Research: Choosing a Topic


Musing so far (from online asynchronous discussions):


Well after my first week of study I’m still a little undecided as to a specific topic and approach. I’m involved in a large(ish) Moodle installation so it would be logical to incorporate that somehow maybe with relation to rapid elearning design, but I’m more interested in PLEs/ePortfolios/bPortfolios/mPortfolios…


I’m now considering an open, web 2.0 framework for lifelong, life-wide eportfolio adoption. Most frameworks are assessment based and this would have the potential to be used by absolutely anyone in any context (hopefully).


OK based on what I’ve read:

What specific attributes/components affect perceived value to the eportfolio end-user? (e.g. personalisation, reflection, community-building)

Unfortunately I have no idea the best way to research this even after lots of reading – my nature contradicts the practicalities.


Getting there…

E-portfolios: the Web 2.0 Divide

I hypothesise that users of specific eportfolio software are unable to integrate their existing digital identity due to lack of support for Web 2.0 features that are taken for granted in facebook etc.,

…still formulating but just attended a dry (don’t tell anyone) webinar on eportfolios and it occurred to me that early adopters actually aren’t that switched on. Their software was specific to the institution and totally assessment driven so no long-term value at all 😦


Assessment-based e-portfolios are dull and disconnected (I wonder if they’re dull because they’re disconnected?)

I’m still struggling to put it into words but I know what I mean lol. It is a question of motivation (perceived value?) and if you look at successful social software what are the key common factors: personalisation, usability, compatibility (ability to interact with other apps) and ability to connect to others – but once the person is drawn in what keeps them there? This is my million dollar research question. I think for e-portfolios to be lifelong and life wide I need to look into social networking sites as well.


Web 2.0 and ePortfolios

Pedagogically and physiologically there is much literature (Dewey, Schon, Schater, etc) supporting features included in eportfolios. There’s also plenty research relating to assessment and transition from education to profession, however there is very little specifically relating to Web 2.0 and eportfolios. Mainly because the early adopters have been driven by a need to fulfil an assessment purpose and not supported Web 2.0 culture. There’s plenty mention of Web 2.0 (JISC, BECTA, Barrett) but no research I can find. Helen Barret is mid-project investigating the use of Web 2.0 tools in K-12 which although has a slightly different focus does include similar research questions.


Educators have a responsibility to be lifelong learners and as such keep abreast of the latest in pedagogy AND technology. Of course there is a divide but what a disappointment: that there exists the possibility to create something that is a personal learning environment that will be used for a lifetime and for all aspects of life and instead the eportfolio ethos is beaten into submission with dry, institution-owned, assessment-driven eportfolios which will be abandoned on leaving the institution and would never survive a career change.

… But how disappointing for those who are natives. They can take a photo or video at a conference and post it to their blog-based eportfolio and have started a discussion online before the presentation had finished. Natives live in Twitter-time, they are permanently connected and their eportfolios need to be part of this.

Now if I could just get this interested in the actual research methods I’d be finished by now…


Just found a Helen Barrett blogpost of a presentation she’s preparing for TEDX India 2010 which is about the blurring of lines between social networking and eportfolios.

Now I know I’m on the right track!


3 responses

    • No, these are my posts from the University discussion board – I posted them to demonstrate my thinking process. Of course, anyone can join in now by leaving a comment 🙂

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