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Can ePortfolio Replace CMS?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013

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 application.

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 afterwards.

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 eportfolio.

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