Adventures into the Falmouth University digital ecosystem : Quest for the student online tool set …. featuring contributions from the Association of Learning Technologists [ALT] mailing list !!!

At UAL they have a pretty ‘fully featured’ set of organisational tools for blogging, online submission and an E portfolio system.

I say fully featured, that’s not to say necessarily robust or entirely fit for purpose but never the less there was a tool set.

At Falmouth we don’t seem to have any of these tools ‘in house’.

And so I find myself posing the question. Should We?

I mean the simple answer you would think would be yes? Right?

But I’m not so sure.

At least not with all of the above.

An online submission system… thats a yes… thats a no brainer I think. Submission requirements and Quality Assurances around submission mean that all Uni’s should have a robust approach to submitting and holding those submissions. There is an obvious organisational requirement for that…

But blogging and E portfolio might be a different fish kettle.

I posed this question to the Association of Learning Technologists [ALT] mailing list (which if you are an Ed Tech / Learning Tech specialist you should definitely be on… it provides an excellent digest of LT issues and discussions and the members enthusiasm to support one another and resolve issues and discuss best practice is second to none).

The ALT thread yielded some really interesting discussion and recommendations against my desired feature list :

1. Layout style and design customizable by the user (with a decent UI / UX)
2. Users can submit Image, Video, text. (Plus a blog feature would be good but not essential).
3. Pages can be made private or public.
4. Pages can be submitted securely for assessment (Formative and summative)(This is important… needs to meet the rigours of HE assessment criteria).
5. Submitted work is snapshotted / stored for moderation.
6. Students can continue to use the portfolio after they leave (not linked to University?)(Professional quality site)
7. Robust (both in terms of up time and UI / UX)
8. FREE!
I’m not so fused about integrations with Moodle (although it wouldn’t be a bad thing but I would be happy with a stand alone).
What I want is simple but elegant solution to give my students an ‘live’ online presence but which we can also use for academic assessment and development.


WordPress seemed like a strong candidate, with other votes for Mahara, Google sites and Evernote… (and our Ed TEch team here at FU are spinning up an organisational install of WP on the back of the thread… so thanks guys 🙂 however in the interim I have thought a bit further into the problem and have come to an alternative conclusion…

The problem is with the ‘in house’ approach here is the ‘portability’ of the solution.

As a student I don’t want to invest time and effort in a blog or a portfolio I can’t take with me using the same URLs I have built my ‘following / discussion group’ around.

Equally having an in house portfolio system means that I can’t interact with the wider professional creative world… like the opportunities afforded by Behance, square space or any of the other ‘global’ providers….

And so I have come to the conclusion that a better approach is to foster the use of and support ‘extra-curricular’ tools.. ones that our students can take forwards, not be left looking backwards at….

At the moment I’m quite excited by the idea of handling this through the Adobe CC route… particulalry as Adobe Portfolio has now been added to bolster Behance – and I’m trying to foster the better use of the CC integrated tool set here… if we are already using PS, AI, ID etc why not harness the integration of apps like CC capture, the Cloud storage, Libraries and the built in networking of the Adobe online provision?

I’m keen to get our grads set up online with portfolios for the grad show… we are selling our ability to produce ’employable’ graduates after all…

I’ll let you know how that works out….

Keep it Ed Tech 😛


2 thoughts on “Adventures into the Falmouth University digital ecosystem : Quest for the student online tool set …. featuring contributions from the Association of Learning Technologists [ALT] mailing list !!!

  1. I have used Pebblepad over the years, and in my thinking, the challenges with any tool is not the software itself, but the administrative logistics of getting folks passwords assigned. Staff and students pick up the tools relatively quickly. I’d also say that in the US there is a move toward blogging and students keeping open and professional portfolios online. @reclaimhosting for example 🙂


  2. My youngest just completed three excellent and very enjoyable years at Falmouth in Creative Advertising. He used for his creative work over all three wars and relied on it for work afterwards. It was his e-portfolio of choice along with others and supported by his tutors. He was vaguely aware of having used Moodle although didn’t know that was what it was called.
    It demonstrates the personal nature of portfolios, often related to the course and industry expectations. It also demonstrates the growing ability of students to separate their collaborative learning from their personal accomplishments that they choose to manage and account for the latter themselves.


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