Web 2.0 Tools for E-Portfolios

There are two components of an e-portfolio: a Working Portfolio and one or more Presentation Portfolios.
The page at this link provides examples & "how-to's" using a variety of Web 2.0 tools to create Presentation Portfolios.
The page below provides options for online storage of the artifacts that make up the repository of a Working Portfolio.
Web 2.0 Tools Workshop Outline

Working Portfolio

The Collection or Digital Archive
Repository of Artifacts
Personal Information
Reflective Journal (eDOL)*

  • Portfolio as Process
    • Organization: Chronological – *eDOL (Electronic Documentation of Learning – U. of Calgary) Documenting growth over time for both internal and external audiences
    • Primary Purpose: Learning or Reflection
    • Reflection: Immediate (focus on artifact or learning experience)

Presentation Portfolio(s)

The “Story” or Narrative
Multiple Views (public/private)
Varied Audiences (varied permissions)
Varied Purposes

  • Portfolio as Product
    • Organization: Thematic – Electronic Portfolio documenting achievement of Standards, Goals or Learning Outcomes for primarily external audiences
    • Primary Purpose: Accountability or Showcase
    • Reflection: Retrospective (focus on achievement or thematic organization)

Options for Online Storage of Digital Archive (below)

This page explores options for storing a variety of media files for online portfolios. Tools like GoogleDocs and Zoho can be used to store standard Office-type documents. There is a need to store audio, video, and non-office types of files (like PDF files). There are services that specialize in audio, others that specialize in video. There are also many services for storing any type of artifacts in online file storage services.

Adding Audio and Video to Web 2.0 PortfoliosOnline File Storage: Digital Archive for Life

Source: ePortfolios for Learning blog entries on Digital Archive for Life by Dr,. Helen Barrett


Adding Audio and Video to Web 2.0 Portfolios

Option 1: Record Audio directly into a website

Requires a microphone connected to a computer: odeo.com/tour/record
This website will store audio and give a URL that can be inserted into a hyperlink. The file can also be downloaded as an MP3 audio file.

Option 2: Record Audio with MP3 player or mobile phone

Create an audio file with your MP3 player or your cell phone.Upload your files to an online web space that will provide a URL, so that you can link or embed your link (see examples of Online File Storage below). Here are two examples of instructions to students for uploading audio files:

zshare.com - (see instructions created by Erin Barrett for her ESL students in Hungary - 233K)
supload.com - (see instructions created by Erin Barrett for her ESL students in Hungary - 256K)

Option 3: Save video files to video sharing site, such as Google Video, YouTube, TeacherTube or SchoolTube

Ten Video Sharing Services Compared

Embed the link to the file (from any of these options) at the appropriate place in your online portfolio


Online File Storage: Digital Archive for Life

Most ePortfolio systems in education include all components in a single system, often on an institution's server. What happens to the portfolio and all of the documents when the learner leaves the institution?

In this diagram, a learner owns their own digital archive of their work, and draws from this archive for use in institutional portfolios, or for other purposes (as shown in the diagram at the top of this page).

Source: Online Personal Learning Environments: Structuring Electronic Portfolios for Lifelong and Life Wide Learning

I'm beginning a review of online file storage, building on my prior blog entry. I'm looking for online space to store artifacts for an electronic portfolio, not a standard file backup service. I found the following resources that either listed or reviewed the different services:

Online video about online storage

Based on this work and a chart that I downloaded, from an article called The Online Storage Gang, I am exploring the following services. I pulled together a couple of PDF files and one MP3 file to upload as a test of the system. Here are my requirements: free storage of at least 1 GB of any type of data (including audio files) and able to share files in two ways (email with link to a file and permanent URI that can be added as a link to a web page). I haven't found a system yet that provides the ease of copying a web address, as provided by YouTube for videos and Picasa for images.

Link Comments (March 30, 2008)
Free Space
Email?
URI?
Box.net (I've had an account for more than a year, but haven't really used the service.) Maximum file size 10 MB (would not accept the MP3 file of my 12 minute 11.4 MB presentation) without an account upgrade. I had to edit the file down to less than 10 MB. Even then, it hung up in the middle of uploading the 9.9 MB MP3 file, and I was never able to add it to my account. Requires an upgraded account to create a permanent URI. 1 GB YES NO
Omnidrive (When I tried to sign up for an account, I received the following message: We have currently reached server capacity and there are no more accounts available during the beta period. We expect to launch Omnidrive 1.0 during April, 2008.) That's too bad. Based on the features and description, it looks the most promising. (website says YES to both Email and URI, but I could not test the interface) 1 GB ? ?

MediaMax

updated to "The Linkup" in April 2008

Service discontinued in August 2008

(I read bad reviews, so I signed up with some reservations, but they seem to have fixed their problems.) I was able to upload files, either individually or as a batch. I uploaded an MP3 file, but it was too large to be downloaded without an account upgrade. It accepted the smaller file. After I transferred the files into a Hosted Folder, it showed the URL to link to each file. Files can also be shared by email. This was the most trouble-free and intuitive of the sites that I tried to date. (here are the links)

In July 2008, I received an email that indicated that MediaMax / The Linkup is closingon Friday, August 8 at 5:00 pm PDT.

Here is a screenshot of the list of Shared files with URLs:

25 GB YES YES
esnips.com A very easy site to set up. I was able to upload my PDF files, but it rejected the MP3 file that I created, with the statement "Publish failed Suspected copyright infringement - upload denied." That won't work if students want to upload audio samples that they create. 5 GB YES NO
Adrive Very easy to set up and upload both PDF and MP3 files. No file size limit. A single click shares the file, and the list of shared files includes the URI. However, clicking on the link goes to a web page to download the file. 50 GB YES NO
Windows Live SkyDrive Requires MSN account to set up. 50 MB file size limit. Five files can be uploaded at a time, and the list of shared flied includes both a link or the code to embed a link to the file. However, clicking on the link goes to a web page where the file can be downloaded. Below is what appears when individual documents are selected:
5 GB YES YES?
Link Comments (April 20, 2008)
Free Space
Email?
URI?
ElephantDrive Very easy to set up and upload both PDF and MP3 file. 50 MB file limit size in free service. There is both a web-based option to upload files, as well as a small piece of client software that resides on your computer. Folders can be created in the online system to organize files. The files can be shared by email, but do not appear to have individual URIs to be able send to another email. The client software is very intuitive, and allows selecting specific files that can be uploaded from the user's entire hard drive. I also designated a folder to place files for upload, which the software did automatically. 1 GB YES NO
DropBoks Very simple process to set up an account, and upload multiple files at one time. You can set up folders and drag/drop files between folders within a very simple interface. 50 MB file size limit in free service. As of April 2008, there was no sharing capability, although they say that this feature is under development. This is a fairly new site, with a very simple interface, but would not work for ePortfolios untill the sharing is implemented. 1 GB NO NO
4shared.com Very simple process to set up an account. File can be selected for upload individually, or "Multiupload" can be selected (maximum 100 MB per file). Set up folders and share contents of folder with single URL for entire folder, (mine is eportfolios.4shared.com) and each file in the folder may also have a unique URI, as well as a brief description. A password can also be required for each folder. The audio files can be played with a built-in audio player and the interface also provides a preview of PDF files. This is the best interface that I have tried so far, and provides the most flexibility for ePortfolio artifact storage, at least on a short term basis. The free service holds 5 GB of files, and includes advertising on shared pages. Free accounts expire 30 days after last login, so users need to continue to access the accounts to keep them active.
5 GB
YES
YES
bluestring.com A service of AOL (which uses AIM screen names) this service holds various media files, but would not allow me to upload PDFs. One feature that is unique is the ability to construct "My Creations" by combining audio, video and images along a timeline. While this service doesn't meet all of my requirements for online storage of portfolio artifacts, it fits under the category of online digital story construction tools! The fact that the service is part of AOL also makes it a viable tool to use. The Help page provide a good overview of the process.
?
?
?
openomy.com A very simple process to set up an account. Very straightforward process to upload files. Once uploaded, these files can be shared, with a URI immediately available with the click of a single button. No folders can be created; this system relies on tags to organize the files. Files can be displayed by tag or searched by words in the file name. There is no comprehensive list of uploaded files... only through the assigned tags, so care needs to be used when uploading files. Other than that limitation, this system provides a simple interface and easy creating of a "permalink" to the file. Users can be added to the account, and these users can be designated as "administrators" of the account. Here are Permalinks to the files that I uploaded:
1 GB
NO
YES
allmydata.com

A very simple process to set up an account. Files are uploaded through Webdrive view as well as client software that can be downloaded. I found it confusing at first to know where my files were being uploaded, and had to upload the files a second time to get them into the Shared folder. This system allows creating folders and moving files between sub-folders.

1 GB
YES
YES

When files are selected to share (as show above in the Webdrive view), the URL for the shared file appears in a pop-up window as shown at the right. Each URL can be copied to use as shown (to IM, MySpace, your blog, Facebook, or email!) or an ePortfolio! This capability, with the ability to easily copy the URL, or email the links as shown in the lower part of the window, makes this a very user-friendly interface.

hp upline HP has entered the online storage space. When I tried to sign up for the 1 GB of free space, I got the message that the service is temporarily unavailable. It has been temporarily suspended, and is a service only available in the U.S. Free accounts are good for only one year.
1 GB
?
?
mozy home free After signing up for an account (requires email verification) there is a piece of software to download (a version for Windows (Vista, XP, 2000) and Mac OS 10.4+). To quote the installation information, "Mozy is an online backup service.... Mozy is not a file sharing or archiving service. Other people will not be able to download your files." This service automates the synchronization of files between different computer platforms. For my purposes of storing artifacts for online portfolios, this system would not work.
2 GB
NO
NO
getdropbox The video on the website looks like a very innovative way to synchronize files between different computers and platforms. I signed up for the beta two weeks ago, but they still have not sent me a password to try out the system. So, I am reserving judgment until I can try out their beta version.
2 GB
YES
YES
scribd This site considers itself the "youTube" of documents. I could upload my PDF files, or Adobe PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pps), Microsoft Excel (.xls), OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw), OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi), OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc), All OpenDocument formats, StarOffice Documents, Plain text (.txt), Rich text format (.rtf). It does NOT accept audio or video files. That may be why they don't have a limit on storage space. The image below shows what appears after a file is published. Notice the social bookmarking and different ways to share these files, including email in the "Share This Upload" window.
unlimited
YES
YES
idrive While it was easy to sign up for an account, when I had to download the client application, it was obvious that this was a Windows-only service (even Microsoft's SkyDrive could be accessed with my Macintosh). I did not complete uploading the files from my Macintosh.
2 GB
?
?
divshare.com

This account was very easy to set up. Free accounts allow 200 MB maximum file size, and include ads. The Power Uploader (a drag-and-drop uploading tool) opens a window with access to the directory of your computer's hard drive, making it easy to find files and upload them. Passwords can be assigned to folders that can be created during the uploading process. When files are uploaded through the either the Power Uploader or the standard multi-file interface, the following message appears:


When the MORE OPTIONS button is pressed, the following window opens, which allows several ways to use the file, including embedding, link for downloading, embed in a forum or email.

When embedding an audio file into a web page or blog entry, the following play button shows:
Here are some instructions on how to embed an audio clip, saved in divShare, into a Blogger blog entry.

This system also has special integration with the iPhone, Facebook, WordPress blog and provides an API that lets web developers easily integrate DivShare storage and sharing services into other applications.

5 GB
YES
YES
Link Comments
Free Space
Email?
URI?

Conclusions

I think I have found a couple of sites that meet my requirements: I've used Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive to transfer files between platforms, but I am most impressed with the capabilities of allmydata.com and divshare.com. The MediaMax service is in the middle of migrating to a new name, TheLinkUp.com, and I received an email that told me they were not migrating files uploaded to its free accounts (and this services was discontinued in August 2008). I am anxiously waiting for the Google online storage tool to appear.


©2008, Helen C. Barrett, Ph.D. • Updated January 9, 2009