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Fifth Meeting: e-portfolios - pedagogical and social issues

The fifth meeting of the CETIS Pedagogy Forum was held at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday 30 June 2004. This was run in conjunction with the CETIS LIP SIG (Learner Information Profiles Special Interest Group)which is managed by the Centre for Recording Achievement CRA) You can download a CRA postcard here (pdf document)

The website for The Lifelong Learning Support Project (LLSP) which is part of the JISC-funded MLEs for Lifelong Learning Programme and is managed by the Centre for Recording Achievement and supported by CETIS. Their continuing work brings together several resources which are located in different places.

Agenda (word doc) for the meeting. See the List of attendees

Information about the event speakers (word doc)

Links to the PowerPoint slides are below - please click on the presentation title to open up the file.

Introduction to portfolios - Rob Ward

What's the use of e-portfolios? - Peter Rees Jones

Legal Issues - Andrew Charlesworth - giving an overview of a recent report for JISC 'Legal Issues that could Block the development of a National Lifelong Learner Record System - The 'Project Killer' Report'.You can download a (pdf) of the report

Update on Issues - Simon Grant

The afternoon included a debate:

Proposers: Rob Ward & Peter Rees Jones
Opposers: Mark Stiles & Andrew Charlesworth
Chair: Oleg Liber

The motion: "This house believes that eportfolios offer huge pedagogic and social benefits for people in a modern society, and all efforts should be made to make them a reality as soon as possible" The debate was interesting and lively....the result...the motion was carried, with 23 in favour and 19 against. It has opened up a lot of questions and issues which still need to be discussed. You can join in these discussions on the Jiscmail Discussion List for the Pedagogy Forum.

For an outline of the debate, see the Most effective pedagogic technique ever or 21st century cannon fodder processor? article

Feedback from previous meetings suggested an event about e-portfolios. This meeting discussed and debated the pedagogical and social issues surrounding electronic portfolios with key people involved in their development.

e-portfolios are a highly contentious issue; recent debates about government plans to introduce identity cards, added to the Dearing report and DfES encouraging institutions to provide portfolios, has brought the issues to the fore. Whilst some may regard these developments as specialist territory, it is important to open out the discussions to the wider UK education community and provide the opportunity to directly feed back to those working to develop the standards for e-portfolios.

Apart from the technical implications of e-portfolios, there are also a number of concerns to be considered, some of which are:

  • Legal issues of e-portfolios
  • Data protection, confidentiality, security
  • Ownership
  • Access
  • Sustainability
  • Responsibility
  • Cultural issues

The educational and social issues surrounding e-portfolios were explored, including the Pedagogic value and the case for making portfolios electronic.

Rather than being taken as given that e-portfolios are desirable, the voices of caution also had an opportunity to be heard: the event also included a debate to discuss questions such as

  • Does the pedagogic value outweigh any downsides identified?
  • Is it a way to open up and expand education or is it an infringement on civil liberties?

The event included an introduction to the issues surrounding electronic portfolios, including a brief history of learner profiling plus details of current work being undertaken. Participants had the opportunity to debate the pros and cons of e-portfolios and provide feedback.

Further details and notes from the day will be added soon

Background/further information

'E-portfolio and its relationship to personal development planning: A view from the UK for Europe and beyond by Simon Grant, Peter Rees Jones, Rob Ward (CRA and CETIS LIPSIG): 2004-04-07 at

If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Pedagogy Forum Co-ordinator (Telephone: 01204 903851).

You may also wish to sign up to the Jiscmail Discussion List which contains updates about events and general discussions relating to the Pedagogy Forum.
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Suggestions and additions can be sent to Lisa Corley

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