When we started the MSc course it was explained to us how we had to keep an eportfolio site to show learning over the course. I have a post about what an eportfolio is here.
In my degree course in UCD I had to keep a learning journal which reflected on different aspects of the course so this type of reflection was not new to me. However having to keep a blog as opposed to a journal was. This was a bit daunting at the time, even though I had used blog sites before but this was an official one that would be assessed.
Early on we were informed that DIT eportfolio platform was a system called Mahara, however previous years students had used other tools. One of these other tools was WordPress, I was familiar with WordPress as I had installed a couple of website already using this tool. However I did the course to learn so looked at other tools and assessed them to see if I could use one of them.
Other tools I looked at were Google sites, Yola and Winx. I saw examples of previous students and these were commonly used tools. After looking at the different tools I decided that it was hard enough getting my head around the course. Mahara was very clunky and did not allow a lot of creativity.
I have a hosting account with an provider already so decided to use a self hosted version of WordPress instead of using a free account with WordPress.com. During the initial few months of the course some other students were struggling with WordPress so I helped some with formating and themes as well as layout of the site. It became clear from early on that free version of WordPress.com sites were very restrictive, however you could pay for a licence and get a lot of those restrictions lifted.
Keeping the blog up to date was a chore at times and seeing the benefit was hard. However towards the end of the first year when we started looking at our research question and I was able to look back at previous modules and realised I had a lot of great information at my finger tips. I also did a little research over the summer break and made posts on the blog, this became very useful when I was preparing my paper as all the information i needed was there. Previously I had to look back on files and photocopies to find the paper I remembered reading six months previously, of course without the correct reference. I could search the eportfolio and there it was, the paper – the full reference and my annotation of what I got out of the article.
All in all keeping an eportfolio was very useful to me and I have advised other I know doing third level courses of the benefits and advised them to keep a blog site also. I have a good record of what was covered in the course, very helpful for my boss aswell as work covered the cost of the course. I have used information on the site at work also and constantly consult the site for information. I would definitely recommend anyone doing a course to keep such an eportfolio as a learning log.