Betwixted, Bothered and Bewildered

As you can see from the title of the post, I’m betwixted, bothered and bewildered. Why is that? you ask. Well, I’ve been playing around with the WebCT‘s e-portfolio tool. I’ve already have onsiderable experience with using PebblePAD; if you haven’t already seen what the PebblePAD e-portfolio tool looks like, there is a rather nice example of it here; and I am now exclusively using Blackboard‘s e-portfolio tool for maintaining my own professional CPD e-portfolio (as shown in “The Quantum Chimera” article).

The University did have the choice to go with either PebblePAD (a highly structured, high customisable and feature-rich site that is programmed entirely in Flash) or Blackboard (a bare bones, no frillls, “blank sheet” site). It was decided that the University had already made a lot of investment with the Blackboard VLE, we couldn’t possibly support another system.

I had argued at the time that students in other instituitions had expressed the opinion that their e-portfolio tool should be separate from the VLE (the Institutional tool) as the e-portfolio belonged to them. I had heard that some institutions had listened to the students and offered a tool that was separate from the VLE; and equally, I heard that other institutions had scrapped the personalised e-portfolio and brought it back into the domain of the Institution’s control.

The WebCT e-portfolio tool seems to sit inbetween PebblePAD and Blackboard in terms of features and functionality, such as the enhanced feedback / comment for each asset created; resume; reflection and goal creation tool along with a range of tools that enable the user to customise the interface. With my own Blackboard e-portfolio site, I am using the HTML features and have created a cascading stylesheet to manage the look and feel, so that it is “low maintenance” and “highly configurable“.

The rub that I am having with the WebCT tool is that I don’t particularly want to construct yet another e-portfolio space, especially as I already have an emotional and intellectual investment with Blackboard, despite it’s severe shortcomings – the feedback / comment element to the tool is excruciatingly poor and unhelpful. Whilst I think it would be good for me to maintain a shareable e-portfolio for my MSc studies, I would much rather maintain it on an e-portfolio tool that I am currently involved with than with one that I am not.

Phew! That was a surprisingly hard entry to write.