Feeling thrilled and a bit guilty at the end of it! I confess to enjoying this Mooc so much I can’t find time for other matters: my husband started referring to himself as ‘a Mooc widower’ and my cat is thinking of alerting the RSPCA!
Developing an ePortfolio culture inside my institution being my major project for 2011, I didn’t hesitate for a second when I heard about the epCop Mooc and hopped onboard with a vengeance!
The ePortfolio concept wasn’t very popular in France when I started researching the topic two years ago, but things are changing rapidly and there is now a significant number of institutions: universities, schools, Regions, professional bodies… who implement ePortfolios. The National Education also started a pilot last year, the results of which will be presented to the Senate in 2012. In fact, things have changed so radically that I guess the average learner will soon be confronted with difficult choices. A colleague of mine even compared the situation with the offers from the credit cards companies, each one trying to sell you its own! And of course each institution has its own approach and its particular needs (even when they claim that their system is user-centered).
There is also, I realized, a growing interest from the marketing departments of those organizations (no university or training organization can do without them nowadays). They view the ePortfolio as the perfect tool to keep the users as customers who would be encouraged to return to them for any further studies. Not that there is anything wrong with doing business, of course. But the question is how do we reconcile these approaches and purposes? Does the solution lie in the use of a variety of tools? I tend to think so, but I hear many people say that it’s a hassle to have to use so many different tools, portals… But then again, you could make them work seamlessly so that the user experience is a friendly one (Hello IT people?).
If my institution goes for the ePortfolio project, it would potentially involve 180,000 ePortfolio users per year, not to mention approximately 10,000 staff. We’re not there yet, of course: we follow the adage ‘Start small, think big’. We are about to start experimenting in different contexts:
- With newly hired trainers: they are professionals who follow a tailor-made course on teaching and they will use the ePortfolio to reflect on their journey, but also to present evidence of their progress to their tutors. In this particular instance, we will use the Google tools (Google sites, documents, etc).
- There is also another pilot about to start this September, where we’ll introduce the ePortfolio to several groups of trainees. The participants will be volunteers from different courses: Personal Service Occupations (childcare), Logistics (warehouse and forklift operators). We will also include young people doing an ‘orientation course’ (not too sure of the English, here) where they get guidance and support to explore the options available to them, be it training, further education or employment. This particular pilot will be run with the help of two Regions who will provide their own ePortfolio systems (ie Elgg for one and custom-made proprietary software for the other). The ePortfolio will be used for transition and progression, but also for RPL (the certification authority has its own paper-based portfolio though, but the ePortfolio will certainly help trainees building that one).
- Lastly, but this one is still in its infancy, HR has shown some interest in the ePortfolio to scaffold the post-contract situation of 70 people doing apprenticeship with us as salespeople. The main purpose of the ePortfolio in this case will probably be to provide evidence in support of an application for a job.