About a year and a half ago I embarked on a process to develop my eportfolio – though it was a personal, introspective process, I decided to allow public access to my site as it evolves. I was rather uncomfortable with so many people potentially seeing so much information about me, however, since the line of work of percolab is eportfolios and collaborative processes and I was frustrated that we could never see the result of each others « private » process, I had no choice. So there I was, in a place of discomfort – but deep down I knew that such visibility might have its rewards. And indeed it does.
Darren Cambridge, international researcher and author on eportfolios, chose to analyse my ePortfolio for a book he is writing and he sent me a draft of the chapter that refers to my work. Darren links my process to concepts of « integrity » and « employabilty » in ways that only someone from outside looking in could. He points out ideas that I share:
Darren gets what I was trying to do, a self-representation that is « more than an aggregation of discrete reflections on specific experiences, pieces of evidence of isolated competencies, or a repository of goals ». Darren sums up my vision for me:
But Darren goes even further, he sees how I am was trying to go get somewhere different, and indeed this is part of the foundation of percolab.
And Darren understands also how, without ever saying it, I used my eportfolio to develop my professionalism and capacity to innovate in my area of speciality, learning design. The structure and process I developed is in line with the theory « supporting self-sponsored learning through cultivating distributed, flexible, content-rich spaces and tools that connect learners ».
Darren thinks that my portfolio is « a powerful example of how integrity, the linking of private and public life through systems thinking, is important to defining excellence within a profession » and that in general:
The health of a profession should be judged by how well it enables its members to do « good work ». The meaning of « good » in good work is two-fold: good in the sense of expertise, doing work well, and good in the sense of ethics, doing work that serves the good. » Defining the good that a profession should do and enabling it s members to do it requires more than occupation-specific competencies. It also requires taking into consideration the values, beliefs, and commitments held by its members, considering commonalities and conflict in relationship to the public’s expectations of the profession.
Darren and I both see the potential of eportfolios to help many under-appreciated professions (from waitresses to welders) that in fact involve « considerable, multiple intelligences and cognitive sophistication » to « argue for their right to the means for professional self-definition. » Indeed , percolab has been looking at how eportfolios can help develop the professional identity and credibility in the field of youth workers and volunteers.
And so my little eportfolio undertaking is put in a larger perspective, a gift Darren offers me, serving to clarify, solidify and enrich ideas that were were searching to be formalised. His words inspire me forward. Thank you Darren. I will no longer doubt that making my eportfolio publicly accessible was the right decision.
Note: The text of the book, once published, may differ from that in the passages quoted above.
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