Sakai/OSPortfolio

ID #1039

Electronic Portfolios: What is the Open Source Portfolio? How can OSPortfolio help my students, faculty and institution?

First, OSPortfolio is an open source e-portfolio solution: it's a toolkit designed to help learners reflect on their own development, seeing each learning task as part of a larger educational experience, and many schools that have implemented e-portfolios find the impact on student learning to be amazing.

This electronic portfolio toolkit is built into Sakai -- which itself is a comprehensive LMS (learning management system) comparable in many ways to BlackBoard, except without the licensing fees. Imagine being able to pour those licensing fees into support or custom training and documentation, instead!

What are the benefits of OSPortfolio?

OSP is a world-class ePortfolio implementation as a subset of tools available within Sakai.

Your studentry will benefit from electronic portfolios because:

  • it encourages them to look at their assignments and homework in the context of a larger learning experience
  • they'll be able to easily convert their school work into a showcase portfolio for prospective employers
  • the convenient file storage system allows them to re-use their work in many places
  • there's nothing for students to install -- it works in any web browser
  • they can conjure up their own uses for OSP/Sakai without any additional maintenance issues

Your faculty will benefit from ePortfolios because:

  • it's convenient to post one message to OSP and have all affected students get the update
  • each worksite can be its own "list-serv" for discussion groups and mailing lists
  • it encourages use and observance of copyright claims
  • students carry some of the maintenance burden in deciding who has permissions to see what the student publishes
  • they can create their own course and project worksites with a few clicks, re-using materials from their other worksites
  • Sakai, the underlying framework, can be used as an enterprise-wide collaboration/learning environment -- like WebCT or Blackboard, once you enable those tools

Your campus will benefit from e-portfolios because:

  • e-portfolios are a hot topic, and schools which offer them have an advantage over those that don't
  • it's part of Sakai which is an open-source Java application, so local modifications are possible
  • many institutions worldwide are behind OSP and Sakai in committing both money and resources, so it's not going away
  • the community holds two conferences a year to handle all the interest

Note that configuring an electronic portfolio to do your bidding is a very deliberate process. Serensoft can help guide your team in selecting what to include and what to exclude, fostering ideas on setting up the OSP Matrix, or developing and implementing customized development of OSP forms or portfolio templates.

During the "pilot program" some schools opt to host OSP on-campus using campus IT resources; others choose to outsource the hosting and the infrastructure headeaches that go with it.

Even after the pilot is satisfactorily completed, some schools still farm out the hosting of OSP to a third-party hosting provider, but most schools move to an on-campus server before they "go live" campus-wide.


If you would like to discuss electronic portfolios and how your campus might benefit, contact Serensoft. We'd like to help.

Last update: 2007-10-14 12:30
Author: will trillich
Revision: 1.3

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