Goodbye to eportfolios for a fee?

ePortfolio graphic by Richard Cawood
ePortfolio graphic by Richard Cawood

I’ve argued for a while that, whilst I agree with the idea of eportfolios as a way of demonstrating student learning, I have a few concerns about the way that some universities have implemented eportfolios. I have always believed that an eportfolio should ‘belong’ to the student user and should be independant of the university. Ideally it will be a space in the cloud that the student can use across many institutions as they continue their life long learning activities both academic and professional.

I’ve also argued that, whilst we do not have a free online service that calls itself an eportfolio for students there are, in fact, a multitude of free services that provide the functionality of an eportfolio. For example WordPress and Blogger will allow the student to create and publish blog posts. Slideshare and Prezi allow the student to create presentations whilst YouTube and Flickr allow me to upload and share videos and images. And, of course, not forgetting Google Docs and other online Office solutions allow the student to create and share common office documents (presentations, spreadsheets and text documents).

In short, it is now possible to publish artefacts of all kinds that might form part of an eportfolio for free on any number of locations that the student may prefer.

Now comes the news that Google Docs will allow for the uploading of all kinds of file types (not just common Microsoft Office formats) with a maximum file size of 250MB. This, coupled with Google Docs file sharing features means that it may well become the default location for storing eportfolio artefacts. You have to wonder where this leaves other players in the eportfolio market. At the very least some will need to reassess their pricing you would have to think.

2 thoughts on “Goodbye to eportfolios for a fee?”

  1. Hi, Mark,

    I do not understand the need for ‘cloud computing’ or certainly the concept of an e-Portfolio for free. Yes, I agree that if intelligent young adults want to spend time building their own e-Portfolios then I would not dream of stopping them. But then my time is money and I would not dream of spending even one hour on building something that can be provided and managed for less than £7 per year.

    And then, of course, if an e-Portfolio is supposed to be lifelong and lifewide, do you really expect every 5yr-old, the less able, the elderly, those with disabilities or even the busy professional to build an e-safe system that includes full interoperability, links to the MIS of the college etc?

    I fear that the HE solutions that you suggest create a silo that interupts the very system that you want to establish.

    BW

    Ray T

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