I thought it would be useful to review my experiences of using e-Portfolios for the first time, as last week they successfully went through moderation.
After a Level 1 web design course, where there was a considerable volume of work produced, I decided that it would be more suitable to produce the work as an e-Portfolio. This would more effectively demonstrate the skills the students had learned, as well as vastly reducing the amount of paperwork to submit.
The course was already set up on Moodle, so for each session I added an area to upload the work that had been done. I also set up all the course criteria so that I could add outcomes to each of the assignments as appropriate. This took a while as I incorrectly set up one criteria initially and it took me a while to work out how to remove it and replace it with the correct one.
Early on, I discussed with the class how I wanted the portfolios to work. I wanted them to create an over-arching website, which would include, in some format, a list of all the criteria which should be covered during the course. This site would then contain subsites of all the websites they had created during the course, and the criteria list would have links to corresponding evidence throughout the subsites. I suggested that the students add to their over-arching site whenever possible, to avoid having a huge amount of compiling to do at the end of the course.
Completing the Portfolios
In the final few sessions of the course, I got the learners to upload working versions of their final portfolios, and I made suggestions for improvements where necessary. Some of the portfolios were excellent, and the students had done exactly as asked. A variety of cross-referencing methods were used. Several students downloaded the criteria checklist as a Word document (as provided by me), and then made clickable links into the relevant area of their portfolio. Another student practiced creating drop down menus using CSS, and used the menus as links to all the criteria. Several others created a new web page at the front of the portfolio, and linked to all the criteria from this.
I then created a moderation website which included a few details about the course, along with a page for each student. Within each student's page, there was then a link to their portfolio, which was packaged into my moderation site.
There were just a couple of students who ran out of time to create their e-portfolio. One student collated their work into a website, but didn't have any cross-referencing, another two failed to compile their work at all. However, as all the work was on Moodle anyway, I was able to draw this together into a single folder, and incorporate it into my moderation site. Where evidence referencing was absent, I created the links from a standardised criteria page - and clearly marked this up in red so that any internal verifiers / moderators would be able to see what work was the students, and what I had added. Even in some of the best portfolios, there may have been the odd cross-reference that was not linked correctly, so I used the same technique here, adding the link but marking it clearly in red.
The final moderation website passed internal verification and moderation without any problems, and the internal verifier commented that the evidence had been very easy to find. There was a fair bit of work to do on my part in collating the portfolios into one site, but in many ways it was easier than ordering what would have been close to 100 sheets of paper for each student and adding page numbers and cross referencing manually. Now the site is set up, it should be easier still to repeat the method. I will definitely use e-portfolios again.