Newsflash March 2012

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ePIC 2012 Newsflash

March 2012


ePIC 2012
London 9-10-11 July 2012



21st Century Identities

    ePIC 2012 update

    • Extension of the call for contributions

    • Open Badges track

    • Gillie Bolton keynote address

    • Social Network


    • Supporting Reflection with Mobile Devices - Helen Barrett

    • ePortfolio goes University of Teacher Education Vienna –  A two-year research project with Mahara

    • IPLAN - CAPLA’s International Prior Learning Assessment Network

    • New IJEP Issue


    Partner Events


    21st Century Identities


    We are living a paradoxical injunction: create you identity, market yourself, be your own brand, feel free to explore multiple identities; yet the traces of our experiments remain the property of 'free' services provided by Facebook, Twitter and Google. As MetaFilter user blue_beetle observed (source): "if you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold." While this might be an over-generalising statement, it certainly applies to a large number of  so-called ‘free’ (and even paying!) Internet services. You are free to use our services as long as they produce enough valuable marketing data. You believe that you are the customer? We know that you are the product we monetise.

    “I once described the computer as a second self, a mirror of mind. Now the metaphor no longer goes far enough. Our new devices provide space for the emergence of a new state of the self, itself, split between the screen and the physical real, wired into existence through technology*.” For Professor Sherry Turkle, the new state of the self, itself, captures the fact that the connected life encourages us to treat those we meet online as objects: “it is as though we [people, Ed.] have become [the computer, Ed.] killer app.”

    These reflections do not come from a Luddite, but from the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. For Sherry Turkle, the very technologies that are supposed to expand virtual connectivity are also creating the conditions for increased real isolation and loss of intimacy. We expect more from technology and less from each other: "With sociable robots, we imagine objects as people. Online, we invent ways of being with people that turn them into something close to objects."

    The encounter* with a reporter from Scientific American to talk about robots and our future shed a worrying light on a certain vision of humanity. The reporter accused Sherry Turkle of bigotry because she had objected to the mating and marriage of people to robots: "He accused me of species chauvinism: Wasn’t I withholding from robots their right to 'realness'?"

    To follow the logic of the Scientific American's reporter, if robots should have 'rights' so should  robots with special needs like computers (robots with reduced mobility) or cars (intellectually challenged robots). The right to 'realness' of robots would symmetrically place humanity at the level of objects. Once reified, the human species could eventually become the efficient interface of robots and computers with the 'real' world, repeating on an unprecedented scale the story of The Servant (a Joseph Losey's movie ) where the master (James Fox) and the servant (Dirk Bogard) exchange roles.

    We might not have to wait for the coming of the Robots to witness a humanity reduced to a status of objects. One of the characteristics of humanity is the need (and right) for privacy and intimacy (which rests on mutual and unconditional trust). Without privacy, no real intimacy is possible. Both are under attack: “You have zero privacy anyway; get over it,” said Scott McNealy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems in 1999; "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," explained Eric Schmidt, Google CEO ten years later. Of course, as businesses operate in a world where privacy is still valued (for how long?) they implement so called privacy protection policies. But those policies are even less effective to protect our data, than a rabbit hole on the opening day of the hunting season is to protect a hare: it's too small, and even if it were large enough, they are waiting for you at the exit 24/24, 7/7... Where is the space for intimacy as our contracted private spaces are under the permanent scrutiny of human 'friends', computer 'bots' search engines, log files, etc.? The ersatz of privacy granted by Google and Facebook do not leave any space for true intimacy.

    And, as if all this was not enough, there are now employers asking prospective employees for access to their Facebook or other online accounts as part of the job application process (source). Why should such a request be treated any differently than asking for the keys to our home or safety deposit boxes? Ultimately, is frisking one's identity through Facebook or Google that different from peering through the windows of one's home?

    The creation and exploration of our identities require the possibility of intimacy. Without intimacy our identities are at risk of being under the scrutiny of the panopticon of hyper-connectivity, hence destroyed. And it would be illusory to believe that intimacy could remain possible in the 'real' world with an intimacy-less 'virtual' one: we are at the frontier of those two worlds, busily coding our actions and thoughts for Google and Facebook to monetise them. If marketers ever dreamt the possibility of wire-tapping our conversations, Twitter has made that dream true. If marketers ever dreamt the possibility to place cameras in our homes and bedrooms, Google and Facebook have made that dream true. While wire-tapping telephone conversations is still illegal (for how long?) we have been made to believe that it is acceptable when Google, Facebook and Twitter scan our conversations...

    To what extent does the Internet and hyper-connectivity contribute, or hinder, our ability to be the master of the construction and exploration of our identities? Should the mastery of the tools, competencies and methods for identity construction be included in the curriculum of initial and continuing education? If yes, how? What legislations and regulations (e.g. breaking Facebook into many independent ‘Babyfaces’, as Bell did in the 80s)? What technologies could contribute, beyond privacy, to true intimacy? How can we involve all citizens in the definition of 21st century identities?


    We look forward to your contributions!

    Serge Ravet

    Join us at ePIC 2012, 9-10-11 July, London

    * S. Turkle“ –Why we Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other”, 2011. See also S. Turkle Life on Screen –Identity in the Age of Internet”, 1995


    London, 9-10-11
    July 2012

    ePIC 2012 Call for Contributions Extended





    International Journal of ePortfolioeLearningEuropathe Kantara Initiative

    The call for contributions has been extended and a first draft of the programme will be published this week with the first submission accepted.

    New calendar:

    • 21 May 2012 –  Deadline for the submission of abstracts

    • 11 June 2012 – Deadline for the submission of long/short papers
    • 9-10-11 July 2012 – Conference
    • 30 August 2012 – Deadline for the submission of final versions
    • 15 September 2012 – Publication of the proceedings

    For a complete view of the call:

    Open Badges Track at ePIC 2012

    We are preparing the programme of the Open Badges track that should comprise:

    • Keynote address from a representative of the Mozilla Foundation.
    • Tutorial / workshop with the early developers of Open Badges implementation.
    • Plugfest of Open Badges implementation in ePortfolio platforms.
    • Contribution to the definition of a roadmap (including the application to Europass).

    More details in the next newsletter. Stay tuned!

    Keynote speaker: Gillie Bolton

    Dr Gillie Bolton will deliver a keynote address at ePIC 2012 on Tuesday 10 July 2012. She will explore the benefits of reflective writing to support a range of activities, from reflective practice to personal development and therapy.

    Dr Gillie Bolton began seriously researching about writing after a medical professor colleague thought it was her students' relationship with her, not the writing, which made a difference to them. A determination to prove him wrong led to carefully detailed observation and research.   In all personal and professional development processes (and therapy and counselling) the personal relationship is key.  But with writing, the primary personal relationship is with the self as first reader: the self becomes the vital interlocutor.

    With Write Yourself, Dr Gillie Bolton provides a complete introduction to facilitating creative writing for therapy or personal development, both with individuals and groups.

    Write Yourself is a powerful handbook that is the culmination of Gillie Bolton’s sustained scholarship and wisdom focusing on therapeutic creative writing for reflective self-insight. Her ideas and practical knowledge provide uplifting support for writing group facilitators, as well as individuals, in exploring practical approaches to expressive writing. This work is an important and lasting contribution to the field.’
    - John D. Engel, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine

    Social Networking

    • Twitter: please use hashcode #epforall. All tweets from the conference organisers will be published under the account @epforall.
    • Facebook: please join the group epforall



    Supporting Reflection with Mobile Devices - Helen Barrett


    Helen Barrett recently published the first draft of a poster session relative to supporting reflection with mobile devices. The Reflection Cycle, is based on a theory of Self-Regulated Learning that was the underlying theory of the ePearl ePortfolio system developed at Concordia University. She has adapted the process to include suggestions for mobile apps with supporting websites, or those that include the ability to upload artifacts to Dropbox, GoogleDocs, YouTube, etc. more...



    ePortfolio goes University of Teacher Education Vienna –  A two-year research project with Mahara


    Thomas Strasser & Bence Lukács,

    Since the winter term 2010/11, the University of Teacher Education Vienna  has been using Mahara as a development, presentation and reflection portfolio. Due to its pedagogical versatility and user-friendliness, Mahara has become a vital component for students in order to develop various skills relevant for their future profession as teachers.

    In autumn 2011, Thomas Strasser initiated the official research project:

    The role of competency-based learning within the context of the ePortfolio software Mahara at practical student teacher courses at University of Teacher Education Vienna. Technical steeplechase or methodological perspective?

    The project team consists of various professors and students. An official collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Vienna ( was initiated in order to exchange ideas and expertise concerning the use of Mahara on a bilateral level.

    The two-year research project has the following scientific focal points:

    • General reception of Mahara’s technical components among staff and students.
    • Didactical versatility of Mahara
    • Development of various competencies, e.g. self-organized learning,  within the context of Mahara
    • Development of a dissemination strategy, i.e. presentation of scientific research results, production of manuals, etc., aimed at the secondary and tertiary education levels.

    The thematic focal point at the beginning of the project (semester 1) is on the technical implementation procedures with Mahara in practical student teacher courses. The student teachers and their staff will undergo an enquiry about the basic reception regarding the use of Mahara. Seen from a methodological point of view, the project team designed a questionnaire implying considerations/questions like: general, subjective reception of Mahara’s user-friendliness (i.e. usability) , quality of technical in-house support, etc. After the analysis of the empirical data with the data collected, the project team will publish a practical handbook (cf. Mahara newsletter December 2011,
    One of the main tasks of the 1st semester for the research team includes creating a specific Mahara handbook/manual for student teachers. The idea of the handbook is to help student teachers at the University of Teacher Education Vienna to efficiently work with Mahara.

    Chapters included:

    • Why are we using an e-Portfolio?
    • basic outline of Mahara
    • suggestions for a Mahara-structure:
      • a profile page
      • a gazette page (cf. Murphey, 2011)
      • and a page for personal reflections (practical training)

    The handbook will include  screenshots and step by step explanations for the complete setup of the new e-Portfolio.
    The students’ main profiles will be made public (presentation portfolio) including an introduction/cover letter, list of skills and competencies and contact information.

    Apart from the profile page, the Gazette will act as a development portfolio and the digital folder page will be the place to upload specific reflective tasks (i.e. reflective portfolio).

    The Gazette features:

    • thought a day (reflecting on practical training or general studies)
    • a link a day (sharing interesting and useful subject-related links with colleagues)
    • useful material (student teachers will be able to share their materials)
    • plans/milestones

    The reflection or digital folder page will make it easier for the students and their tutors to reflect on their practical training (tasks, reflections). All reflections will be uploaded onto the same page. At the end of their studies, the student teachers will have all their reflections in one place including the feedback of their tutors/professors.

    Dr. Thomas Strasser
    University of Teacher Education Vienna

    Bence Lukács
    Student University of Teacher Education Vienna


    IPLAN - CAPLA’s International Prior Learning Assessment Network

    The Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) is Canada’s only non-profit membership organization for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Formed in 1994, CAPLA’s members (individuals, organizations, groups) come from across Canada and abroad.

    In 2006, as international exchanges and interest in sharing expertise increased, CAPLA formed the International Prior Learning Assessment Network (IPLAN) as a virtual network of RPL practitioners, policy makers and administrators. IPLAN was born from a desire to share and discuss ideas, experience, resources and good practice through a global network. As online discussion groups and resource listings increased as a basis for sharing, IPLAN identified its objectives as:

    • Supporting an international network of educators, government, professional associations and agencies, human resource practitioners, employers and career counselors (all essentially RPL practitioners) to ensure that PLAR/RPL is viewed as a key component of adult learning
    • Identifying and openly sharing existing and emerging practices, strategies and resources
    • Sharing principles of good practice in PLAR/RPL.

    IPLAN is committed to building a strong virtual network of committed individuals to ensure that PLAR/RPL is viewed internationally as a key component of adult and lifelong learning by demonstrating its application to personal development, education, community health and well-being, and economic development related to employability.  Through IPLAN members’ individual commitment to this mission, there will be benefits for individuals and society related to PLAR/RPL and adult and lifelong learning in each country and worldwide. This will be accomplished through strong working relationships between individual members, partner organizations and countries.

    IPLAN Exchanges

    IPLAN has provided presentations, and exchange of expertise and resources through both in-person events at CAPLA conferences, and online webcasts.

    At past CAPLA conferences in Canada there have been international panels broadcast in real time, allowing participation worldwide to view the presentations and ask questions. The next CAPLA conference is planned for October 21-23, 2012, in Halifax, Nova Scotia where possible international topics such as the soon-to-be-released UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Guidelines on implementing RPL will be explored.

    It is in the area of webcasts that IPLAN sees future emphasis and greatest potential for sharing. To date there have been successful webcast exchanges between Canadian and Australian RPL practitioners, and between Canadian and Scottish RPL practitioners.  We are hoping to have some international webinars in the months leading up to CAPLA’s international Recognizing Learning conference, to which all our international partners are invited.

    Feedback from RPL practitioners around the world has noted the following topics as being of interest for future webcasts and discussions:

    1. Online recognition possibilities, and strategies for remote assessment
    2. Encouraging greater participation in RPL by higher education
    3. Mentorship and assessor competency
    4. RPL and related research of value to practitioners and policy makers
    5. Cost of RPL to individuals/employers
    6. Adapting methods of assessment of non-English speaking clients in English speaking countries
    7. Group assessment/recognition, and connection to the workplace
    8. Risks and legal liability for organizations and assessors related to RPL and regulated professions

    To indicate your interest in joining IPLAN, or sharing resources and good practices, contact

    IPLAN en français

    Des intervenants francophones planifient également la tenue d’un webinaire international sur les enjeux de la reconnaissance des acquis et des compétences. Faites-nous connaître votre intérêt à participer à son organisation, en communiquant avec nous à


    New Issue of the International Journal of ePortfolio (IJeP)

    International Journal of ePortfolio

    The second issue of the International Journal of ePortfolio (IJeP), a double-blind, peer-reviewed, open access journal, is now available.

    The following articles comprise Volume 2, Number 1 of IJeP:

    Instructional Articles

    Preparedness Portfolios and Portfolio Studios
    Jennifer Turns, University of Washington
    Brook Sattler, University of Washington
    Matt Eliot, Central Queensland University
    Deborah Kilgore, University of Washington
    Kate Mobrand, University of Washington

    Electronic Portfolios for Distance Learning: A Case from a Nursing Clinical Course
    Jayne Josephsen, Boise State University

    Understanding Students’ Experiences of e-PDP and the Factors that Shape their Attitudes
    Alfredo Gaitán, University of Bedfordshire

    From the Reflective ePractitioner: A Pilot Model of Teacher Preparation Employing ePortfolio
    Judith Cross, Randwick TAFE NSW Sydney Institute

    Assessment Articles

    Using the e-Portfolio to Document and Evaluate Growth in Reflective Practice: The Development and Application of a Conceptual Framework
    Wesley Pitts, Lehman College, CUNY
    Rachel Ruggirello, Washington University in St. Louis

    Analysis of a Rubric for Assessing Depth of Classroom Reflections
    Dev K. Dalal, Bowling Green State University
    Milton D. Hakel, Bowling Green State University
    Michael T. Sliter, Bowling Green State University
    Sarah R. Kirkendall, Bowling Green State University

    Technology, Policy, and Management Article

    Implementing ePortfolios for the Assessment of General Education Competencies
    Gail Ring, Clemson University
    Barbara Ramirez, Clemson University

    Self-Representation and Student Identity: A Case Study of International Student Users of Sakai
    Evan Snider, Virginia Tech
    Alex McCarthy, Virginia Tech

    Professional Development Article

    On the Right Track: Using ePortfolios as Tenure Files
    Erica Swenson Danowitz, Delaware County Community College

    Book Review

    The Quest for Expertise: A Review of Documenting Learning with ePortfolios: A Guide for College Instructors
    Joan Monahan Watson, Virginia Tech


    Europortfolio: Call for a European Consortium


    Despite success recorded in the development of ePortfolio initiatives in Europe and beyond, the growth of ePortfolio is still extremely patchy across institutions, regions and sectors. This is the consequence of a lack of leadership resulting in the fragmentation of initiatives, information, technologies and actors.

    An initial summary of the proposal is accessible at If you are interested to join as a partner or associated partner, you are invited to provide details using an online form accessible at: Responses will be used to update the Summary and to invite partners to join as Partner or Associate Partner.

    We are looking forward to hearing from you.


    Partner News & Events

    CAPLA, October 21-23, 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    Please join the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel for the international Recognizing Learning conference on October 21-23, 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


    AAEEBL, 16 – 19 July 2012, Boston

    The AAEEBL annual Conference, ePortfolios as a Catalyst for Connections: Celebrating the Curious, Creative and Capable Learner

    For the third year, AAEEBL members and eportfolio practitioners from around the world will gather at the Seaport World Trade Center on stunning Boston Harbor for the AAEEBL Annual Conference. Once again, AAEEBL is co-locating with Campus Technology, and attendees will be welcome to attend either AAEEBL or CT sessions.

    Registration is now live!

    ePortfolios Australia Conference 2012 (EAC2012) 27-28 September

    The ePortfolios Australia Conference 2012 Organising Committee are pleased to announce that ePortfolios Australia Conference 2012 (EAC2012) will be held at Australian Catholic University in North Sydney on 27-28, September.



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