ePortfolio Development: A Sort of Art and Design Perspective

In my early days as an Art and Design student, I remember carrying my work around in one of those old black portfolio cases about the size of a small kitchen table. I went for my undergraduate interview at Blackpool and the Fylde College on a Monday morning in early summer. I remember getting to Blackpool North railway station early, so I hung around for a while and got a coffee. I was entertained by three guys from Glasgow who, having spent the weekend enjoying the earthly delights of the seaside resort, were heading home. It soon became apparent that they had been up all night drinking and were finishing off their last few cans of lager. After a few jokes at my expense, they were soon huddled round my portfolio with genuine interest. So there I was, critically disseminating my entire body of work to three Glaswegian drunks in a railway cafe. Suffice to say, my interview at the College an hour or so later was a doddle by comparison, and I was offered the degree place.

Even in the relatively few subsequent years of studying in Art and Design, my portfolio underwent significant changes, in both editorial and design contexts, and significantly, the very medium in which it was presented; the physical case was soon replaced by a CD, and then a HTML website, then a Flash movie etc.

ePortfolio development is not a focus of my current studies as an educational researcher, though immediately after my MA in Falmouth, I was involved in a small research project with Ana Carvalho and Oliver Scott promoting digital portfolio workshops for Art and Design students. This highlighted the importance of portfolios as documentation of process, and we therefore explored portfolio development in context with other artefacts of reflective practice such as (digital) sketchbooks and Personal Development Plans (PDP).

Whilst I recognise the unique and specialised role the portfolio plays within Art and Design, issues such as portability, ownership, customisation, accessibility and scalability are applicable to the wider academic field. My own experience has taught me that portfolios are never static, but require regular management and sometimes fundamental changes.

Chris Thomson discusses the current uncertainties surrounding Delicious to highlight the transiency of web 2.0 tools within the context of developing a distributed ePortfolio. As I noted in a recent post, successful adoption of social media – for whatever purposes – requires developing key critical and reflective practices. In the case of ePortfolios, this may necessitate the negotiation of messy interrelations between institutional, commercial and open source tools, and the development of multiple platforms and multiple versions for different roles and audiences.

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5 Responses to “ePortfolio Development: A Sort of Art and Design Perspective”

  1. Tweets that mention ePortfolio Development: A Sort of Art and Design Perspective | PhD Blog (dot) Net -- Topsy.com Says:

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  2. virginia Yonkers Says:

    Interesting. I think of eportfolios (or any portfolios for that matter) as a story telling mechanisms (sort of the illustrations to the story). I wonder if a program like Prezi would change the purpose of a portofio to one of conversation starter.

  3. Andy Coverdale Says:

    I like the Pathways feature on VUE (Visual Understanding Environment), the mapping and presentation tool from Tufts University. It enables you to plot, record and playback one or more linear narratives from the nodes and resources whilst retaining the overall conceptual map.

  4. Sarah Stewart Says:

    Hi Andy, I’m still thinking about how reflecting in open spaces changes the nature of reflection…especially if that space is an e-portfolio. Haven’t come to any conclusions but enjoying reading around and hearing what others like yourself say 🙂

  5. Andy Coverdale Says:

    Hi Sarah.

    As I suggested, e-portfolios are not an area of expertise for me. However, for what it’s worth, I’d be interested in how the reflective process in the designing, developing and maintaining of the e-portfolio is influenced, enhanced or compromised by instrumentalising it as a presentational output.

    Whilst recognising that this itself is potentially compromised by any number of factors including platform(s) design, assessment criteria, institutional requirements, and audience contexts.

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