ePortfolios are a hot item in the news this week with several items worth noting. One is the posting of the ePortfolio Project and Mahara Update No.3 on eduforge which got a mention by Stephen Downes who also points to a powerpoint presentation you can download for more information.
Mahara is is a collaborative venture funded by New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Commission’s e-learning Collaborative Development Fund (eCDF), involving Massey University (lead provider), Auckland University of Technology, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, and Victoria University of Wellington. The project is charged with developing an open source ePortfolio application and to provide implementation strategies for the New Zealand tertiary sector – although it is clear that what is being developed will have much wider appeal, both nationally and internationally.
A Review of the Literature on Portfolios and Electronic Portfolios (.pdf) that was completed as part of the Mahara project has also been released. it provides an overview of benefits, functions, and successful criteria of portfolios, and an exploration of portfolio use in teacher education, medicine, and nursing. The second half of the report explores eportfolios (the section on benefits is quite thorough).
Also recently released is the EduTools ePortfolio Review, a review of seven ePortfolio products on the behalf of seven partner institutions or systems of institutions. I wasn’t able to locate a print form of the report, but there’s a link to a webcast featuring the research results of the ePortfolio project.
And lastly, a list of ePortfolio readings and papers posted on Helen Barrett’s blog. This includes an article from the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology by David Tosh, Tracy Penny Light, Kele Fleming and Jeff Haywood titled Engagement with Electronic Portfolios: Challenges from the Student Perspective. A line from the abstract sums up a lot of my feeling about the use of ePortfolios in education:
If students do not accept the e-portfolio as a holistic means with which to document their learning in different contexts and more importantly, agree or wish to use the e-portfolio as an integral part of their educational experience, then the potential impact the e-portfolio will have on learning will not be realised.
(Cross-post from Derek’s Blog)