More PDP and e-portfolios – Reading

Yesterday I went to an interesting event in Reading (at the University) called “Future-proofing PDP and ePortfolios“. My role was only to answer questions in a Q&A session on interoperability, but as there were few technical people around it was called “Can I take away what I’ve put into our PDP system?”

Two really interesting points emerged.

  1. Many institutions feel stuck with Blackboard at present, even for their portfolio functionality. Generally, they are unhappy with this.
  2. There are a few interesting tools that work in Blackboard, and people are keen on using the wiki facility for building portfolio presentations.

The wiki tool in question is from Learning Objects. The general idea is that learners find wiki technology an easy way to write a presentation, and if that is what they want to do with a “portfolio”, it should work fine – as indeed any wiki technology. I don’t know how important the integration with the rest of the e-learning system would be.

But this in turn brings up the question, if wikis are used as a platform for constructing e-portfolio presentations, can we make them interoperable with other e-portfolio systems? It would be great if we could. I intend to ask around, and think around, this issue, and write more. The basic idea would be to get a new version of LEAP2 out – LEAP2R – that would be LEAP2 in RDFa – and then see if a wiki system can be tweaked to export and import XHTML+RDFa in LEAP2R format. We would of course also build transforms to convert between LEAP2A and LEAP2R.

One thought on “More PDP and e-portfolios – Reading

  1. Simon,

    I’d suggest that it is not only Blackboard with which institutions are unhappy. Many institutions in mainstream education suffer the same frustration if not disillusionment. Perhaps it is a lack of negotiation between academics and installers as to what functionality is expected. Perhaps it is a lack of forethought by developers as to what education will really need in the proximate future. Perhaps it is a serious lack of INSET being provided to both teaching staff and technical administrators as to how to configure their VLE and content delivery to the needs of a modern and collaborative society.

    I do, however, have serious reservations about any wiki being the solution to a proper e-Portfolio. It might meet a few needs of a young undergraduate but will hardly meet the wide range of requirements of a Lifelong, Lifewide e-Portfolio, which will travel with them throughout life and present differently to a range of different audiences.

    There are possibly some 40-odd different suppliers of VLEs providing an incalculable number of differing e-Portfolio formats. Despite acknowledging the leap forward (sorry) that LEAP2 has made in the interoperability circus, I just wonder if, rather than trying to match every different permutation of IMS, IA(FE), SCORM, SIF, LEAP compatibility issues, it is time to consider that all systems could operate via an intermediary ‘black-box’. This would give all vendors a level playingfield in which to work.

    My own suggestion to colleagues that need an immediate e-Portfolio solution is to look at an independently hosted system such as e-Folio that can work alongside any VLE, and yet at the same time provide a basic format for the institution which can then be developed as learners require.

    Ray T

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