ePortfolio Technology Providers
The following listing includes brief notes on companies
providing electronic portfolio platforms, support services for open source
platforms, or learner-oriented management tools that help users develop
artifacts for their ePortfolios. This is not a review but a compilation of
information noted from interviews and research; the claims made in each case
come from the company and not from the author. All companies included in the listing below were interviewed
based on 20 standard questions asked of each interviewee. Company contact info where
provided is for convenience.
FolioTek, Columbia, Missouri, ePortfolio launch in 2001.
Sells in U.S. with interest in expanding globally. Provides weekly upgrades. Pearson
serves as a FolioTek reseller. Can keep account after graduation. Has an iPhone
app. Contact Rita Wheeler, email@example.com; 888-365-4639 X 308.
Distinguishing value: Easy entry
point. Start with “presentation” module and then easily “graduate” to other
LaGrange, IL, founded in 1998. New
product: Field Experience Module. Smart phone app: iPad, iPhone, Android.
Mostly U.S., but expanding in South America and the Middle East. Easy tie-in to
accreditation agencies and their standards. Individual accounts. New release
start of 2012. Started in K-12, moved focus to higher education, now exploring
K-12 once again, starting with teacher education. Contact Katie Kalmus,
Distinguishing value: Robust outcomes
assessment, does reporting, “fewest clicks to get started.” Measures learner
growth. User-friendly interface.
RCampus, produced by Reazon Systems, Santa Ana, CA.
Software development started in 1999, incorporated in 2003. RCampus has modules
that can be turned on or off: RCampus LMS, RCampus Eportfolios, iRubric,
RCampus Outcomes, RCampus eCommunities. Region: North America. Individual
accounts available. In addition to education: corporate training and
compliance. iRubric is licensed to Sakai as a plug-in; RCampus licenses
TurnItIn. RCampus emphasizes authentic assessment; encourages creativity;
higher ed and K-12 about 50-50. Subscription model. Partners with Google Apps.
iPhone app in development; has metadata scheme for artifact management. Contact
Katie Rossomano at (949) 222-2266
Distinguishing value: Company run by
academics, software determined by feedback from educators, colleagues, and
students. Software allows for authoring within the system itself; produces
accreditation reports; provides K-12 standards.
Desire2Learn, Kitchener, Ontario also Baltimore, MD, with
offices around the world, founded in 1999. Sells worldwide, latest release for
the electronic portfolio (ver. 3.5) was in August 2011. Electronic portfolio and the D2L LMS
are bundled; each leverages functionalities from the other. ePortfolio moving
to hosting service and individual accounts soon. Smart phone app: Blackberry,
iPhone, Android. Contact info at http://www.desire2learn.com/contact/.Digication, Providence, RI and Palo Alto, CA, founded 2002. Is
in partnership with Google Apps. Individual accounts; institution keeps
assessment data; individual keeps ePortfolio functionality. Through Google
Apps: free digital accounts with Digication (no assessment management functions
with these accounts). “Three or four clicks and Digication is enabled.” Almost
daily updates. Smart phone app: IOS and Android. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distinguishing value: Provides
both LMS and ePortfolio within one platform and the two “projects” share
functionalities. System itself can serve as a multimedia file generator (audio
now; video later). Active user group.
Distinguishing value>: Ease of
use and flexibility. Expressive and free-form but “mapped” to meet
accreditation needs. “Do what you want,” but you will also end up with a data
Objects, producers of Campus Pack, in
Washington, DC, with employees around the world, founded in 2003. Markets
internationally, around 400 institutions around the world; strong use in the
U.K. In Campus Pack: portfolio and PDP (personal development plan); allows use
of social media apps; has Social Assignments and Activities module to
incorporate these apps; Social Network and Academic Commons module networks
institution; cross-department collaboration using social media; creates co- and
non-curricular community. Used in corporate, government, and non-profit
sectors. Individual accounts: basic functionality now, more later. Contact
202-265-3276 or email@example.com.
Distinguishing value: Student engagement out of classroom, social media incorporation;
institution can decide how “open” Campus Pack modules are. Integrated with
Pearson Learning Studio; complies with IMS standards. Learner focused;
assessment is the persona created in Campus Pack. Seeking to make true Web 2.0
TaskStream, New York City, organized 1998, founded 2000,
markets internationally, versions available in a variety of languages. Offers
separate platforms, AMS (Accountability Management System) and LAT (Learning
Achievement Tools); each is multi-component. TaskStream collaborates with
institutions to develop their new processes: “vendors must partner with
institutions.” Use in corporate sector, training and HR purposes (performance
assessment). Configure software for customer; claims “largest provider” of this
kind of software. Offers individual subscriptions. Smart phone app, and iPad.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-311-5656.
Distinguishing value: Through
ongoing collaboration with customers, ensures their success; with institutions,
work with understanding of vision, roles, experience, and data types. Focus on
whole context but also the group level. Collaboration built into software. They
continue as partners over time.
Longsight, based in Ohio with offices in NY, IN, OH, WI, and
CA, founded in 1978, a service provider for open source solutions. Supports
both the Open Source Portfolio (OSP) and Sakai, within which OSP is embedded..
Customizes Sakai for each customer, using the community release version,
meaning that customers always have the latest version. For the moment the
version is Sakai 2.8 (a new release is in beta right now). Other Sakai
service-providers: Three Canoes, rSmart. Contact Scott Siddall at email@example.com
or 866-224-5751, ext. 801.
Distinguishing value: Open
source is free code only, not free support. Most institutions need help
deploying Sakai and Longsight has a well-established reputation for strong
support in customizing Sakai for each customer. Has an MOU with Three Canoes,
another Sakai service provider.
& Wire, Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada; all
employees are educators; formed in 1995. Once user has an account through an
institution, can continue subscription. Does not sell directly to the public,
however. Market in U.S. primarily but also in Australia and New Zealand, in
higher education and to organizations. One product that is “multi-variant.” IOS
and Android mobile apps. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-252-2201.
Flexibility and ease of use. Training is minimal. Keeps learner at the center
but can also produce reports for accreditation review. They limit number of new
clients to 15 per year to maintain the level of service they are known for.
NobleHour, produced by TreeTop Software, in Lakeland, FL,
founded in 2011 (preceded by SweatMonkey), not an ePortfolio provider, but
NobleHour supports community-based learning, helping students engage in “folio
thinking” (cf. Helen Chen of Stanford), active, self-initiated, independent
learning that results in authentic (real-world) experience. Contact email@example.com;
beta release of NobleHour this month (current users of SweatMonkey will be
migrated to NobleHour). Web-based; sold to institutions for student use, both
K-12 and higher education.
Distinguishing value: So much of
education software has been institutionally-centered; NobleHour is
student-centered. Though NobleHour is purchased by the organization, the
intended user is the student. NobleHour helps students engage in what George
Kuh at IUPUI has called “high-impact educational practices” shown to have a
high impact across all segments of education (http://www.aacu.org/leap/hip.cfm).
Sherston, Tag Developments, the assessment division of
Sherston Software, Ltd., providers of Red Pen Tool: http://www.maps-ict.com/redpentool.mov,
of LiveAssess: http://www.maps-ict.com/liveassess.mov, and of MAPS 3: http://www.maps-ict.com/maps3.mov.
Located in Lambeth, London, U.K., with an office in the U.S. Red Pen, an online
annotation tool, and LiveAssess, a student project support system resulting in
a storyboard record of the project are incorporated into MAPS 3 but can be
purchased separately. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distinguishing value: The three
Tag tools provide unusual and valuable additional functionality for portfolio
activities. Short videos available for more information. Some development for
Tag in collaboration with Goldsmiths University in London.
PebblePad from PebbleLearning, in Telford, UK, with office in
Australia, founded in 2003. Most popular ePortfolio in the U.K. and Australia,
interest in expanding geographically, new version in spring designed for U.S.
market. Individual accounts; often used by educators themselves; emphasis on
personal ownership--software requires user to agree to personal data being used
in institutional reports; iPhone app. Published book called Pebblegogy: ideas and activities to inspire and engage learners, 2011. Digital version on Amazon. Contact email@example.com. [note
spelling of “enquiries”].
Distinguishing Value: Users work with PebblePad to author
artifacts instead of creating artifacts with other programs and uploading to
PebblePad. Personal space is private: no “sense of surveillance.” The separate
gateway allows the user to share artifacts and make them available for
assessment and aggregate reporting. Emphasis is on good learning design.
Symplicity, in Arlington, VA, offers an electronic portfolio (http://www.symplicity.com/reflection)
but it is only one among dozens of products that Symplicity offers--all of them
are management tools for higher education (see http://www.symplicity.com/products).
Good example of separating products to support a single function.
Blackboard, the major LMS player in the world, has gathered 3
or more ePortfolio systems through acquisitions and its own development. In
interviews with representatives from Blackboard Learn, I could not be certain
about how Blackboard figures or will figure in the ePortfolio world. Blackboard
now offers the Blackboard Content System for ePortfolio functionality.
eFolioWorld, technology from Avenet, the Minnesota Colleges and
Universities portfolio system, is now extended to the University of Minnesota
system as well. Developed in 2001, serves both institutional assessment
management and individual student ePortfolios; Avenet Web Services now
providing business services for eFolioWorld; SaaS. Contact
firstname.lastname@example.org, in Minneapolis.
iWebFolio, from Nuventive. Also known for TracDat, marketed
since the 1990s, Nuventive founded 2000. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, sales office
in CA; most clients in the U.S. or primarily in the U.S. iWebFolio can be
customized, includes templates and AAC&U VALUE rubrics, a library of
donated materials from the community. Student ownership of portfolio, has user
conference each June, new release out soon; Web-based. Can continue account
after graduation; individual accounts; at some institutions, students buy their
own iWebFolio accounts; does have institutional reporting capability. Contact
Courtney Francis at email@example.com.
Distinguishing value: Student
can see who looks at submitted evidence, has an array of management tools for
student; strong community; student-centered.
Adobe, San Jose, CA, with offices throughout the world,
began as PostScript in 1982 but now has large array of well-known products.
Sells to all market segments including K-12 (primary and secondary) and higher
education. Included in this list because Adobe apps can and do author portfolio
artifacts, the artifacts can be organized using Adobe’s proprietary metadata
set, can create files in U.S. government and universally recognized standard
file types, can produce publication-quality artifacts, and because Adobe has
shown interest in electronic portfolios. Some applications are moving to SaaS
Distinguishing value: As the
market for electronic portfolios expands, and expectations for quality and
standards-based digital publishing increase, Adobe is able to provide the tools
to meet those expectations. Adobe Acrobat (and the PDF file format it creates),
Photoshop, Creative Suite, Flash Player, AIR, Shockwave, Digital Publishing
Suite and more, used on behalf of building high-quality personal portfolios may
be the future of the electronic portfolio market sector. All file types can be
embedded in a PDF document: The significance of that should be apparent to all
who are interested in electronic portfolios.
Epsilen, The Epsilen Environment, majority owned by the New
York Times; SunGuard is re-seller and technical partner; located in
Indianapolis with users in 130 countries (an “Epsilen global network”), free
accounts to individuals, but a fee charged for institutions; heavy focus on
community. Epsilen designed to teach; has links within it; is an enabled
learning environment; K-12, higher education, corporate sector. IOS, Adroid
apps; iPad soon.
Distinguishing value: Access to
New York Times Knowledge Network, moving toward functionality to help students
find and manage internship experiences; incorporating Web 2.0 tools, goal is to
become a cultural tool. Can serve LMS needs.
Mahara, claimed by some to be the world’s fastest-growing
electronic portfolio system, is open source and easily used in conjunction with
Moodle (both created in New Zealand). Support companies: Synergy: http://www.synergy-learning.com/mahara/mahara_support.php--U.K.;
Lambda Solutions: http://www.lambdasolutions.net/mahar-support--Canada; Remote
assessment enterprise system for outcomes-based learning. An example of how
assessment, unbundled from ePortfolio, can evolve into a platform for new forms
of learning. Located in Minneapolis. Founded in 2003, arising from the
portfolio “breadbasket,” Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities system (MnSCU), provides platform for institutions to install that
“talks to” any or all core enterprise management systems; a new approach to
outcomes-based assessment carrying the idea to the logical next step; 30
institutional clients; can generate grades based on meeting outcomes; an
alternative to course structure. Assessment can be based on evidence in
ePortfolios. Contact info@eLumen.info.
Distinguishing value: Designed
to incorporate the future, to support either assessment as-is, or as it could
be in an outcomes-and-evidence-based learning design; and/or, the university or
college as is, or how it could be.