Wednesday, March 07, 2007

GoogleDocs for Online Portfolio Development

This is the 25th tool that I have used to create my online portfolio as part of my "Online Portfolio Adventure" research over the last three years. Since I copied the pages from another version of my portfolio, the tool allowed me to reconstruct my portfolio in less than an hour, copying and pasting the information, although fine tuning the formatting took more time. As with all of my other portfolios, all of my artifacts are documents already stored on one of my websites, so I did not have to upload any documents. I think this program is a viable tool for maintaining portfolios that are comprised mostly of word processing documents that are converted into GoogleDocs. I don't know how it handles other documents as attachments, such as PowerPoint. It is very easy to create links from a GoogleDocs page to any web page or any other GoogleDocs page. I used to teach how to create a hyperlinked portfolio with Microsoft Word. This is the online (Web 2.0) equivalent!

This system has the potential to offer interactivity, since each page can have comments added by those selected to Collaborate. I was able to add links by simply copying from another website with the links embedded and I could designate that each link would open a new browser window which is what I prefer: the portfolio remains open so that when an artifact is opened, the reader can close the window and easily return to the portfolio, rather than using the Back button.There is no data management tool, to aggregate assessment data, although Google Spreadsheet could be used. Therefore, this tool would work for formative assessment (providing teacher and/or peer feedback on student work) but not for summative assessment. But the process for adding comments and feedback would need to be agreed upon with the approved collaborators within the system.

The major advantage of GoogleDocs is that it is a Web 2.0 tool, and universally available through a WWW browser. I found it fairly easy to use, although it helped that I knew how to edit HTML to fine tune the formatting. I tried to use the Google Spreadsheet to create the Portfolio-at-a-Glance matrix, since it was originally created in Excel. However, I could not easily create hyperlinks in the cells, and the links did not translate when I converted the Excel spreadsheet into Google. So, I converted the spreadsheet to HTML and pasted it into Edit HTML on a new page. A table is easy to edit in a GoogleDocs page. I also found it extremely easy to insert images on a page. I published another "How-To" page on using GoogleDocs to create an online portfolio.


Greg Collver said...

The Oregon Virtual School District is providing GoogleDocs to Oregon students for their e-Portfolios.

I would like to see Google to add their "Page Creator" tool for publishing the final portfolio.

Greg said...

Sadly, the Google Apps for Education tools we're using for the OVSD ( are a limited subset of the Google suite. The critical "collaborate" feature of Google Docs is not available there yet, nor is access to the Page Creator for non-admin users. That said, Google has been very aggressive in releasing new features on a short timeline, so there is hope we'll see these features soon.

Helen Barrett said...

There are two components of ePortfolio development: the digital archive of a learner's work (artifacts), and one or more presentation portfolios that tell a particular story that the portfolio developer wants to tell about a sub-set of those artifacts. What I created with Google Docs was a presentation portfolio, hyperlinked to documents that I already had online. I'm not sure how Google Apps will handle the digital archive of work that is NOT in the format of a document (including images) or a spreadsheet. What about PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, and a lot of other types of documents? Where do those get stored? I haven't figured that out, because each artifact needs a unique URL to link from the portfolio. See my earlier entries (September 24, 2005 and June 7, 2005) about Lifetime Personal Web Space.