Now that we have two different platforms available to answer your ePortfolio needs, I’d like to set up a few need scenarios showcasing the pluses and minuses of each tool. I’m not sure how many of you are considering ePortfolios for next semester, but in case you are, a few thoughts on the different tools we offer!
I want my students to put together an exhibit of their best work as they look to enter their new field. Employers will be looking for a very particular set of accomplishments and credentials. For this scenario, you might prefer to use Digication, which lends itself well to highly structured formats. Digication allows the instructor to create a replicable “template” that, when (uploaded by CNDLS and) selected by other students, will fill the ePortfolio automatically with pre-determined pages and sections.
When it comes to choosing an ePortfolio tool, I am most concerned about my students’ ability to make connections among learning experiences. This means that they will be doing a lot of writing, and it would be nice if they could link back and forth from one thing to another. Either tool could serve this purpose. If this instructor sees the students doing plenty of linking from page to page, then a new feature in WordPress might help– WordPress now offers the option to “link to existing content,” meaning that users do not need to insert the URL of the page in the link box; instead, they need only select the page they want from a drop-down menu. Digication does not offer this feature. However, when it comes to writing reflections more generally, both tools offer the necessary text tools.
I’m thinking I want my students to walk away from this project with a take-away that they can show their employers. Their ePortfolio should have some appeal that extends beyond the academy, because most of them will be going into industry or NGOs. WordPress is strong on customizability, and two WordPress blogs can look so different that one might not otherwise know that they are using the same tool. Digication offers minimal customization (header can be changed). If visual creativity is a big component of your ePortfolio assignment, WordPress is a better fit. In the case of either tool, please keep in mind that students must make the ePortfolio public before sharing with viewers outside Georgetown University.
I think building an ePortfolio would be a great assignment for my students. However, I have 68 students in my class, and I don’t have time to scour 68 differently organized portfolios for the artifacts and writings I will be assessing. Like I mention in scenario #1, Digication allows the upload of customized templates that pre-populate pages and other organizing structures. Students who select a custom template are not prohibited from adding their own pages, but the overall consistency in setup would make it much easier to review portions of or entire ePortfolios en masse.