23 October 2008

Investigating ePortfolio Software

Most institutions struggle with the challenge of software adoption as products (and pricing structures) change annually and learning communities across campus differ in their preferences for software. If there is not a strong history of making campus-wide adoptions, programs seeking ePortfolio software may have to rely on short demonstrations or (better) trials to compare software features of competing products.

From a data collection perspective, the most efficient ePortfolio would be fully integrated with a learning management system (LMS) and institutional data content management system. Functions of ePortfolios can include learning documentation, planning, evaluation, job-seeking; and uses include student presentations, program review, and institutional effectiveness. This broad scope means that at the same time that institutions adopt ePortfolio software and set standards for students’ use, administrators and faculty may also be establishing processes to extend to programmatic documentation, including faculty credential and performance reports.

Through web demonstrations and conference calls with vendors, the following questions permit comparisons among products:

  • Cost to student, to university
  • Cost, time of sysadmin on campus
  • Server location (hosted or on campus)
  • Accessibility (e.g., Section 508)
  • Customization (templates), Branding
  • Training, support for educators and students
  • Standards sets (for national and state accreditations)
  • Help Desk (cost, hours, provision by company/university)
  • Length of access - by student to materials, to webspace
  • Archiving (to support studies of institutional effectiveness)
  • Practical limits of long-term storage
  • Security of student products
  • Copyright of student material
  • Copyright of educator material
  • Copyright of institution material
  • Consultancy service for educators
  • Rubric maker and other utilities
  • Portability

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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