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When is the implementation of an #ePortfolio and related practice achieved?

That's a very tough question to answer, it depends on how an organisation or project plans defines success. Having led the implementation at the University of Canberra since Jan 2011 from 800 accounts to over 12,000 I believe our own implementation is far from over, but it has reached a critical mass and the growth trend is unlikely to reverse. This for me is an important milestone and a measure of success. It takes a lot of effort, conversations and demonstrations to get this far. An important factor is the degree to which you can sign up early adopters, their examples will be a determiner of success, many people need to see what you are talking about.

Growth in practice

While presenting on the use and value of Mahara, Di, convener of the 2014 common first year unit, added that she had been invited by the Dean of Health to join their Mahara ePortfolio community (Health precinct). Health uses Mahara for discussions in forums, share documents, and create resources for staff. In return Di is going to show the Dean of Health the work her students are producing in her Creativity unit as well as what they are doing in the CFYU. There are many other examples of inter-faculty conversations sparked by the ePortfolio practice. This is significant, and although not the first I have heard of this, it shows that the ePortfolios have made a significant enough impact on the work people work that these outcomes are valuable enough to promote and share. A measure of success is when adopters of change become advocates.

Support is improving

Today there are many people at UC who are experts in ePortfolio practice and Mahara. When I offered to take up the role Leonard left open in 2011 I didn't have any other support, and so attend every conference and forum I could to come up to speed. Now a number of us can deliver ePortfolio/Mahara workshops. We talk about things like professional identity, linked-in, Mahara as a UC community environment. Another measure of success is when support requirements outpace the support you start with, and when your future support strategy is co-created with others in the organisation.

My changing role

My role over the last few years has consisted of the following, with prediction of how they will change:

  • Mahara administrator (less, as the Moodle admin becomes more familiar)
  • Bug/wishlist reporter (same, though I anticipate others at UC will join in the reporting role)
  • Strategy developer (same, my colleague Alan Arnold and I have largely done this together in the past. Strategies that incorporate ePortfolios are now appearing in many places and we continue to have input to many.)
  • Community member (broader ePortfolio community in Australia and beyond) (increasing)
  • Learning/curriculum Designer (increasing)
  • Support/helpdesk (email, phone, at-elbow, in-unit) (less, the level of knowledge in the UC community is growing all the time, lowering the demand on central support, while our online self help support also matures.)
  • Support: Development of self help resources: eg http://learnonline.canberra.edu.au/portfolio/view/view.php?id=2791
  • Salesperson/evangelist for ePortfolio practice (same, I like this role and will continue to advocate ePortfolio practice)

The context of a small university in a highly resource constrained environment resulted in me having to handle all these aspects, it would not have been possible without my colleagues Alan, Shad, and to all of my academic colleagues (especially the early adopters) who have been my extended team for this project.

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