Before today I knew e-portfolios were really trendy and important but had no idea why, or even what they were! Mark
fixed that... It's dead simple, "an e-portfolio is a webpage for life!"
He was speaking at the University of Auckland "Teaching Showcase" session on e-portfolios. He began by revealling the results of googling himself and the other panelists. Consistently and woefully the prominent results were out of date or inaccurate.
I challenge you. Do it now. Google your name (as it is usually heard professionally, with quotes) and if necessary your country, so I'd look up "Tim Bulkeley" (or: "Tim Bulkeley" nz). What do you find?
That's right, out of date static material! Now imagine, instead of those static pages, a dynamically interlinked collection of your information sorted and revealed differently to different sorts of audience.
[Actually at this point I can preen quietly but smugly, googling me - with or without the nz - brings up my Amos commentary site and a pretty up-to-date academic CV :)
Family and friends see one selection, students another, your employer another... From all your material many different views... Update once, use in several places...
A collection of different portfolios, for different people, or purposes, but using or reusing data. I'd upload a scan of my Distinguished Teaching Award, link to selected blog posts (not this one, it's probably terribly inaccurate ;-) a couple of my u-tube videos, extracts from student testimonials... Some of that would be for prospective students, some for users of my websites, some for family ...
And, there's a cool open source tool to allow us to play with the concept, Mahara
. (BTW it's not pronounced like the desert, try to give each vowel the same stress - the word means "thought".) It is only version 0.8.5, but usable and stable enough so it has already been used by classes, or version 0.9.0alpha2 for the adventurous. They hope to have version 1.0 out "by Christmas".
The educational possibilities... are endless, but as so often likely to be hamstrung but institutional inertia. But just imagine if the teacher's task was to facilitate the student...