JISC announces Innovating eLearning Conference 2011 (online)

JISC has just announced details of it’s forthcoming online conference on Innovating eLearning subtitled “Learning in Transition”.

There’s a pre-conference activity week from the 15th – 21st November. The conference proper will run from the 22nd – 25th.

The pre-conference activity week “provides a platform for delegates and agencies, such as the JISC Regional Support Centres, to run their own short presentations and showcase events”. The following conference comprises live events that are recorded as well as asynchronous discussion areas for delegates.

The conference has two themes which are likely to be of interest to people involved in the areas of eportfolios, lifelong and work-based learning:

  • Learning landscapes explores the potential in technology to forge cross-sector collaboration through which further and higher education institutions, learners and employers can work together to shape a more forward-looking curriculum
  • Navigating pathways opens up some of the challenges involved in learning and teaching in a digital age and discusses potential technology-enhanced solutions  

The confirmed closing keynote speaker is Ewan McIntosh and further speakers will be announced nearer the time.

The conference is £50 per delegate.

Follow their Twitter account for updates: @jiscel2011


International Journal of ePortfolio – new open access journal

If you’re on Twitter and you follow anything to do with ePortfolios then you’ll be aware that the first issue of the new International Journal of ePortfolio (IJeP) has been published. It’s an open access publication and they are http://www.theijep.com/callforpapers.html.

The current issue includes an article by Susi Peacock, Sue Murray and Alison Scott of Queen Maragaret University and Jacquie Kelly of JISC Infonet on The Transformative Role of ePortfolios: Feedback in Healthcare Learning. It’s an interesting study on the impact of feedback in an area where responding to feedback is an essential element in professional competence. 

There are other articles on fostering integrative learning, self regulation and critical relfection and the use of professional portfolios in the employment of teachers in the US.

Ewan McIntosh on “messy” eportfolios: Show your working!

This short piece comes via Nancy Rubin’s blog. It’s Ewan McIntosh talking about the benefits of sharing eportfolios as widely as possible. It’s worth 4 minutes of your time.

He paints a picture of eportfolio use that is “messy”, that shows the learning process as well as the polished outcome and where the results are shared as widely as possible to captalise on opportunities for social learning.

It’s a very different view of eportfolios from the one that Donald Clark was dicsussing a while ago.

It made me think of something that Derrin Kent quoted at a conference last year, that a school child had described an eportoflio as a way to show “how much we’ve grown.” That “growing up” is a story of experiments, false starts, blind alleys as much as the nicely produced showcase of end-points. To get a full picture of learning you need to see both.

What do you think? Should students be showing off “messy” eportfolios to the world? 

Cloudworks discussion on eportfolios starts today

Gordon Joyes and Angela Smallwood, both associate professors at the Univeristy of Nottingham will be hosting am online discussion in Cloudworks today and tomorrow (5th and 6th April) around large scale implementation of eportfolios.

The starting point for the discussion is these 4 questions:

Why should we expect practitioners and their institutions to engage with e-portfolios?
Why is e-portfolio implementation not straightforward and why is it different to VLE implementation?
What are the key factors for success for practitioners and for large-scale engagement with e-portfolios  within an institution?
How can the support of senior managers be gained?

If you have a view on these or have further questions around the topic then please get involved.

You can find out more about the JISC funded ePortfolio Implementation Study here.

Life in a shoebox? – eportfolio debate on the blogs

Towards the end of last week Donald Clark, in characteristic style, outlined his arguments against the use of eportfolios. Among his arguments were points about the interoperability of systems, the institutionalised nature of many of them and a questioning the usefulness of the label of “lifelong leaners”. It’s interesting, provoking reading.

Unsuprisingly, it sparked quite a debate as you can see from the comments.

Also, Graham Attwell responded on his blog Pontydysgu, and Rowin Young of CETIS responded at more length as well.

Have you come across other blog responses? What’s your take on the debate?

Image credit: Donald Clark by Heloukee on Flickr – BY-NC-ND

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.





Google Apps ePortfolio Roundup

Much of the discussion on Twitter over the last few weeks has been about using Google Apps as a way of building eportfolios and it seems to have generated quite a bit of interest. Here are a few of the bits and pieces that people have been linking to. If there’s more that should be included here, please let me know in the comments or via Twitter


This diagram from Helen Barrett shows how different Google Apps can be integrated to form a coherent eportfolio. See the diagram in its original context for a fuller explanation.

Helen has also compiled a site around the use of Google Apps for eportfolios. It includes case studies, presentations and how to guides.

Clemson Uni in South Carolina has produced a recording of this webinar on their implementation. The presentation is about 33 minutes long followed by questions. Gail Ring, the Director of the ePortfolio prgramme talks about the purpose of their eportfolio programme (2:44), why they chose Google as a solution (15:12), the benefits for staff and faculty (23:10) and their next steps (27:55).

There is also a gallery of some of the Clemson eportfolios.