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.