This post follows on from an initial post about an investigation carried out in 2010 into the way e-portfolio service providers are managing their storage requirements. This initial posting covered the background research and related literature of this investigation. This post discusses the methodology and key findings of this investigation together with the recommendations for future work into effectively managing storage requirements of user e-portfolio content.
The investigation methodology involved undertaking a desktop research together with utilising other and other Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework) reports and web resources (Framework, 2009; Bevan, Hendrick & Leeson, 2009; Macnamara & Nicholas, 2011). Consultations with a range of key stakeholders involved interviews (n=22) and an online survey (n=36). Those interviewed were identified as they had a professional interest in e-portfolios and/or e-portfolio standards. The E-portfolios Reference Group (ERG) as national consultative group were drawn upon to endorse and review the investigation.
Findings, discussion and conclusions:
This investigation found the following points were important in relation to the storage of e-portfolio content, and offers some conclusions which need to happen in this area:
Portability of e-portfolio content is very important, including being able to export individual artefact and whole e-portfolios using compatible formats (PDF, HTML, Leap2A or IMS e-portfolio). It was identified that:
- availability of portability guidelines and examples of best practice were lacking and need developed
- e-portfolio service providers should ensure their system allows e-portfolio content portability in more than one format (eg Leap2A, PDF, HTML)
E-portfolio users should utilise common file formats, such as those endorsed by the Framework’s E-standards for Training’s Standards to ensure the longevity and re-useability of their e-portfolio content. Just as using file formats which save as smaller files sizes (eg .JPG file formats save as smaller files than .RAW for digital images) can help in the storage capacity requirements of an e-portfolio system.
E-portfolio service providers are looking more and more to Web 2.0 services & cloud storage as proxy storage, using sites such as YouTube and Flickr etc for video and digital images. However, respondents expressed their concerns over longevity, privacy, security and ownership of these sites, and so it is recommended that organisational policy, service level agreements, ICT infrastructure policy as well as web accessibility be reviewed when implementing/maintaining an e-portfolio system.
Storage capacity and quotas are best determined by the purpose of the e-portfolio. Pedagogy and course design which is user centred (eg helps the user manage their own information) will ensure effective use of the e-portfolio system. A lack of digital literacy skills and a lack of understanding what is ‘appropriate evidence/artefacts’ can impact on the way information is collected, stored and managed. Therefore, user inductions and just in time help/resources is required, together with training/induction for those supporting e-portfolio users (eg educators/employers/mentors etc).
More information about this topic can be found in the “Supporting the storage requirements of learner e-portfolio content” (Miller & Leeson) paper written for the ePortfolios Australia Conference 2011 (EAC2011) and can be found in the EAC2011 eBook (pgs 87-98) at http://eportfoliosaustralia.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/eac2011_ebook_v1_201110031.pdf. Slides from their EAC2011 presentation can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/eportfoliosaustralia/supporting-the-storage-requirements-of-learner-eportfolio-content.
The authors would like to acknowledge Helen Galatis, formerly of Education Services Australia, in recognition for her major contribution to this work through the analysis and interpretation of the desktop content and consultation data collected for this research and as a major contributor to findings of this work.
Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework), (2009), 2009 E-portfolios Implementation Trials’ final reports and key themes/findings: http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/content/2009EIT
Bevan, A., Hendrick, G. & Leeson, J., (2009), Managing learner information: Key considerations for implementing e-portfolios in VET, Australian Flexible Learning Framework, http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/files/Managing_Learner-Information_FINAL.pdf
Macnamara, D. & Nicholas, N., (2011): Accessing VET Learner Attainment Data: An investigation to enable learner-facilitating electronic access to their VET learner attainment data – 2011 Positioning Paper, Australian Flexible Learning, http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/files/2011_Accessing_VET_Learner_Attainment_Data_Paper_Final.pdf