During the last week of January 2012 the SIG ePortfolio – myself together with 5 experts form 5 Swiss universities – worked on guidelines for ePortfolio.
Based in Basel for 5 days of concentrated writing and discussing, we have drafted papers for students, university teachers, technical staff and decision makers, always with an eye on our future readers. After some editorial work, these readers will be asked for feedback and first results will be published in summer.
Now why is an ePortfolio such a complex issue to explain? Basically in an ePortfolio, you will collect what you have learned and publish it for others. By doing so you will have to review things, rearrange your collection and rethink some of your thoughts, in brief, you will have to reflect. It is a very promising method for learning and assuring what you have learned, because reflection (meta-cognition) is a key success factor for learning.
But – to reflect seems to be one of the verbs without an imperative form, like love, dream, read… listed by Daniel Pennac in «Reads like a Novel». Go on and try it: reflect! – Right, it is impossible to do it like that. – Therefore we have methods like ePortfolio work, involving everyone in a complex and entangling learning process and just like everything, that is more complex than a simple imperative, this needs explanation, introduction and care.
There is another reason for the complexity of ePortfolio work. It is a deliberate crossover of different professional domains: science, education, design and many other professions, web publishing and the internet community. Words like «selecting, publishing…» are triggering quite different thoughts within professionals of these domains.
Many reasons to work on guidelines. We will be looking for community feedback – soon also on this blog.
See also my presentation about ePortfolio work on slideshare.