January 19th, 2012
Yesterday, during one of our Webinars
in the series we are doing with EPAC and ePortfolio California (see
"exploring eportfolio technologies webinar series" tab at the left),
the vendor rep who was presenting was asked if the eportfolio system being
demoed could replace the course management system on their campus.
After a slight chuckle (because it seemed impossible or because he's been
thinking that way, too?), he riffed on the possibilities.
Since 2001, when I first began having formal responsibilities for eportfolios
on my campus, I have suggested that eportfolio technologies will eventually
surpass CMS's in dollars spent, in impact, in transformational power, and, in
fact, would leap beyond the bounds of the campus and become a cultural
The trend is clearly in that direction: each month sees new social
pedagogy designs being incorporated into eportfolio applications. Already
universally web-accessible, eportfolio tools are now available in most cases as
an individual account, both before enrollment at an educational institution and
As the slow trend toward student-centered learning, real
student-centered learning continues, and as real-world learning is more the
norm, testing must give way to assessment of eportfolio evidence as a more
reliable and valid measure of achievement. Once the tipping point is
reached between teaching-centered and learning-centered designs, the CMS must
either radically alter or simply become an eportfolio system.
The short answer to the person's question in the webinar is "probably not
right now on most campuses." The long answer is, "but probably
not too far in the future."
It is always hard to predict change in how people use technologies -- we have
learned that such predictions have a batting average below .100. But,
looking at trends in education, yes, eportfolios have a very promising future
an probably traditional CMS's don't. The next generation CMS is the