Monday, February 15, 2010

5.3.3: ePortfolios coming of age - and a bit on Mahara...

Article: Waters, J.K. (2009). E-portfolios come of age (full text). T H E Journal 36(10), 24-29.

Waters (2009) talks of how ePortfolio tools are coming of age as applications in their own right - no longer as appendages to learning management systems even though SSO (Single Sign On) with LMSs is now standard. The reason for ePortfolios coming into their own is largely because of the predominance of Web 2.0 flexibility, which ePortfolios must both imitate Web 2.0 flexibility and also integrate Web 2.0 presences.

Actually, there is one mistake in the article (printed twice); Moodle was not the inspiration for Mahara. We started with a clean slate, inspired by the potential for a flexible and open source ePortfolio system - and drawing on our dismal impression of the various proprietary tools we had experienced (some of which are listed in Waters' article). Only one member of our steering committee was deeply involved with Moodle, and I was the only other member on the steering committee with administrative Moodle experience. The Moodle connection comes in with Catalyst, the Moodle partners who developed Mahara to our specification - and its strong links with Moodle are further reinforced by the fact that Moodle is widely adopted in New Zealand, where Mahara was proudly forged! An early SSO integration with Moodle was therefore a priority for the developers.

In addition to mentioning Mahara as an application illustrating this coming of age, Waters lists Epsilen (see overview), Angel Learning, and (intro video)... and Google (in the form of mash-ups). However, in my view, until Google 'mash-up' can provide a feature such as Mahara's views it will not be a viable alternative to a user-controlled ePortfolio (see workflow). The full openness of a Google solution would be its greatest weakness.


Ray Tolley said...

Hi, again,

Can I question the following quote:

"The holy grail is a personal digital portfolio, where you can store your accomplishments and have them verified by your mentors, teachers, or employers, and then take it all with you wherever you go. We're nowhere near that at the moment."

Is this quoted from Lowendhal? If so I would like to tell him "Absolute rubbish!" The version of eFolio that I provide in the UK has purposely overcome problems of transition, is totally e-secure and can repeatedly change layout, re-purpose content, concurently present different 'personas' to different audiences etc.

Kindest Regards,

Ray T

Nichthus said...

Yeah, I agree - the quote does not reflect reality! Mahara is also a candidate for 'the holy grail'... It now offers LEAP2A import/export, and is flexible enough to provide an all of life presence. The article is in what might be considered a popular journal/magazine. Perhaps I should stick to major peer-reviewed journals!