Photo courtesy of Bonnie Heim
Earlier in the year I applied to take part in a joint QUT/ALIA pilot study on ePortfolios for the Library and Information Sector. Just over twenty of us were accepted into the program, and we finally met up with each other at the ePortfolio Symposium in Brisbane early last week. This photo was taken after we had just held our first meeting on our expectations of our involvement in the study. We were also required to talk into a video camera for a minute or so about our backgrounds and expectations. Our group was made up of students, new grads and early, mid and late library professionals representing a wide range of LIS sectors. I was a 'new grad, not yet employed'!!
'An ePortfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items - ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc, which "presents" a selected audience with evidence of a person's learning and/or ability'(Sutherland, S and Powell, A. 2007). ePortfolios have also been described as the product, created by the learner, a collection of digital artefacts articulating experiences, achievemnets and learning'(JISC - Effective Practice with ePortfolios). For me so far, my ePortfolio is an organic web2.0 tool that will help capture who I am, what I have done and will help me set the direction for what I want to do.
The AeP2 Symposium was a worthwhile experience for me personally as it introduced me to the very wide variety of ways ePortfolios are being used. I was able to listen to experts from around the world share both their knowledge and experiences in this field. I was especially impressed by Ruth Wallace from the Northern Territory talk about empowering disenfranchised learner identities through ePortfolio use. Very powerful!
My last day in Brisbane was spent with Shane Sutherland in a Pebble Pad workshop. Pebble Pad is our tool for the creation of our ePortfolios, and I must say it is very glam. It has an iPhone-ish feel about it, which automatically made me feel right at home. Below is my customised desk top, no doubt it will keep changing!
So, here are some of my thoughts so far on my involvement in this project. I asked to be considered to participate because I truly believe in life long learning. I have finished my studies and need to look for a job where I can use my professional qualifications. Being part of this project will encourage me to learn new skills, and to hopefully use these skills as part of my job application process. After I have added all the information about myself, I can create different webportfolios to suit different purposes, ie job applications, ALIA audit for professional development etc.
Secondly, I admit to being a public library evangalist. I love that people can come and use our facilities regardless of educational, religious, or socio-economic status. So included in my ePortfolio project will hopefully be some research on the viability of approaching interested stakeholders within the community and offering an open source ePortfolio for all community members. Free and equitable access for all - have we heard that somewhere before? How can we apply that to giving every interested community member the chance to have their own ePortfolio? Somewhere they can store all their information, certificates, qualifications and be able to learn current and relevant Web 2.0 skills on their personal learning journey.
Lastly, I wanted to be part of the bigger picture, and hopefully give something back to the LIS community. Who knows, but maybe some of the outcomes of this pilot may help shape some new policies on continuing professional development within ALIA.