Abstract (2009): Developing a taxonomy for electronic portfolios

Baumgartner, Peter. 2009. “Developing a Taxonomy for Electronic Portfolios.” In Potential of E-portfolios in Higher Education, edited by Peter Baumgartner, Sabine Zauchner, and Reinhard Bauer, 13–44. Innsbruck; Piscataway, N.J.: Studienverlag ; Distributed by Transaction Publishers.

Ongoing educational discussions on e-portfolios assume that the appropriate use of this relatively new software tool can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of learning. A large and growing body of literature examines the various features of the software and the different kinds of application scenarios that exist for instruction and education.

Given this explosion of interest, it should be helpful to not only discuss the different use cases and software features, but to also lay some kind of foundation: What exactly are the different characteristics of this type of software, how do they relate to each other and how they can be incorporated into a holistic view of educational scenarios?

The following article suggests and defines a set of specified features. These properties are grouped together according to different prototypes of e-portfolios. The main objective of this article is not only to present these kinds of substantiated characteristics as results, and therefore to account for a more accurate language use and hopefully a better understanding of how to successfully integrate this software tool into (higher) education, but to also show the analytic process of this developing enterprise. A better understanding of the different software functionalities and their relation to each other will help all of us, software developers and educationalists alike, to design tools and scenarios that are didactically more appropriate. Not every technical property or set of characteristics makes sense from a specified pedagogical point of view or is useful in every didactical setting; some can even impair the quality of learning. And vice versa: A tidy and consistent classification should be useful in choosing software which fits best the intended didactical purpose. 


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