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London Aquatics Centre for three days

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Three days, with a 7.15 am poolside start each day with some 20+ swimmers from our club Mid-Sussex Marlins. 'Working' poolside rather than just visiting as a tourist or even a spectator meant I experienced something of the buzz around competitive swimming.

8 Sessions, 7 to 20 swimmers in each. Every stroke and every distance, from 1500m Freestyle to 50m sprints. Quite a tasks to coral the swimmers onto a patch of the poolside which all the London clubs mark out with beach chairs. I had just the one. It was easy to get squeezed.

The 2 hours between warm up and a swim had many swimmers setting off for trips around the Olympic Park with their parents and then doing a poolside warm up before their race - not ideal.

Work on their underwater phase is paying off, with great distances. Often they are the last to surface and do so ahead of the pack.

All of this tied in with an Institute of Swimming 'Certification' which I have been completing on the ePortfolio 'Pebblepad' that I was first introduced to here in 2010 as part of the MAODE - it has changed considerably. It is a sophisticated, detailed Workbook with multiple test sheets and 'evidence' to be submitted - often via the App 'Pebblepocket' so that a video or audio clip, or photos can be uploaded easily. The downside is the volume of material that is easily generated and the need for both a mentor/supervisor rather than simply an assessor looking over my work.

 

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How a student blog can prove its value

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Tasked with researching the use of eportfolios in education I can google it, or i can come here. Because I have been there already I come here first.

 

From JISC I have this:

 

Why use ePortfolios (JISC)


Engagement across time

The use of e-portfolios to store information relevant to learning helps students track their personal development across time.

A rich picture of learning

The use of e-portfolios can help students to build a rich and detailed picture of their learning. Written coursework can be stored in e-portfolios, but make full use of their digital potential. Videos, photographs and audio recordings can also help students to document a more complete image of their vocational educational experience.

Ask specific questions

Students can be prompted to reflect on their learning by being asked questions. Build this into the e-portfolio. You can ask students to detail: practical activities undertaken; the quality and accuracy of their work; their methods and formative tasks; their reflections on the learning process.    

Making feedback accessible

Storing feedback in one place allows students to reflect when they are ready to do so. For one thing, digital feedback is more difficult to lose than paper feed.

Track students’ development

E-portfolios allow teachers to track their students’ learning across time. Teachers are able to see how students are improving and identify students that require more help.   

Enhance department assessment

Teachers can provide evidence that their feedback was rigorous and helpful.  

Demonstrating achievement

Storing evidence of work in one place enables students to demonstrate their achievements to others. In particular, students finish the course with a single document detailing their educational journey and accomplishments to show to potential employers.      

Use familiar programmes

E-portfolios need to be accessible to students and teachers. Using software that students and teachers already feel comfortable with will help create a smooth transition and increase engagement.

Inclusive teaching

Dyslexic students are able to record their work in dyslexic-friendly formats.

Finding the right ePortfolio

Some Options
Below is a list of tools that can be used to collect, organize and share student work. Those that are free are marked with an asterisk (*).

Project Foundry
This tool organizes, tracks and shares learning in a project-based learning classroom. It includes standards-based grading tools and feedback tools. Teachers have the option to include a digital portfolio website for students.

Google Sites*
Create a website to share classwork and projects. Potential users must be at least 13 to sign up. Students can use the “file locker” option to upload files.

Wikispaces and PBwiki* [No longer exists]

These two wiki-creation tools allow students to create a website of their work. Due to the collaborative nature of the tools, student teams can build a workspace to showcase their work. The teacher can create student accounts without an email address. (Note: PBwiki is also known as PBworks.)

Dropbox
Students can create a public folder in Dropbox to share their work. This platform supports multiple file types and can be used collaboratively by sharing folders.

Evernote
Students can create “notebook” within their Evernote account for each class, and that notebook can be shared publicly. Students can upload files to their notebooks, including documents, photos and audio files.

eBackpack
Teachers can assign, collect, grade and return assignments to students through eBackpack. Students can upload files to their digital locker to create an online portfolio for their course. Work uploaded cannot be seen outside of the closed system.

 

OneFile

 

From 'Digital Arts': 15 best portfolio websites for designers and artists

 

Behance

Adobe Portfolio

Wix

Fabrik

FolioLink

Weebly

Viewbook

SmugMug

SquareSpace

Portfoliobox

Cargo

Format

Carbonmade

Moonfruit

Dribbble

 All of these and my direct experience is with:

Wordpress

Pebblepad

 

 

 

 

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Blogging here for four years

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 6 Feb 2014, 08:26

A year ago OU Computer Services undid my hard work and the tagging of some 2000 posts here was lost - all attempts to get an explanation, or apology or a fix have failed. This is what I find the OU can do - silence when it suits them. No one will answer because to apologise would be to admit fault. Having invested so much time in what is a record, learning journal and eportfolio it is galling. At least I was well down the line of cutting and pasting it all into an external blog, but this still does not change the fact that I was using the blog to aggregate themes and ideas which they destroyed. A blog that we are encouraged to use and we have access to for three further years beyond graduation. I am a student first, but also a customer who had no forked out £x,000 to be here. If I press hard enough I will get some legalease that will point out that the OU can do as they please.

So much for the power of the digital - I should have hand written it all into notebooks.

Four years ago I decided to complete a learning journey I started in 2001 - redundancy and the loss of a parent tripped me up that time. Over the last four years I have lost a second parent, a mother in law and changed jobs twice, though I am yet to fulfil the promise that I thought eLearning offered. There is no doubt that graduating in 2003 rather than 2013 would have made me stand out whereas now I am just one of many. Then to have the MAODE still requires a subject specialism ...

There is a risk that my being here could continue as MSc and PhD look attractive as does Higher Education rather than L&D. I will blog, on my terms, in WordPress and keep a presence here as long as I am doing an OU module - which currently stretches to my seventh.

Something I never contemplated and will challenge me for another five months is to find myself a masters student of three universities - Open, Birmingham and Brookes. You could say that I have caught this learning bug, or am reverting to type - an insatiable curiosity that no book or TV programme alone can satisfy. There is an urge to do a further MA in Environmental Change when an MA in First World War studies ends in 2015. To what end? The intention has always been to apply my learning rather than to wallow in it, for the experience to be a catalyst for output.

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Too busy to blog?

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Too busy to reflect or to remember? Your brain is like Gouda - a blog can fill in some of the holes. 

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If you could recall everything is this helpful or a hinderance?

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‘If someone could retain in his memory everything he had experienced, if he could at any time call up any fragment of his past, he would be nothing like human beings; neither his loves nor his friendships nor his angers nor his capacity to forgive or avenge would resemble ours’. Milan Kundera.
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This isn't a blog, it is electronic paper.

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OK you can't do origami with it but platforms such as Blogger, LiveJournal, Wordpress, and even one of the originals, Diaryland, let you do so much. They can be a secret diary, just click private, or they can be a forum, self-publishing, an ePortfolio, a gallery for photos (or video), even a shared 'wiki-like' collaboration.
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Here's an idea

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 08:14

Rather than feeling that I am entering the blog domain to write this I ought to be able to cyndicate/allocate or aggregate this as or after I have wrote it by clicking on one of three buttons:

Traffic Light painted on ArtPad

Eportfolio

Wiki

Blog

At my behest I am therefore deciding that this is a moment to be shared (but not tampered with), evidence or information that I wish to store/collate (ideally by themes of my choosing), and/or a chunk of information (or offering) as wiki content (initiated or an edit insert).

Simplified and disengenious, but a starting point.

And on reflection, perhaps, how good learning works: it starts with simple ideas that can be grasped and works outwards. E-learning doesn't simply work outwards though, it spreads in directions of the learner's choosing (ideally), like fractals, like a mind-map, as a result of, enabled and speeded up through myelination.

Were I writing a video script on eportfolios, wiki and blogs this might be how I begin, either animating this or going out and filming various traffic lights. I may paint this with water-paints onto laminate card and drop it into an aquarium and film it. My enduring analogy being that whatever we do online are but zeros and ones in a digital ocean, all programming does is remove the chaos and worthlessness of trillions of unconnected binary numbers.

Perhaps I've just convinced myself too of the value of Open Source.

And this is only the first idea of the morning. Something must have been breing in my sleep.

Though yet to do justice here to the Opinion piece in the New Scientist something struck me about  the Cover Story on epigentic changes and their relevance to evolution.

DEFINITION

Q. What is Myelin?

A. Myelin is a phospholipid layer that surrounds only the axons of many neurons. The main role of a myelin layer (or sheath) is an increase in the speed at which impulses pass along the myelinated fiber. Demyelination is the act of demyelinating, or the loss of the myelin sheath insulating the nerves, and is the cause of some neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, transverse myelitis, Alexander's disease, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and central pontine myelinosis. Here is a link to a website that tells more about it:
http://www.myelin.org/

 

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H800 tips on blogging - keeping a diary online

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 18:50

Tips on keeping a journal

From a blog first posted by this author 06/10/2003 www.jonathan.diaryland.com (Locked. Accessed 4JAN11)

‘When people ask me how to keep a Diary, I refer them to Ira Progoff's Intensive Journal [method]....One cannot help being amazed by what emerges from this skilled inner journey. All the elements we attribute to the poet, the artist, become available to everyone, to all levels of society.’ Anais Nin 1974 (In the introduction to Ira Progoff's book)

Like many young men I came to Anais Nin and Henry Miller through the Philip Kaufman film 'Henry and June.' I was living in Paris and soon found myself buying up hardback copies of Anais Nin's Journals and copies of Henry Miller's opus: Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus, as well as Tropic of Cancer ... All worthy insights on how to blog. Their letters are a good read too.

The key to this kind of writing is to let go, it isn't an exercise book, that's what an e-portfolio does, acts as a more discrete, shareable repository of assessable / gradeable work. Of course, what's the difference between a blog, an e-portfolio and a wiki come to think of it? Very little, indeed if you call them an e-journal, e-portfolio and e-agenda you may recognise that binds them. The are simply compartments within the digital ocean, compartments that allow for some osmis and transfer of e-fluids, which can be e-text, e-video, e-audio, or e-drawings. Can you see why I feel the 'e-' is redundant?

From wikipeadia I learn that:

Ira Progoff (August 2, 1921 – January 1, 1998)

Ira Progoff was an American psychotherapist, best known for his development of the Intensive Journal Method while at Drew University. His main interest was in depth psychology and particularly the humanistic adaptation of Jungian ideas to the lives of ordinary people.

Some ideas on how to start your diary

(For diary read blog. As it is the New Year now is as good a time as any to make a start)

In ‘The New Diary’ by Tristine Rainer.

  • Begin with a self-portrait
  • Begin with a period
  • Begin with today

Each time I come back to this diary after an absence of weeks, months or years I approach it in one of these ways: I assess who I am, go over the previous period when I’ve been away from the diary, and count these musings as my first entry. (Tristine Rainer)

There’s now a National Diary Archive in the US

Someone thinks they have worth.

Will the handwritten diary, like the handwritten letter outlive the digital era? If someone digs up a sealed chest in five hundred years time and faced with some books, some letters and a memory stick which do you think they wil read first?

From Ira Progoff’s 'A Journal Workshop' seven useful techniques for diary writing are offered:

1. List or Period Log

2. Portrait or Life History Log

3. Map of consciousness (Recapitulations and rememberings)

4. Stepping Stones/Scenes from our lives

5. Twilight Imagery Log

6. Altered point of view

7. Unsent letter

8. Dialogue Dimension

Over these days my desire is to reach some conclusions regarding the modern blog, its use in education and how to describe the benefits to the uninitiated and unimpressed.

How about this; whilst it is possible to paste anything in here, keep it live and real.

You may have notes, so paste them in and add. This is not an eportfolio, nor a repository - it is an open letter, more so in the OU Platform as this is being pinned to a digital noticeboard.

That's it. A letter.

If spoken then in the style of Alistair Cooke's 'Letter from America.

And remember, this isn't a letter that expects a reply (for reply read comment) as it is written to its author. The value, take note OU, is barely in the present, but six months, six years even sixteen years down the line.

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Overwhelmed by new stuff

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I'm happy with MyStuff, but need to learn new stuff.

Looking for an e-portfolio that will do me for a decade rather than just 10 months; I've been giving PebblePad a go, but don't like it.

I like the look of Acrobat.

Meanwhile other platforms get my attention, such as Brainshark.

I should be better at PowerPoint.

But heck, what's the point of being mediocre at loads of things? Time was when I'd write presentations and work with a PowerPoint whizz, or write video and hire a team: director, camera, sound, editor, graphics ... more sometimes: actors, presenters, art director, set design. The list goes on.

Why are we expected to do it all ourselves?

Are educators loners?

Or is it all down to having a budget of zero?

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An embedded e-portfolio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 12:00

A decade ago creating a commercial website generally required you to buy in the services of a specialist agency; this was certainly the case 15 years ago. Gradually however businesses found they could do it themselves, indeed the development of internal and external communications was so integral to a company's activities that it had to be in some cases. An internationally successful TV production company used outside suppliers initially to build its website. However, as the creative drive for this site needed to be part of the business and as the site become a TV channel of sorts, it was necessary to bring control in-house.

1999-2002 was an interesting period as some organisations let their IT department go, not considering it one of their 'core activities,' while others brought the process in-house, sometimes buying up their web-agency for the purpose.

Creating a website, developing software, communications and business function merged. Specialist functions developed internally may have found a market elsewhere and products could be bought in 'off the shelf.'

If the functionality of the software and web-pages are integral to an institution's competitiveness and development it is understandable if some things they develop in-house, while others they buy in.

ITC is highly fluid, progressive, aggressive and organic. You want control of the beast. Do you have the personnel and department as part of your institution, or do you hire in the specialists? Or do you split your loyalties and commitments across several suppliers, buying products off the shelf? How do you achieve your goals? How do you control costs? How do you differentiate yourself from others if you're all shopping from the same place? And in education, where there is a political, ethical and moral inclination to want to do it all for free - how is it paid for?

In relation to recommending an e-portfolio set-up or package or system to an institution there are a myriad of deciding factors which could result in the valid choice being any one of:

  • develop our own using our thinking and skills
  • buy in the services of an agency to create a platform for us
  • purchase a ready-made product off the shelf
  • use Open Source and tailor it to our purposes
  • none of these - students, staff and any other potential e-portoflios bring their own, on their laptops or in their own space in the 'cloud.'

The latter happens whatever you provide.

As a result of using the OU's MyStuff and trying PebblePad, as well as reviewing the reviews of several other packages, whilst it is possible to recommend what a particular client's e-portfolio should be able to do - it is less easy without understanding the institution's financial position, commercial requirements, staff and student development, professional and academic needs and ambitions.

To what degree are people storing and collating material in a loose collection of files and platforms, some online, some off, some linked in to several folios, each with a different outlook.

Once we lived in a more linear world and we would logically take in then draw from the academic institutions where we studied and the places where we worked. To a significant degree, even if we possessed portfolios as physical entities containing art work or assignments, our achievements and potential were locked in our being ... our experiences, accreditations, behaviours and potential were entirely contained in our heads and enabled by our bodies. Increasingly it is the case that the sum total of our achievements, our record, our actions, can be collated, shared and given an existence beyond us. If we think of the ultimate eportfolio as 'the contents of our brains' in a cloud, like a geostationary satellite, forever 'out there' do we not begin to mutate and duplicate, especially if some, or many parts or all of this is shared?

Will we not, in a cyber-world of hundreds of millions, not only find like minds, but aggregate to think alike in some instances? Where then is the copyright and plagiarism? And here's a dilemma for the inventive or creative mind. Do you pool you thinking for others to exploit, share the process by which you draw your conclusions which may fast track another to a similar, different or better result?

I appreciate that I am drifting into la-la-land and the realms of science-fiction, that I am feeling my way, that I am letting my own stream of consciousness take me wherever it will. If this finds resonance with others, if others comment and build on this ... or reflect it, then it is as if those collection of neurones and synapses that are creating this are connecting beyond my being.

If there is commercial worth in 'the contents of my brain,' an e-portfolio that might contain everything I have ever done, who benefits if they use this to create something original?

In conclusion

1) The e-literate will already, whether they know it or not, have the makings of an eportfolio through content they have generated about themselves, their ambitions and friends, the work they would like to do and the work they have done. A link to discrete parts of this can quickly generate a number of e-portfolios, just as it could generate a number of bespoke CVs. The less e-literate by dint of their presence at the doors of an institution, enrolement or employment, or if freelance, their contract or engagement, will have wittingly shared components of a potential eportfolio it only paper through letters, CVs and evidence.

2) Institutions, academic or business, may offer portfolios that are wedded to that organisation's culture. If designed, to look and function within this context it will be easier to compile, share, access and assess while there. No longer, if ever it were necessary, to print off, duplicate or photocopy reams of paper to have back-ups, let alone to apply simultaneously to more than one place. However, is not these ease of sharing problematic? Could not a multitude of people claim something to be their’s ? Or is that the point. We become a name on one of those credit lists that runs and runs after a CGI-rich film plays out.

3) There is no definitive answer, no panacea, when it comes to an eportfolio: create your own, buy off the shelf or let staff and students bring along what they have or don’t have. As a consultant e-professional (sounds far grander than it is), it is the requirements of the organisation you are working for that dictates the answer. Is the problem financial? Is it retention? Is it attracting students in the first place? Or holding on to staff? Is it assessement? Is it learning? Is it departmental? Is it a cohort or a group? Is is driven by your trustees? Government? Or a current fashion in pedagogy? Is it political? Does it put the student first, at the centre of things? If they have 20 years to pay off their student loan, do they carry the same e-portfolio with them for the duration, Sage accounting an add-on to whatever other functions their e-portfolio offers?

Do you want the way my mind works, or the conclusion? Is there one? If one thing defines e-technology it is that it is always in a state of flux, indeed like Macbeth clutching at that dagger before his eyes, you can never quite get your hands on it. An IT specialise shared her thinking with me in Linked In. A thought I have come across before. Whilst her role is to ‘speed things up’ for businesses, she can never say what it is that will speed up ... or that what is achieved was predictable. The important thing is to move on, progress, don’t stagnate, don’t over think a thing ... nor over-commit.

My recommendation to an institution questioning its use of eportfolios would be to be in all camps simultaneously, to have an inhouse eportfolio, to engage with external suppliers and permit individuals to have their own. What matters is the required functionality and outcomes. My recommendation to an individual is to have in their control anything they are placing elsewhere.

Is not the choice, when it comes down to it, one of selecting this handbag over that one? This satchel over that one? However it functions, whatever it looks like, only the contents matter. If you drop your one and only portfolio of photographs or drawings on the way to an interview, you can pick up the pieces and make do with cardboard and a roll of duct-tape. If your one and only eportfolio fails you lose the lot. Or do you? These assets, this ‘stuff’ what is it anyway? Text, images, programming (which is text) ... If you are digitally-savvy and have an online presence how easy is it to reassemble such a portfolio? Very, I’d suggest.

So, yes, as I suggest, you have a version for work, a version where you are studying, a version embedded in your website or Facebook page, a version on the hard-drive or you computer, and one on a zip or flash driver.

Ho hum.

I shall go and sleep on it. Always the right approach after this middle-of-the-night brainstorm.

What kind of e-portfolio would you recommend to the following?

  • Use in a prison by inmates serving at least three years.
  • Use for advertising and marketing creatives at a ‘school of communication arts.’
  • Use by trainee gymnastics coach who is a volunteer with a local club working with young children.
  • Use by a trainee solicitor.
  • Use by an actor hoping to get into RADA
  • Use by someone returning to work after a six year career break.
  • Use by Leonardo da Vinci, Douglas Adams or Stephen Hawking
  • Use by a politician

Why not come up with your own. The trickier the better.

  • Use by someone who is losing their eyesight
  • Use by someone who has terminal cancer
  • Use by a child at primary school
  • Use by someone in a retirement home
  • Use by someone with depression
  • Use by someone with ambitions to be a professional footballer, or designer for Apple, or ... TV producer, or ... happy.

Is an e-portfolio the next web page?

You've got to have one, even if you don't know why? At least you don't have to by a domain name.

And what brought this on?

Other than the requirements of H808 ...

The launch of a platform for swimming teachers and coaches across competitive swimming, water polo, diving and synchro.

The new Institute of Swimming (www.theiosonline.com) website not only streamlines the course booking process and offers some courses online, but embedded in the new platform in a way that is even more integrated the the OU's add-on MyStuff, is an eportfolio.

You complete your details and find in so doing that you have begun your profile in something called My IoS.

It will contain a CV, evidence of qualifications, assets that can specifically include video ... and the word 'e-portfolio' is not mentioned anywhere. Yet this is what is. And as for interoperability and transfer ... all of that is just a cut and paste, or link away is it not, as ever? And being a 'portfolio worker' in any case, the last thing I want to do is to merge one of my two (or is is three) other lives with this or any of the others.

It simply is.

 

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E-portfolios from the institution's p.o.v.

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E-portfolios from the institution's p.o.v.

Attract, retain, maintain and develop future stars?

Bubbl.us E-portfolios from the institution's p.o.v.

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H800 SuppActs. Unit 3.3: 2nd -15th Oct 2011

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:11

SuppActs. Unit 3.3: 2nd -15th Oct

Hi all!

This is a really great activity as Open Source has passionate advocates for and against, and a driving market reality which seems unstoppable.

I wonder, in addition to the course questions, what we have between us in the way of experience on this. It would dbe good to bring that in too. What is 'our' expereince for and against of working with Open source in education?

Discuss here, and  build resource and summaries in Wiki?

Helen

H808 Course Guide: Supplementary activity 3.3: Understanding open source

This is a collaborative activity [..]You may be able to present the output from this activity as evidence of exceptional proactivity.

Download Martin Weller’s paper on eportfolio products from the resources below, which was presented to the OU VLE project as part of its discussion on developing an eportfolio system in 2005, and do a ‘Find’ search through it for the keywords ‘open source’.

How well do you think Martin justifies his recommendation to the OU to consider an open source solution for its eportfolio system?

Do you agree with him? Join a discussion in (the H808 SA Forum &wiki ) with (others) who are interested in this topic and find out what the general opinion of open source software development initiatives is.

Resources

EduTools (2007) Product Listinghttp://eportfolio.edutools.info/item_list.jsp?pj=16 (accessed 25 May 2010).

Dr Helen Barrett’s Bookmarks (2007) Commercial E-portfolio Vendorshttp://electronicportfolios.com/portfolios/bookmarks.html#vendors(accessed 25 May 2010).

Himpsl, K., Baumgartner, P.(2009) ‘Evaluation of e-portfolio software’, International Journal: Emerging Technologies in Learning, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 16–22: http://online-journals.org/i-jet/issue/view/51 (accessed 25 May 2010).

Martin Weller eportfolio report

Martin Weller's 2005 report for the OU on eportfolio products and strategic options for a university-wide system.
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