An e-portfolio is a collection of information and digital objects that demonstrate your learning development, skills and competencies. Like you, your ePortfolio is unique and reflects your interests based around the structure of your learning and development at the University of Lincoln. By keeping your portfolio up to date you can easily find work you’ve done in the past, keep track of your aims while at university and beyond, and of course, use the data to build a CV which will help you applying for jobs.

Students and staff can now create their own e-portfolio by visiting http://portfolios.lincoln.ac.uk. (Thanks to Joss Winn for making the domain available)

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a series of entries here showing you how to set up your portfolio, how to make different views available to different users (for example, you might want different employers to see different versions of your CV), and how to export the data so you can take it with you when you leave.

For now, why not click on the link above and explore. You don’t need to register, because you can log in with your usual university username and password.

Portfolios.lincoln uses the open source Mahara portfolio tool which is still very much in development. We’re currently using the latest stable version (Mahara 1.1), but will evaluate new versions as they become available and upgrade when stable versions are published.

Now comes the acid test!

I’ve been banging on about the virtues of e-portfolios for some time, and now I find myself in a situation where I might need them because all of a sudden I am under threat of redundancy. That is a little bit scary, as realistically I’m not the sort of age where a new job is going to be easy to find. But there is little value in panicking. While I might hope for the best, I shall certainly prepare for the worst and that’s where the e-portfolio comes in. I’ve been reviewing the three e-portfolios I’ve been using, Pebble Pad, Mahara and Linkedin and trying to make the decision as to which would be the best to help in my present situation. They all have their virtues. Pebble Pad is great at linking claims to evidence, and producing nicely printable CVs (Some employers, amazingly enough still want those!) Mahara is nice, user friendly and free, but I do think it needs a bit of development work yet. Linked in is good because of the social network it offers, and actually the public profile is rather good. (Don’t like the adverts when you’re editing it though! Perhaps I should shell out for an upgrade!) You can see my public Mahara profile by clicking the green icon in the “Web 2.0 portfolio” on the left. The Linkedin profile is here: –

View Julian Beckton's profile on LinkedIn

In a way the portfolios are working as a sort of comfort blanket, because faced with a job application, it’s relatively easy to mine the portfolio for data to fill in the application. Of course you still have to tailor your application to the post being advertised, but I think the e-portfolio does take out some of the grunt work of applications. Well, as I say in the header, now is when the theory gets put to the test! I shall keep you posted.

The other side of preparing for the worst is of course working out what you can cut from the household budget. Now that really is a depressing exercise!