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.