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11 Jan, 2006
ePortfolio Extension Toolkit

Describe the tool you are building

The ePET is a functioning formative / reflective portfolio which has been developed and piloted with medical, dental and biomedical science students at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The ePortfolio can be used in its generic form (as offered by this project) or can be adapted to be highly specific to the requirements of a particular learner group. In its generic form the ePortfolio has tools to support the following activities:

- planning and recording meetings with a tutor / mentor

- creating action plans linked to an “inbox” which notifies the learner of pending or overdue actions

- planning and monitor intended learning outcomes, stating how these will be measured/achieved

- recording course based and extracurricular events in a learning diary

- performing SWOT analyses linked to specific tasks or skills

- creating a CV which can subsequently be edited for presentation

- cross linking entries in any of the other tools and appending reflective narratives

- sharing individual aspects of the portfolio (e.g. the CV) with others

- creating a hierarchical skill or learning outcome map for a course and allowing learners to record evidence against each of these

- configuring the tools above, and where there is no MIS data feed, to creating and populating modules and courses

The ePET project will consolidate and fully document this generic ePortfolio tool 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. 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.

What problem do you see the development of this tool helping to address? (ie the rationale for your project)

Many institutions are still attempting to identify a suitable portfolio or PDP support tool in time to meet the UUK requirements for the 2005 academic year. The ePortfolio has received considerable interest from the HE community but in its current state would still take a large degree of configuration / coding to fit into the existing systems of another institution. The development of the standards compliant RESTian interface to the ePortfolio along with its documentation and additional support for configuration should provide interested institutions with an electronic portfolio which they can pilot or implement at little cost to their organisation.

Who do you see the being the primary user(s) of this tool?

FE, HE, and postgraduate learners and their institutions.

How do you see your tool being used?

As the basis of an institutional ePortfolio solution which can be freestanding or linked to other institutional systems.

To use your tool, what infrastructure etc (if any) will be needed? (ie - could it be used stand-alone? Would it need a VLE/other system to be in place?)

The ePortfolio can be used as a stand-alone product or can be linked to a VLE or student record system. In stand-alone mode there is an administrative interface which can be used to create and populate institutions and courses (although this is clearly not the most efficient way to use the tool). Links to a student record system can be simply scripted so that the databases which operate the ePortfolio can be updated each night from the student record systems own data (this is how we operate the ePortfolio in the Faculty of Medical Sciences here at Newcastle). Links to a VLE will be facilitated by the RESTian interface being developed as part of this project. Details of how this interface will operate will be published in due course.


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