Monday, 9 October 2006

E-Portfolios - Purpose and Accessibility

A key consideration with e-portfolios (EP) it seems is PURPOSE. What is the EP meant to reflect, and who is the intended audience?

The examples I've looked at so far fall into roughly two camps: some who present themselves as a collection of past acheivements (essays, projects, etc.) and some who present themselves more personally (with multimedia, like a facebook profile). While past acheivements are easy to assess and identify learning, the more 'colourful' examples are more accessible, engaging and interesting (my view). Should an e-portfolio then stike a balance between showing learning and being accessible to others? Again this depends on purpose. If the EP is intended as merely a collection of data, then so be it - let it appear lacklustre, even if its content is not. However, this minimalist design doesn't, in my view, encourage students to present their learnings to the world - surely one of the primary aims of education: the ability to engage others through understanding. my view is if an EP can be made accessible and engaging, using multimedia, linked networking facilities, blogs, etc., then through engaging others more effectively, it more usefully displays learning, regardless of intended recipients. As Lise Agarbaek includes in her own EP (one of examples): 'Our culture is no longer primarily based on the written word. It is now equally based on the viewed image.' If the majority of web-based services and software that we use are vibrant and engaging, why should we present our learnings any differently?

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