using Cloudscapes to host asynchronous discussions alongside a range of other technologies.

All with an interest in e-portfolios and the pedagogy underpinning their use are welcome to participate and become part of the community.

It’s a great opportunity to link up with other people interested in the topic.

And a date for your diary; on the 5th and 6th of April, Gordon Joyes and Angela Smallwood from the University of Nottingham will be leading a discussion on the site on the JISC funded e-portfolio implementation (ePI) Project.


The HE5P Project – supporting links between employers and the HE sector

Rob Ward from the Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA) drew my attention to this this week; the site for the HE5P project. If you are an employer or work in Higher Education in the field of work-based learning then this will be of interest.

As the site itself explains, the project 4 overlapping aims are to:

  1. “Collate and analyse existing practices in work based learning e-portfolio practice(s), specifically via a review of literature and existing practice.
  2. Build capacity to develop and promote best practice in using e-portfolio technology to support employer and learner engagement in higher level learning, specifically via the development and support of a national partnership:
  3. Disseminate key lessons and experiences which will inform/shape policy and transfer practice.
  4. Provide an evidence base and national e-portfolio specification to contribute to policy and practice to ensure the effective implementation of the employer/employee engagement agenda, via data collection and reporting and the provision of an Information Architecture Model.”

Of particular interest are the range of 7 scenarios and the Information Architecture Model (IAM) that they are linked to. The IAM is a very detailed diagram and is “designed to explore the role of e-portfolio and related tools in the context of other information systems which can or may play a part in some engagement process.” Helpfully, they have produced a step by step video (requires Flash) with audio commentary to guide you through it.

The CRA is a registered educational UK charity that aims to “promote the awareness of recording achievement and action planning processes as an important element in improving learning and progression throughout the world of education, training and employment”.

As well as offering support to their members they also run numerous events. Last year I attended their international symposium on ePortfolios and Personal Development Planning which was an an extremely valuable experience. I wrote a couple of reports here and here.