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ePortfolio Extensions Toolkit (ePET)

ePET is being funded by JISC as part of the JISC Distributed e-Learning programme.

Background

As part of the School of Medical Education Development, the Faculty of Medical Sciences Computing unit has been involved in the specification, provision and delivery of Personal Development Planning environments and ePortfolios since 1998. Currently the unit is leading an FDTL4 consortium project developing ePortfolios linked to VLEs, and it is this ePortfolio tool which forms the springboard for this project.

Early evidence from this and other research into the use of portfolios suggests that the success of a portfolio is to a large extent due to whether students and staff feel that it is appropriate to the purpose for which it is being used. This means that a one-size-fits-all approach to the provision of portfolios across a range of subject disciplines may not deliver the outcomes an institution desires. To address this concern the FMSC have developed a ‘generic’ ePortfolio designed to provide a core of functionality, to which instance or subject specific tools can be added.

A demonstrator for the existing ‘generic’ ePortfolio on which this project is based can be found at http://www.eportfolios.ac.uk/demo

The ‘generic’ ePortfolio includes tools to allow students and staff to:

  • plan for and then record meetings with a tutor / mentor
  • create action plans linked to an “inbox” which notifies the learner of pending or overdue actions
  • plan and monitor intended learning outcomes, stating how these will be measured/achieved
  • record significant course based and extracurricular events in a learning diary
  • perform SWOT analyses linked to specific tasks or skills add to the content of the portfolio
  • to create a complete CV which can subsequently be edited for presentation
  • cross link entries in any of the other tools and append a reflective narrative
  • share the individual aspects of their portfolio (e.g. their CV) with others
  • create a hierarchical skill or learning outcome map for a course and allow learners to record evidence against each of these
  • configure the tools above, and where there is no MIS data feed, to create and populate modules and course

This generic ePortfolio along with its underlying data structures has formed the foundation of several sophisticated and instance-specific ePortfolios which have been used to serve the requirements of diverse subject communities http://www.eportfolios.ac.uk/. Despite its wide use however, at this time the set of tools described above is not yet standards-compliant nor is it interoperable outside of the environment in which the tools were developed.

Aims and Objectives

This project aims to consolidate and fully document the generic ePortfolio tool (see demonstrator above) and to offer it to the JISC community as a freely available, standards-compliant, open source ePortfolio.

To enable this, a REpresentational State Transfer (REST) based interface will be developed around the data structures of the ePortfolio to provide Web Service (WS) fronted access to data and functionality and all tools comprising the Generic ePortfolio will be redeveloped to use this interface. Other groups or institutions wishing to make use of the Generic ePortfolio would be free to use existing tools or to add instance specific applications to suit their own requirements and would be encouraged under the terms of the open source licence to publish these back to the community as reusable functionality.

Funding Programme: JISC Distributed e-Learning Strand

Start Date: 7 Sep 2004

Project Documentation and Downloads

Funding Partner
JISC Distributed eLearning Strand
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