The Role of Institutions in Creating Student-Focused Virtual Learning Spaces with ePortfolio Systems

The Role of Institutions in Creating Student-Focused Virtual Learning Spaces with ePortfolio Systems

Eva Heinrich (Massey University, New Zealand) and Yuliya Bozhko (Massey University, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-114-0.ch008
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In this chapter, we explore the currently dominant virtual learning spaces employed in institutions of higher education and contrast them with the virtual social spaces provided by Web 2.0 tools. Guided by the increasing focus on lifelong learning skills in the world of work and in higher education, we identify the gap that exists between institutional and social virtual spaces. We argue for filling this gap by providing access to institutional e-Portfolio systems to students in higher education, giving students an institutionally supported student-focused virtual learning space. By examining the perspectives of stakeholders involved in higher education, we identify challenges inherent in the adoption of institutional e-Portfolio systems and make recommendations for overcoming these based on practical experience and research findings.
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To develop our arguments we need to explore a number of core areas and their relationship with each other. Figure 1 displays these core areas and provides key questions that are indicative of the issues we examine in the chapter in relation to creating student-focused virtual learning spaces with ePortfolio systems.

Figure 1.

Core areas and key questions for deliberation in this chapter


Web 2.0 Social Networking Tools

Outside the higher education sector, in the open Internet domain, Web 2.0 social networking tools have been firmly established and tools are available for the sharing of images, photos and video clips. Individuals can communicate with others in synchronous and asynchronous forms, and in access-protected as well as open formats. Individuals can consume and contribute information on a wide range of topics. Web 2.0 is characterised by open access availability to anyone who has an Internet connection and the level of participation is determined by the individual. This freedom also means that the individual should act in responsible ways in the Web 2.0 space.

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