iLearn Development Legacy

I’m not overly technical and my main role in this project will most likely be overseeing the implementation of each widget we develop. But this last few weeks, it’s made sense for me to go through some of the “simple” e-portfolio enhancements that the University started implementing a couple of years ago — mainly because I wrote them.

The short version of the story is that a couple of years ago, after we had piloted Blackboard’s e-portfolio tool with groups of students, I found myself frustrated with the technology’s limitations. It could have offered so much more. At that time, there was a broad PDP agenda starting up and I realised that the tool wasn’t going to offer exactly what was needed. But I also realised that it was the only tool for which we had a license that would actually do the job. So I started to see if we could make some improvements.

Now the enhancements are rolled out across the university — and you can see what we did in these old videos here and here (a warning for any aesthetes reading: the sound quality’s not so good). Unfortunately, the enhancements don’t make the tool any prettier but they do make it slightly easier to use and enable students to fill out a confidence rating questionnairre and have all their results imported into their portfolio.

What I’d like to do in this project is create a more comprehensively user-friendly tool and this is the aim of our three portfolio widgets. We hope that the model for these widgets, if not the code itself, will be something that can be applied to portfolio (or portfolio-type) systems outside Blackboard. So right now I am going through the old iLearn code and seeing what we can salvage for Blackboard version 9 (which is where the widgets will eventually be presented).

Soon, I shall post an update with a description of what I’ve managed to do so far.

About Guy

I am currently Enhancement Officer (for Education Technologies) at the University of Reading. I am also studying for a Masters in Research at the University's School of Systems Engineering.
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