ePortfolio Technologies: Options and Resources
One of the qualities that distinguishes an ePortfolio from a traditional paper-based or two dimensional portfolio is the 'e', or electronic, component that characterizes a collection of work as digital content. Other than this distinction, the quantity and variety of options and resources is vast and diverse.
From open source and freeware tools to comprehensive commercial products, ePortfolio California is keeping its ear to the ground in the ongoing exploration of emerging tools and technologies.
Find on this page:
NEW! 2012 ePortfolio Technologies Comparison Matrix
The following comparison chart was conceived during the 2012 Exploring ePortfolio Technologies Webinar project. It compares technical information, system requirements, pricing, licensing, business operations, and pedagogy of the original fourteen eportfolio developers who presented in the 2012 series. However, as part of the collaborative effort between AAEEBL, ePortfolio California, and EPAC, our goal to maintain this resource, keep it current, and include additional technology tools in the future.
Download the Exploring ePortfolio Technologies Comparison Matrix here.
The Electronic Portfolio and Communication (EPAC) has recently done an ePortfolios Systems Review survey (https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGU4a1l1dDcyb2N6UkVkR2NrTzhyamc6MQ) and here is the information which they have gathered:
I. Alphabetical List of Systems
II. ePortfolio Tools & Deployment
III. Key Reasons Schools & Universities Adopt Systems/Platforms
IV. Who Has Adopted Which System/Platform
V. Key Criteria Cited By Schools In Considering Systems/Platforms
VI. Most Important System Elements Cited By Schools
VII. Resources: *Evaluation of E-Portfolio Software *Choosing ePortfolio Software
How does this information compare to your needs?
Ways You Can Help:
We are continuing to update the ePAC wiki to include a refreshed look at ePortfolio systems. Would you please consider helping us out by filling out this short survey? We will only share your information if you are willing to share it.
Want to add a system to the list? contact J. Elizabeth Clark at lclark [at] lagcc [dot] cuny [dot] edu.
There are many different types of software and productivity tools used for the development of electronic portfolios. Typically, the appropriate tool, or set of tools, is chosen to meet a specific need or purpose. While technologies come and go, change and grow, ePortfolio California will categorize commonly used tools for ePortfolio development, as follows: generic, commercial, open-source, homegrown, social blogs and wikis, and hybrid tools.
*Special thanks for Mr. Darren Cambridge for providing this categorization through his presentation entitled, ePortfolio Technologies: Options and Futures (July, 2007).
Generic tools include word processing, HTML editors, multimedia authoring tools, portable document format (PDF), and other commonly used productivity tool software (Barrett, 2002). Below are examples of different generic tools (Cambridge, 2007).
Web design: Adobe Dreamweaver, Nvu
Graphics tools: Adobe Photoshop, GIMP
Concept mapping software: Cmap Tools, Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)
Audio and video: iMovie, Audacity
Print design tools: Adobe Acrobat.
The advantages to using generic development tools include the fact that many students, and faculty, already know how to use many of these tools, or learn them within the existing curriculum, which gives the author greater flexibility and control. Also, generic tools require less infrastructure and central IT support (Cambridge, 2007). According to a study by Helen Barrett and David Gibson (2002), generic tools also
References and Resources:
Exploring the Use of a Generic E-portfolio/PDP Tool in a Basic Skills Module for Economics and Business Students Dr. Paul L. Latreille, School of Business and Economics, Swansea University, Published September 2007.
Commercial products can be advantageous to users for many reasons including ease of use, lots of options and features, and the benefit of having the product hosted by the vendor, which typically includes low cost technical support and upgrade. In addition, many commerical tools can be integrated with other systems.
Open-source ePortfolio software provides an opportunity for custom production, development and modification of an existing end-product source code to meet the needs of the end-user(s).
Elgg: Elgg is an award-winning social networking engine, delivering the building blocks that enable businesses, schools, universities and associations to create their own fully-featured social networks and applications.
Homegrown tools are typically those that are created and hosted in-house and supported by a team with an established infrastructure. Often times, homegrown applications are built to meet the unique and diverse needs of an institution or organization, and are created through input from within their local community. Disadvantages of this method include scalability, dedicated technical support, inoperability with other systems, and lack of input from the broader community.
The following examples are provided by Darren Cambridge (2007):
Social blogging is a popular concept of communicating for people who like to express their activities and share their common interests. Social blogging has emerged through the advances in social networking and web-blogging including the ability to include pictures, audio, video, and hyperlinks.
Wikis are websites that provide varying levels of access to end-users, including the ability to create and edit any number of interlinking web pages through a web browser using a standard or WYSIWYG text editor.
Examples of commercial, open source, or homegrown blogging & wiki software:
GoogleApps: Google offers a full-suite of social networking and productivity applications for individuals, businesses, and education.
A hybrid ePortfolio is created when two or more different tools or applications are blended, or used in concert, to create a custom platform for unique needs or purposes. For example, an institution may choose to add a social blogging tool such as WordPress to their existing course management system to promote and capture student reflection on their learning.
The following are ePortfolio technology-related research articles, product reviews, guides, and professional evaluations.
Directions in Electronic Portfolio Development (November, 2002).
Published in the CITE Journal. David Gibson, National Institute for Community Innovations, USA
Vermont Institutes, USA; Helen Barrett, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA, International Society for Technology in Education, USA.
A Survey of the Electronic Portfolio Market Sector: Analysis and Surprising Trends by Trent Batson for Campus Technology (October, 2011).