[UPDATE 9-DEC-2010: I decided it would be good to separate this conversation into several parts as it touched on a few topics. This will hopefully make it easier to follow!]
A couple of hours ago, I met with David Stanbury over in the Carrington Building. David oversaw the development of the “Destinations” website, an online resource used by the University of Reading but also licensed to a number of other institutions.
As one of the aims of this project is to develop a tool which searches and links to or embeds information from sites like “Destinations” from within a VLE, I thought I’d talk to David about some of possible benefits and some of the potential issues around such a tool.
One of the first potential issues that David flagged up for me was that the content of Destinations must remain behind the firewall. This could prove a problem both technically, in terms of how we search the site, and legally, in terms of what we then do with search results. It will be necessary to talk to the people who are currently maintaining the site and possibly get in touch with one of its creators.
As Destinations contains sets of discrete and reusable objects, we briefly discussed the nature of these. Some of them are “reflective activities” and our conversation led onto the topic of the e-portfolio widgets we hope to develop. It’s possible for students currently to print and save the results of any reflective activities they undertake, even though they’re not stored anywhere centrally. Surely, it would make sense to explore if we can the possibility of importing such results into an e-portfolio?