Wiki vs. Drupal Book

One of the big reasons I had for making the switch to Drupal is the great "Book" content type. It allows structuring of individual pages into a navigation hierarchy, and generates the "table of contents" and inter/page navigation automatically. I wanted to use it for writing longer articles, and wish I'd had it in place to use for the Interface 2006 ePortfolio background information article .

Initially, I wrote up the background article in a wiki, thinking it might be handy if others were able to edit. But, nobody has, and I think the article is less useful/usable as One Long Page Of Stuff. It would make more sense in smaller, bite-sized pieces that could be individually linked. Smaller granularity, allowing for reuse or something equally wishful.

So, to test out the waters, I just moved a copy of the Interface 2006 ePortfolio background article into a structured book here on my blog.

What's the difference between the two? The wiki page version is theoretically more "open" – others are able to edit it. The Drupal book version is theoretically more usable as a reference – easier to navigate and link to. It's also got comments enabled, so feedback is still pretty easy. Any thoughts on the two approaches?


ePortfolio Software used in the Faculty of Education Master of Teaching ePortfolio pilot project

Other ePortfolio Software

  • Apple iWeb (an extremely easy and powerful website authoring and publishing program which could be an effective part of an ePortfolio authoring system)
  • D'Arcy's "live" ePortfolio (blog posts tagged with "Noteworthy" – a blogfolio)
  • Elgg (a combination of weblogging, e-portfolios, and social networking)

Related blog posts

Associations and Articles

Individual vs. Community

65551301_24280c9c10.jpg Photograph by D'Arcy Norman

ePortfolios are both individual and community activities. As individuals document their practice, they perform several internal processes to make sense of what they've done. But, these processes can be amplified if a community of peers (and/or mentors or "experts") is a key part of their ePortfolio process. By sharing reflection, and drawing on reflections and suggestions from a person's community of practice, it would be possible to more effectively understand what is being documented, and to better adapt as a result.

For the pilot project, we used Drupal to facilitate sharing of ePortfolios among members of the (small) community of practice. The software was configured such that individuals could determine who could see the content they published, so they could share personal reflections and comments without worrying about being exposed to the entire class (or the entire world, through Google).

65551345_363ba7aef4.jpg Photograph by D'Arcy Norman

Each student (and professor) had their own weblog within the Drupal environment, where they could post any content they wished. If they categorized content as belonging to the "ePortfolio" taxonomy, it would be displayed in a central "ePortfolio" page. This was intended to foster discussion, reflection, review and positive criticism about a student's ePortfolio.

Students could also post content to their weblog that did not pertain directly to their ePortfolio. They could document classroom experiences, share lesson plans, ask questions, or just rant about classroom management challenges. As students shared and commented on the various weblog posts, they would be able to incorporate items from that process into their own ePortfolios, with the ePortfolio becoming a snapshot product of the community process.

Archival vs. Developmental

Because ePortfolios are used to document and record an individual's practice, they have an archival nature. They form a "permanent record" of a person's activities and progress.

ePortfolios can also have a developmental nature, when the individual (and their peers) review an ePortfolio to create personal development plans, and to adapt future strategies as a result of the documented case studies presented within an ePortfolio.

Boxes in the Basement

79451249_9ecc140210.jpg Photograph by Penumbra


  • a personal content management system
  • capable of storing nearly any form of medium.


  • out of sight, out of mind
  • not exactly portable or sharable

Ongoing Notebook

134809086_67310e4c76.jpg Photograph by csb13


  • portable
  • sharable (with small groups)
  • easy to use


  • limited media types
  • runs out of pages

Presentational vs. Cognitive

ePortfolios have two primary components. The "presentational" component is the visible, shiny product of the ePortfolio process. It is a website, or a presentation, or a set of media produced to document and communicate a concept or event.

But, just as importantly, an ePortfolio has a cognitive component. The individual crafting their ePortfolio should be reflecting on their practice of teaching and learning, critiquing what they've done – what worked? what didn't work? what would they do differently? This cognitive or reflective component is crucial, as it allows the individual (and their peers) to learn from both success and failure.