Saturday, 26 September 2009


Still very much trying to get my head around this. Looking at some of the details suggested on the QAA website and then thinking further about possible content highlights one particular question I need to answer viz. Who is going to read the E-Portfolio? I suspect there are several potential audiences...the subject of the portfolio obviously, the institution responsible probably (but is this a continuing contact?) ; current employers maybe; future employers possibly. Given the potential audiences I wonder what the implications are for transparency compared to confidentiality. It seems that there is a fairly obvious tension here. I am not sure I would want my employer, even less a possible future employer, to see a transcript of all my marks for different assignments...this is the sort of information the QAA website has as part of the samples at the end. If I make reflections how much control do I have over who sees those reflections?
I have just made a Wordle from the definitions of e-portfolio. It bears out what I say about PLE but there is a valid distinction between PLE and Personalised Learning.
Wordle: E portfolio definitions

E-portfolio drivers for change

The University of Minnesota Experience

Acker, S. (2005) ‘Overcoming obstacles to authentic e-portfolio assessment’ (online), Campus Technology. Available from: (accessed 27th September).

Drivers:3 R’s

Reflection, Representation and Revision, so student can demonstrate learning has occurred

Reflects constructivist approach students have multiple starting points

Possible use as course E-portfolio

Article addresses issues of confidentiality- who does or who should ‘own’ an e-portfolio this seems to be a minefield…no wonder it is not really taking off.

From the UK The Centre for Recoding Achievement on this page

you need to open the link for further information.

E-portfolios to enable:

Students found it helpful in developing ‘thinking’ (no evidence to support this)

Schools reported it developed independent thinking and provided structure (a rather interesting combination, again no evidence).

In another study at

E-portfolio used to develop PDP

Student participation had to be ensured by embedding marks for completion: so students essentially forced to complete e-portfolio!!

QAA Guidelines for HE progress files.


· To help make the outcomes or results of learning in higher education more explicit

· To improve the quality of learning so that the basis for academic standards will be clearer

· To support the idea that learning is a lifetime activity

· To strengthen the capacity of individuals to reflect upon their own learning and achievement and to plan for their own personal, educational and career development

The QAA is in the position of having an overview of the way HE institutions are functioning in the UK. However each university is responsible for its own academic standards. I am not sure how ‘powerful’ the QAA is as a player in driving change in the HE sector. I do not hear it talked about much in the corridors where I work (unlike the TDA and Ofsted). This is the place from whence that useful chart in the course resources that appeared attached below.

The concept of the HE progress file.

Drivers for E portfolios in Teacher Training: this is from Vuorikari, R. (2006) ‘National policies and case studies on the use of portfolios in teacher training’ (online). Europortfolio 2005, Cambridge, UK. Available from:

In all four cases there is a strong policy drive to integrate use of portfolios. This seems such a top down process. It may be that this is because it needs national level co-ordination or it may be because without the downward push e-portfolio would not be used. If they were not used the companies that make them would no t be able to sell their it conspiracy theiry to suggest there might be a link.

If we try to place e-portfolio into a framework of Personalised Learning Environments (PLE) this downward push seems even more far fetched, though the initiative does get dressed up in PLE language. I would argue that PLE are about choice and choice that is freely made.


Reform and renewal: increase digital literacy, national imperative linked to digital competency p. 3


Reform and renewal: to promote ‘good overall and pedagogical skills…and refresh teaching methods.’ P.2


Europen lang. learning initiative To provide a transparent Europen record of language competancies.


Reform- by ministerial decree, part of school reform

H808 off we go

Right the first OVERT topic is about E Portfolios...this is something about which I know little, which makes me rather cross. I have often wondered what the point is, it seems like I will be asking students to do quite a lot without much benefit to them, and if the do run an e portfolio what will they not do to create the time. Much the same would go for any time required from the University. It seems like this a project with national drivers, national direction and little discernible movement. The project was meant to be well under way now, in fact on the redrafted plan I think it was to be in place by 2010...well it is difficult to see how this is going to happen. I wonder why so little has been done?? Any ideas greatly appreciated.

The first covert topic is to work as a group, work out who will lead, and come up with some sort of collective wisdom. Well so far three people have contributed to the group, and I think that includes me limping in late after my latest ECA. So I presume something is missing here in terms of creating a community of practice.
1. We do have a shared domain of interest, on the same course doing the same topic etc.
2. The community- well some of us are just not meeting together yet so there is no community as such, or at least only a very small one.
3. The Practice this takes time
In the virtual learning world how do we establish the initial connections that link people in...I wonder if the missing participants even know they are being missed? No one emailed me to see if I was going to join in or not; which might be just as well since the ECA writing makes me a little irascible, but I might have tried to turn up if only to apologise for my distraction.

Oh well enough ramblings off to do some reading. I shall start with the core text nobody had put thier name against. After reading this I shall post.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A few collected comment about why Twitter is found useful be some students on H800 (Open University Masters in Distance and Online Learning Course).

Phil GreaneyPhilGreaney@kevhickeyuk yes, me too - I like to see the group members within the wider context of Twitter, and the various ed-tech experts who use itabout 3 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to kevhickeyuk

kev hickeykevhickeyuk@PhilGreaney e.g. on twitter we can choose our network and are not limited to our assigned tutor groups. (although I enjoyed my group)about 4 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to PhilGreaney

kev hickeykevhickeyuk@PhilGreaney Yep, I think there are lots of reasons why twitter is working better that the forums, for some of us.about 4 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to PhilGreaney

@kevhickeyuk I have to agree about Twitter and my network. I could have done more on the forums, but never got into them away being awayabout 5 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to kevhickeyuk

kev hickeykevhickeyukBTW, I feel that through Twitter I have developed a better support/ friend network than I did on my Face to Face PGCE evening course #H800about 5 hours ago from TweetDeck

carolshergoldcarolshergold@leshere @rosemary20 @paulc_h800 i'm in twitter because other people are here and i'm liking the #h800 eca support.3:47 PM Sep 14th from web

Phil GreaneyPhilGreaney@leshere always feels much broader than my tutor group; useful for sharing links, ideas and support; replaces forums for me3:43 PM Sep 14th from TweetDeck in reply to leshere

Sunday, 6 September 2009

FIrst Reflection H808

I suppose the most striking thing about H808 so far is the use of an apparently cut down Moodle for forums. After First Class I feel very clumsy here, I like the email notifications but find it difficult to get an overview of the eifferent forums. I am aghast at the lack of scope for personalisation. It seems to me that part of the task in the first instance is to establish an online personality. Of course we can do this with text alone, or perhaps text with a photograph or two. However it seems a shame that it is not possible to change the font or the colour of the font, nor even the size of the font. If my memory serves me right I was able to do this on JANET in 1985 so we are not talking new technologies here. In terms of design of the Moodle interface we see I was wondering who was consulted in terms of potential users since this seems fundamental to good design, providing we might hope some sort of starting point for the process.

I suppose what I am looking for here is an interface that fosters the creation of Personalised Learning Environments and gives a clear space where these can be shared. SO I could log on and see the other members of the course and then enter their personalised environment...almost a la Second life. The Wiki for blogs provides some of this but it is almost completely devoid of personality: compare entries to those on Twitter tor Facebook, where the simple addition of a small picture makes an impact...or am I alone in seeing this.

All in all it is not the course that has impressed and depressed but the Moodle environment. 'E learning' can and should be more interesting than this. Ho hum...the course fotunately seems to be covering ground well outside the OU environment which makes it seem interesting and I anticipate having some fun and games.