The Emergence of Cloud Portfolio in Higher Education

The Emergence of Cloud Portfolio in Higher Education

Pooja Gupta
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9924-3.ch003
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Educating the digitally literate generation is a privilege and a challenge because this generation is exposed to enormous proliferation of affordable computers, Internet and digital education content. With the advancements in technology, there is a definite improvement in learning methods; similarly performance assessment, career preparation and credential documentation should also be driven by technology. An e-portfolio is a tool for teaching, learning and assessment. The purpose of the e-portfolio is to highlight the student's best work. Current e-portfolio systems pose problems of scalability and sustainability, as they provide limited user storage space in a centralized server. With the rapid use of multimedia, there is a drastic increase in storage load imposed by any user on the e-portfolio system. Cloud computing can provide e-portfolio service that can be delivered to a higher education community. An e-portfolio service provided by cloud computing (c-portfolio) can be accessed from a standalone system. The c-portfolio can also be accessed from local servers of an educational institute, or from a third-party service provider that is accessed via the Internet. Such cloud computing services allow users to share their c-portfolios with anyone, anywhere and at anytime. This chapter defines and categorizes c-portfolio, addresses issues and challenges faced by c-portfolio's implementation in higher education.
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A portfolio is a valuable record of a student’s academic life. The record may include items such as assessments, evaluations, assignments and classroom projects. Portfolios have long been used in education to represent a student's or teacher best work. The earlier portfolio was used by students in disciplines such as art and architecture as a means of collating evidence of achievements (Harun & Cetinkaya, 2007). But today, accordion folders are being replaced by “e-portfolios” - engaging the electronic medium to showcase the user's best work put together with software and services. Paulson et al. (1991) defines a portfolio as a meaningful collection of student work that highlights progress and/or mastery guided by standards and includes evidence of student self reflection. Buzzetto-More (2006) points that electronic portfolios provide an efficient way to document student progress and encourage the improvement and motivate involvement in learning. An e-portfolio can be defined as a digitized collection of artifacts including demonstration, resources and accomplishments that represent an individual, group, community, and organization.

Portfolios are critical for managing each student’s academic progress, and they can also play an important role in managing the performance and progress of an entire education system. E-portfolios provide significant advantages over paper-based alternatives. One of the reasons is their accessibility. End users (learners, educators, parents and administrators) can access e-portfolios from computers, cell phones or other devices. E-portfolios can be accessed by teachers to issue assignments, and by students to access assignments. Buzzetto-More (2006) defines portfolios as an effective way of alternative assessment that encourages students and educators to examine skills that may not be otherwise accessed using traditional means such as higher order thinking, communications, and collaborative abilities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cloud Computing: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

Interoperability: Interoperability is the ability of a system or a product to work with other systems or products without special effort on the part of the customer.

ICT: ICT Information and communications technology is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications.

Web 2.0: Web 2.0 describes World Wide Web sites that emphasize user-generated content, usability, and interoperability. The term was popularized by Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty at the O'Reilly MediaWeb 2.0 Conference in late 2004.

Digital Equity: Equal access and opportunity to digital tools, resources, and services to increase digital knowledge, awareness, and skills.

Data Transportability: Ability to move data among different application programs, computing environments or cloud services.

Student Artifact: Artifacts used in e-portfolios are digital evidence of progress, experience, achievements, and goals over time. In other words, artifacts are examples of student’s work. This might include electronic documents, video, audio, and images.

e-Portfolio: An electronic portfolio (also known as eportfolio, digital portfolio, or online portfolio) is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user, usually on the Web.

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