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My first formal* project, when starting work at the HEA UK Physical Sciences Centre, was to look at e-portfolios and how the Centre could usefully support their deployment in physical science (physics, chemistry and forensic science) departments in UK HE. One of the outcomes was a report, Supporting Student e-Portfolios, that sought to summarise current practice, give practical examples of use and offer advice to would-be users.

Several years have passed but aspects of e-portfolio practice appear to be very similar. There appears still to be a mixture of tools in use, including dedicated e-portfolio software and re-purposed generic tools, which echoes the variation in technology used by institutions for other purposes (e.g. email, VLE, voting systems). No ‘one tool to rule them all’ but was that ever likely?

My interests in e-portfolios have now moved to their role in supporting competency-based programmes, with pharmacy as my primary focus. I’m looking at available tools, standards, security, authentication etc. and how to make sound choices that support both students and staff.

I would be interested to know more from anyone who has experience in this area, positive or negative, about how they have made the choices they have made and, if they have any information yet, on how successful those choices were. I’ll be blogging my progress and will be happy to share what I find.

I’m aware that it’s possible to support competency-based programmes without using an e-portfolio, and I’d also be interested to hear from anyone who has chosen this path.

*My first informal project was building a ‘jargon buster’, primarily for higher education’s plethora of three letter acronyms.


  1. I don’t know much about e-portfolios, but I do know that we’re still in dire need of a jargon buster!

    • Says a lot doesn’t it! I thought it was just me at first but we ended up publishing that ‘crib sheet’. Can I list Eduspeak as a second language?

  2. Hi Tracey: I think Open Badges (and badge passports) should be on your radar as a more modular eP-like solution for tracking and recognizing learning from/to multiple contexts. Lots of activity in that arena at the moment and the ePIC conference is an increasingly good way to track it

    • Many thanks for the link. Interestingly, yes digital badges are something I’m looking at though in a general way for supporting many activities, for students and staff.

  3. Hi Tracey, We provide the Quals Direct ePortfolio solution, that has recently been rolled out across all Pharmacy departments with the NHS trusts in the North East of England and Carlisle. The platform is primarily used to measure competence and build a portfolio of evidence for learners completing QCF qualifications or apprenticeships, but we have also adapted it work with in-house professional courses with other sectors. I’ll pass this on to the person who implemented or ePortfolio in the pharmacy departments.

    • Thanks very much for this useful information.

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