Monday, November 12, 2007

Categorizing ePortfolio Systems

I just posted an updated version of My Online Portfolio Adventure, including Categories of ePortfolio tools and services. Links to the services can be found on that web page. I have not included the many services that are emerging in Europe, because I don't have enough experience with them to classify them. Input from other ePortfolio developers is welcome.
  • Individual & Institutional
    • Authoring Tools - These are tools that can be used to author portfolios (offline), but require web server space to publish online. Portfolios created with these tools can also be published on CD-R or DVD-R. No Interactivity. [Mozilla Composer; Dreamweaver, FrontPage or any web authoring tool; Apple's iWeb; Powerpoint & Lecshare Pro; Adobe Acrobat; MovieMaker2, iMovie, or any video editing tool]

    • Static Web Services - These are static web services that an individual or institution may use to create and publish a presentation portfolio - little or no interactivity* (Web 1.0) [GeoCities; eFolio Minnesota; Tripod; Digication; KEEP Toolkit; GooglePages]

    • Interactive Web Services - These are dynamic web services that an individual or institution may use to create and publish a presentation portfolio AND allows interactivity* (Web 2.0) [WordPress (blog); WikiSpaces; PB Wiki; GoogleDocs - Document and Presentation; ZOHO Writer; EduSpaces (Elgg)]
    • Institutional
      • Software - Server Required - These are systems that an institution would install on their own server to provide space for hosting portfolios. Interactivity* but NO data management system** [Userland's Manila; Blackboard (old: Content System and new: Vista/CE); Open Source tools: Elgg, Mahara, Moofolio, OSPI, MyStuff (U.K.); open source Content Management Systems: Plone, Drupal; Microsoft SharePoint]

      • Hosted Services - These are systems that an institution adopts (no server required) that host portfolios. Usually supports interactivity* but limited (or unknown) data management** or reporting systems. [MyEport (Maricopa); (K12 school accounts only); nuVentive's iWebfolio; ePortaro; Pupil Pages (K12); Epsilen; My eCoach]

      • Assessment Systems - Hosted Services - These are hosted systems that an institution would adopt (no server required) that will allow hosting portfolios, facilitates interactivity, and includes a data management** and reporting system for assessment [TaskStream; College LiveText; Chalk & Wire; FolioTek; nuVentive's TracDat]
    * Interactivity allows dialogue and feedback in the portfolio, either through comments or collaborative editing
    ** Data management system allows collection of evaluation data about portfolios,
    and can produce reports aggregating quantitative data

    As I look at this list, the level of individual personalization and creativity is roughly in the same order; the most creativity for the portfolio developer is in the first category, and the least is in the last, although there are exceptions (many of the Web 2.0 services allow a lot of creativity).


    bronwyn said...

    hello helen
    have you heard about the open source eportfolio product created in NZ by one of the elearning collorative development fund projects? you have probably taken a peek already.

    You can download the software and find out about the project at:

    Helen Barrett said...

    I included Mahara on this list, under Software - Server Required.

    Bill Fitzgerald said...

    Hello, Helen,

    Drupal can also aggregate data about portfolio use. Using code that already exists virtually any piece of content within a Drupal site can be aggregated, remixed, and exported as a csv, doc, or via rss -- and all of these mechanisms can be secured behind role-based access control.



    Helen Barrett said...

    Thanks! Like any content management system used for ePortfolios, there needs to some programming to achieve these outcomes. Some of the other server-based tools, such as OSPI, and MyStuff, may also allow some forms of data aggregation, as well as My eCoach. I put these tools under the "Software--Server Required" section to differentiate them from the hosted systems because of the requirement for an institution to set up a server.

    Nils Peterson said...

    A tool missing from your list is Microsoft SharePoint. The MySite portion of the product allows end users to manage a collaborative and publishing site. This was appealing to us for learning reasons, and was facilitated by institutional adoption of SharePoint for business reasons, see

    Also worth mentioning is this white paper at Microsoft (pdf)

    Helen Barrett said...

    I assume this tool goes under the "Software - Server Required" category. I don't have access to a SharePoint server, so I really can't judge how well it matches the characteristics that I am looking for when re-creating my portfolio, which has been part of my online tools research. I don't just post documents online. I've already done that: my artifacts are actually hyperlinks. The important factor for me is the ability to reflect on my work, and to organize and personalize the "look and feel" of my portfolio (not fill in the blanks on a web-based form). I would be interested in trying out this tool, if someone will give me an account on a SharePoint server. Will it work with my Mac? Can interaction between learners and teachers be facilitated (i.e., feedback on work used for formative assessment).

    Nils Peterson said...

    Yes, either Server Required (as in WSU's case) or try for a hosted version. It does work with a Macintosh, but the current release still favors IE/Windows.

    SharePoint started as a document store, but 2007 is much more robust. We agree with your criteria above, and SharePoint can facilitate this: "...the important factor for me is the ability to reflect on my work, and to organize and personalize the "look and feel" of my portfolio... Can interaction between learners and teachers be facilitated (i.e., feedback on work used for formative assessment)."

    Let me report back with links to some examples.

    PS. What about Google Notebook for your list of tools?

    Matt Kushin said...


    I attend WSU and am a grad student. I use Sharepoint to host my ePortfolio and I think it covers all the needed functions. It is dynamic and very useful.
    Here is a link to my ePortfolio if you'd like to see an example:

    Also, I've created some instructional material for creating ePortfolios in MS Sharepoint. Feel free to check them out and share with anyone who could use them!

    Hope to lear from you,
    Matt Kushin

    Nils Peterson said...

    Helen, sorry for the delay with more SharePoint examples.

    Here is a site that has some short videos on creating ePortfolios for learning using SharePoint.