Open Badges for skill recognition and recruiting

The ePortfolio and Identity Conference – ePIC 2014 – offered much room for presentations and discussions on open badges, as the extension of the title of the conference this year – “ePIC 2014, the 12th international ePortfolio, Open Badges and Identity Conference” – already indicated. Have a look at the Book of Abstracts to find out about authors and project in this area. One emerging topics seems to be the integration of ePortfolios and open badges and it was very interesting to get an insight into approaches, applications and projects in this new field.  One of the most inspiring projects/applications presented et ePIC2014 is Open Badge Factory –  an Open Badge cloud-based management system – keep an eye on this one! Another great project is the DPD project, which studied the 30 Open Badges initiatives from the 2012 DML Badges Competition – a great resource for all of us working with badges!

My presentation was dedicated to Open Badges fpr skill recognition and recruiting and provided some insights from the project “Credit Points”. You can find my slides on SlideShare (and below) – if you have an queries, don’t hesitate to contact me! You can also check my project “Beuth Badges” at Beuth University in Berlin.

Beuth Badges

E-Portfolio and Inclusion


The IQ Netzwerk (IQ Network/IQ = Integration through Qualification) is a national network of federal networks in Germany established with the aim of fostering integration of migrants by improving access to information and education, providing consultation on recognising prior education and new qualification programms, including vocational training and higher education.

Our project at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin titled “Credit Points” is part of the IQ Network Berlin. It is the first project in IQ Network Berlin addressing highly qualified migrants who already completed a higher education programme outside of Germany. The project is dedicated to designing and delivering a student-centered, technology-enhanced qualification and mentoring programme suited to the needs of each individual participant. The aim is to supplement prior qualifications acquired abroad with qualifications provided and recognised in higher education in Germany in order to enhance opportunities on the local labour market and thus foster socio-economic inclusion. As Beuth University is has a strong focus on engineering and technology-related fields, our programme especially addresses alumni with degrees in technical fields, who intend to work in Germany.

The key idea of “Credit Points” is to design and provide individual study programs based on prior qualifications, individual career plans and current family/work situation. As our programme is designed and delivered for the first time in 2013 and 2014, we will be able to cater for 20 personons in this pilot phase. The participants will study for two semesters (winter semester 2013/2014 and summer semester 2014) and obtain a certificate issued by the Beuth University.

We are currently looking for candidates who can apply to the programme via our online system – Online Survey. Alumni with a technical diploma acquired abroad can apply until  the end of June 2013. Who is eligible? Migrants who already completed a higher education programme outside of Germany, already have a degree in a technical field, such as engineering, architecture, urbal design, live in Germany and have a sufficient commad of the German language (C1 level/EQF).

Following the online application, we will invite selected candidates to individual consultations, which will take place at Beuth University. Based on these consultations, an individual study plan will be designed for each participant and will include a unique combination of modules with an individual overall workload which will enable students to aquire an individual amount of credit points (ECTS). The modules will encompass technology-enhanced, distance learning modules combined with face-to-face meetings, career-related mentoring, German and English language coaching and short in-company practice in one of the enterprises in the Berlin/Brandenburg region.

The participants will be documenting their achievements in their individual, digital portfolios – ePortfolios, which can be used as part of the job application after completing the programme. The ePortfolio will enable each student to present their special competencies aquired in the programme and present their unique expertise encompassing prior and current qualifications.

ePortfolio, gender, identity


The proceeding of the 10th international conference of ePortfolio and Identity – ePIC 2012- have been  recently published. It is great to see here my first research results on “Gender-specific ePortfolio practice and gender-sensitive ePortfolio design” published in the paper with the same title. In 2013 I am planning to conduct further research based on the conceptual framework presented in this paper.

In the proceedings you will find a wide range of publications looking at ePortfolio and Identity from diverse perspectives. the proceedings include special themes, such as ePortfolios in “Healthcare” and “Teacher Education” and  more general sections such as “Identity and Social Recognition”, “Assessment” and “ePortfolio Implementation”.

I especially enjoyed discussions and contributions related to identity and recognitions. My personal highlight of ePIC 2012 was Mozilla’s workshop on Open Badges which really inspired my research this year.

Here is the link to the proceedings of the ePIC Conference 2012.


ePortfolio Workshop in Berlin

This week I ran a two-day workshop on ePortfolios in higher education together with Birgitta Kinscher (a colleague from HTW and ePortfolio Initiative Berlin-Brandenburg). The workshop took place at the Berlin Center for Higher Education (BZHL) as part of the programme that BZHL offers to lecturers in higher education in Berlin.

It was the third workshop on ePortfolios that I have given and the largest in scope so far. However I must say even two intensive days are really not enough to cover the important topics. The workshop comprised of a mixture of different methods and tools, including:

  • Theory inputs focusing on self-directed learning, enhancing reflection and self-organisation
  • Recordings with practitioners from different fields which I have put into a public Mahara page (in German)
  • Group work on individual ideas and concepts that participants brought in
  • Practical work in Mahara including competence profiles and creating views
  • Best practice examples, including ePortfolio work by Klaus Himpsl-Gutermann
  • Exploring other tools for ePortfolios like Evernote, WordPress and wikis
  • Guest talk on using Evernote for ePortfolios by Marcel Dux
  • Spontaneous presentation on using wikis by Prof. Dr. Heike Wiesner
  • And some creative workshop techniques to inspire development of new solutions

It was great to watch the initial ePortfolio ideas that participants introduced at the beginning of the first day progress and take on new shapes. It was interesting facilitating this process and the results proved that it was the right decision to create a range of different examples, approaches and tools from which each participant could choose the most suitable to their individual needs.

We received much positive feedback, among others one participant mentioned that it was very valuable that we planned much time for group work and discussions. Yes, I definitely think time is important when it comes to transforming understanding and experience. What a luxury in our fast-paced times!

Also it was great to have 100% female participants for a change. As most of my students at Beuth are male, I have noticed how different it is to teach these two gender groups.

All in all I really enjoyed doing this workshop and I think we have arrived at a very good concept, which matured in the process itself. I am looking forward to the next ePortfolio workshop, which I hope to be able to host soon.

P.S. Thank you to all workshop participants and interviewees for their great contributions on the use of ePortfolios in higher education:

  • Dr. Klaus Himpsl-Gutermann (Donau-Universität Krems)
  • Gabrielle Hoffmann (Frauencomputerzentrums Berlin (FCZB)
  • Marcel Dux (Hochschule fuer Wirtschaft und Technik Berlin)
  • Marco Roettger (Beuth Hochschule fuer Technik Berlin)

ePortfolio in Europe – starting a cooperation network

Just recently we have started a Call for a European Consortium “European ePortfolio Network”. Our aim is to establish a network of actors involved in the design and implementation of ePortfolio policies, technologies and practice. As we would like to submit a proposal to the European Comission (3-year project), we are looking for both consortium partners and associate partners wishing to work with us on developing the European network and making European ePortfolio initiatives more visible, especially in terms of comparative national reports.

Here are some preliminary ideas on how we would like to make it happen:

Year 1: ePortfolio European inventory

Y1 is mainly focused on gathering intelligence on past, current and future ePortfolio and ePortfolio-related initiatives. The outcome of this collection of data will result in an interactive database/wiki that will facilitate the retrieval, aggregation, comparison and update of information related to ePortfolios. Making visible ePortfolio initiatives should result in the emergence of informal networks that will be formalised Y2.

Year 2: National and Thematic Reports

Based on the information gathered Y1, Y2 is mainly focused on the publication of national and thematic reports on the state of the art of ePortfolio practice and technologies, green and white papers. The publication of national reports, green and white papers will be organised through public consultation with all ePortfolio actors and should result in the creation of national/regional/sectoral/thematic networks, or their reinforcement where they exist. National reports will be published in national languages with executive reports in English, while thematic reports will be published in English with executive reports in national languages.

Year 3: Self-Sustainable European Network

Based on national and thematic reports, a number of public initiatives will be held: meetings, workshops seminars, conferences, plugfests etc. These events will be the opportunity to establish collaboration across actors to discuss further and implement the visions and ideas contained in the national reports, green and white papers. At the end of Y3 Europortfolio should become fully self-sustainable through the revenue generated by its activities (workshops, conferences, projects) and membership fees (individuals, organisations) collected by national chapters.

The 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.

Your ideas, feedback and support on making a European ePortfolio Network happen are very welcome!*

Ilona Buchem (Beuth University, Germany) and Serge Ravet (ADPIOS, France)


*We look forward to your comments, emails or as entries in the online form:

Portfolia 2011 Berlin

Today I participated in Portfolia 2011 –  a workshop on E-Portfolios organised by eLearning Comptence Center at HTW University of Applied Sciences aiming at promoting E-Portfolios in Higher Education in Berlin. Today’s agenda comprised following topics:

  • Accredition of Prior Learning and E-Portfolios
  • Bottom-Up Strategies to Implementing E-Portfolios in HE
  • E-Portfolio Initative Berlin/Brandenburg
  • E-Portfolio Case Studies
  • E-Portfolio Standards

It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences and of course to network with interesting people.

A big “thank you” to @Marcel Dux for organising this great event!

Here is my presentation on “the bottom-up strategy to implementing e-portfolion in HE. Reflections from E-Portfolio Initiative Berlin.” The point I was making is that  implementation of e-portfolios requires change management and especially bottom-up strategies to promoting understanding of e-portfolios and change of personal concepts on teaching. The change of teaching culture in educational institutions needs to be supported by bottom-up processes so that innovative uses of e-portfolios can emerge. This is what we are doing in E-Portfolio Initiative Berlin – facilitating networking on the regional level, enhancing awareness of e-portfolio concepts and technologies, creating transparency and providing space for knowledge exchange and possible cooperations.

Risks of E-Portfolios for Assessment

Gabi Reinmann and Silvia Sippel in their article “High road or blind alley: e-portfolios for inquiry learning” name three risks of assessment portfolios in context of higher education:

  • The first risk is the conformance to rules and criteria due to establishing guidelines for students on the use e-portfolios. The more detailed and precise these guidelines are, the higher the risk of over-scripting, or too strict or too specific prescriptions of procedures and criteria (see also Dillenbourg). This may lead to students taking on a “strategic approach” and conforming to the established guidelines, at the same time neglecting own criteria and adjusting to external requirements.
  • The second risk is self-profiling due to external assessment of e-portfolios. The very fact that an e-portfolio is primarily created to be assessed by a teacher or other expert may lead to over-reflecting: Students may take a rather shallow approach to self-reflection or strive for presenting only their positive achievements. In both cases this may result is self-marketing rather than self-reflection.
  • The third risk is error prevention again due to external assessment. Avoiding showing own deficits or mistakes may lead to over-acting or emphasizing only positive or best practice examples of own practice. This may hinder learning from mistakes, recognizing the necessary steps for becoming an expert and leads to camouflage of own competencies.

The authors consider alternative ways of assessment, such as peer-assessment. However they conclude that this approach also brings some limitations, e.g. students have to be trained to be able to fulfill this task, which may be time-consuming and not feasible in all settings.

It would be interesting to learn if you encounter similar problems with application of e-portfolios as an assessment method and what strategies you apply to handle these problems. Thank you for your comments!

E-Portfolios and Online Presence

A recent Forbes blog post on personal branding based on the Office Team survey with HR managers has claimed that in the next years online presence will replace traditional resumes. The blog post advises to claim the online presence and manage the different personal profiles on social networks by setting up a central page to collect and showcase digital traces. Although the Office Team survey shows, that about 63% of HR managers don’t consider online presence to be a likely alternative to resumes, online presence is definitely already supplementing our resumes to a lesser or larger extent.  With recruiters using the Internet to conduct background searchers and applicant tracking, active management of own social media profiles becomes crucial. Since in some professions being present on social media has become a must, avoiding or ignoring the evidence   of social presence is not a viable solution.

The idea of aggregating our digital traces comes very close to the Personal Learning Environment approach and the idea of  bringing PLEs and E-Portfolio approaches closer together as expressed by and Simon Grant in his blog post “PLE, e-p, or what?” An e-portfolio based on the PLE approach would :

“(…) be a tool for bringing together evidence residing in different systems, and organising it to provide material for reflection on, and evidence of, skills and competence across different areas of life, and integrating with institutional systems for recognising what has already been learned, as well as slotting people in to suitable learning opportunities.”

If online presence is going to supplement or maybe even eventually taking over our resumes, how then career or showcase e-portfolios should be designed in order to support keeping track of, aggregating and evaluating various digital traces we create when using the web? What should an output presented to recruiters be like?

Stohmeier (2010) in his article “Electronic Portfolios in Recruiting?” makes an important point about what he calls “output quality” of e-portfolios defined as “ the degree to which e-portfolios are able to predict the fit of an individual with possibly volatile job, team and organizational requirements. Consequently, the validity (the degree to which e-portfolios inform about what they should inform) and reliability (the degree to which e-portfolios are accurate, i.e. free of measurement flaws) constitute valuable evaluation criteria for the output quality”.

However, he remarks that currently the functions which would automatically extract meaningful information for recruiting are missing:

“(…)  e-portfolios of current design are not able to predict the fit of an individual directly. Rather, e-portfolios offer valuable input information for the prediction task. This information, however, has to be “manually” retrieved, interpreted and used by the recruiter in order to predict potential fits. Given the extent of e-portfolios this “manual” retrieving and interpreting of offered information is a burdensome and laborious task for recruiters (…)”

This is really a good point that we also know from other uses of e-portfolios in educational contexts. For example in order to be able to assess learning progress of a person in reflection-based portfolios, complex evaluation criteria and time-consuming assessment procedures have to be applied, which may be the reason why still many educators are keep on taking up the e-portfolio approach.

It would be interesting to discuss which approaches can alleviate the cumbersome retrieval and interpretation of relevant information in e-portfolios, also in relation to multiple digital traces created by online presence.

E-Portfolio in Berlin

Über E-Portfolios wurde schon viel geschrieben und viel geforscht. In der Realität aber, mindestens in Berlin/Brandenburg, haben noch viele Schulen und Hochschulen einen Nachholbedarf bei dem Einsatz  der E-Portfolio-Methode in der Praxis.  Da ein großes Interesse an diesem Thema besteht, wurde in 2008 die ePortfolio-Initiative Berlin (EPIB) ins Leben gerufen.  EPIB ist eine gemeinsame Initiative des Innovationsforums Xinnovations e.V. mit Schulen, Hochschulen, Unternehmen und Weiterbildungseinrichtungen. Das Ziel dieser Initiative ist es,  Aktuere zu vernetzen, einen regionalen, aber auch überregionalen, Informationsaustausch zum Thema E-Portfolio zu ermöglichen und Potentiale von E-Portfolios für den Wirtschafts- und Bildungsraum Berlin/Brandenburg gemeinsam voranbringen.

Ich bin auf die ePortfolio-Initiative Berlin letztes Jahr während eines Pre-Conference Workshops an der HTW im Rahmen der Online Educa aufmerksam geworden und da ich die Idee sehr gut finde und die Ziele für sehr wichtig halte, bin ich diesem informellen Netzwerk beigetreten. Zur Zeit wurde im Rahmen von EPIB drei Arbeitsgruppen gegründet, die sich mit je einem Schwerpunkt beschäftigen. Diese sind:  Schule, Hochschule und Weiterbildung. Da mich im Bezug auf E-Portfolio vor allem das Thema “Übergänge zwischen Schule und Hochschule” interessiert, bin ich nun in der Arbeitsgruppe “Schule” aktiv und versuche auszuloten, wie E-Portoflios in der dualen Ausbildung eingesetzt werden können, um den Zugang zum Hochschulstudium zu erleichtern. Gibt es bereits gute Beispiele für den Einsatz von E-Portfolios in der beruflichen Ausbildung?

Für mich ist ePortfolio-Initiative Berlin ein sehr gutes Beispiel dafür, wie gut sich Menschen ohne formelle Strukturen organisieren und gemeinsame Ideen vorantreiben können. Eins will ich noch sagen: das gemeinsame Arbeiten mit flachen Strukturen und in einer kollegialen Atmosphäre macht schon unheimlich viel Spaß 🙂

Online Educa Berlin 2009

Online Educa Berlin 2009 hat vom 2. bis zum 4. Dezember stattgefunden und ich war dieses Mal zum ersten mal auch als Rednerin dabei! Es gab so viele Themen und Eindrücke, dass ich es hier für mich und andere, die es mit eigenen Erinnerungen vergleichen wollen oder für die, die nicht teilnehmen konnten, festhalten möchte.


Pre-Conference Workshops & Seminars haben am Mittwoch 02.10.09 stattgefunden. Ich habe am Workshop “Competence Development with ePortfolios” an der HTW Berlin teilgenommen und fand sowohl die Themen als auch das Format sehr gut. Die Konzept sah so aus:  nach einer Reihe von Vorträgen konnte sich jeder aus dem Publikum ein für sich interessantes Thema aussuchen und an einem Follow-up Workshop (Thematic Table) mit dem jeweiligen Referenten in einer kleineren Gruppe das Thema vertiefen. So konnte ich mich weiter mit dem Thema “E-Portfolio: Standardization versus Individualization” auseinandersetzen und das Projekt “e3-Portfolio” an der Universität Augsburg näher kennenlernen. In der Kaffeepause gab es dann viele interessante  Gespräche. Ich freue mich sehr über die neuen Kontakte und Impulse!

Speakers’ Reception

Nach den Pre-Conference Workshops hat dann Speakers’ Reception im Hotel InterContinental stattgefunden, zu der alle Redner der Online Educa 2009 eingeladen wurden. An den Stehtischen konnten sich Redner, die in einer gleichen Session präsentierten, vorher kennenlernen und in einer netten, informellen Atmosphäre austauschen. Es war eine prima Möglichkeit auch mit Menschen aus anderen Sessions ins Gespräch zu kommen und so einen besseren Überblick über die aktuellen Themen und Trends zu bekommen.


Die Hauptkonferenz ging dann am Donnerstag 03.12.09 los. Bekannterweise ist Online Educa eine Mischung aus Messe und Konferenz. Wer an den Ausstellern interessiert ist, kann sich hier die Liste anschauen. Das Konferenzprogramm ist hier zu finden.

Ich habe zunächst an dem Opening Plenary teilgenommen und fand den Keynote von Zenna Atkins besonders spannend was den Inhalt aber auch den fesselnden Redestil angeht. Kurz danach war ich selbst schon dran zusammen mit Bieke Schreurs aus EuroPACE und Kate Reader aus City University London in der Session Pedagogical Strategies for Online-Learning (PED01) mit dem Titel “Real Experiences in Virtual Learning Environments”.  Zu unserer größten Überraschung “durften” wir in dem größten Raum, wo sonst Keynotes stattgefunden haben, präsentieren. Was waren wir aufgeregt. Im Nachhinein freue ich mich über diese Erfahrung. Es war für mich wie in einen Ozean reingeworfen zu werden, obwohl ich einen Teich erwartet habe 😉

Die Präsentation zum Thema „Boundary Crossing in Web 2.0 Communities“ ist gut angekommen und befindet sich nun auf SlideShare.

Am Donnerstag habe ich noch zwei weitere Sessions besucht: “ePortfolio: From Individual Documentation to Extended Learning Platform” und “The Mobile Learning Experience”.  Beide sehr interessant, vor allem die Idee vom Sprachenlernen über Telefon von Learnosity.

Abschließend fand an dem Tag die Online Educa Debate in welcher zwei Gegenmeinungen zum Thema “Folgen von Technologienutzung” aufeinander gekommen sind. Für mich war jedoch nicht dieser Streit, der sich um solche Parolen, wie “Facebook causes cancer”, gedreht hat, sondern die Visionen von Jerry Michalski besonders spannend, vor allem seine Idee von “Global Brain“.

Die interessanten Sessions am Freitag waren für mich “Narrative and Storytelling in Teaching and Learning“ und „Battle of the Bloggers“, über die ich bereits hier gebloggt habe. Ich habe leider auch einige interessante Sessions einfach verpasst, u.a. „Pecha Kucha“ und „Use Your Brain“ mit Jay Cross. Naja,  die Gesprächen in den Pausen waren einfach zu spannend.

Special Events

Neben den Keynotes und Vorträgen in den Sessions gab es eine Reihe an Special Events, wie Speed Networking Sessions, Live Internet Radio oder Special Interest Group Lunches.

Special Interest Group Lunch

Zusammen mit meinem Projektkollegen aus dem MMB-Institut, haben wir ein Special Interest Group Lunch zum Thema “Flops in Web 2.0-Based Learning” veranstaltet und beim Mittagessen viele interessante Gespräche zu diesem Thema geführt.  Persönlich fand ich insbesondere den Austausch zum Thema barrierenfreies Lernen sehr aufschlussreich.

Live Internet Radio

Am Freitag habe ich auch an einem weiteren Special Event – Live Internet Radio – teilgenommen und als Reporterin einige Teilnhemer der Online Educa zu ihren Eindrücken und Prognosen befragt, u.a den Vertreter von LinguaTV, welche für MEDEA Awards 2009 nominiert wurde und den Chef von Young Digital Planet, welcher für mich einer der  besten Keynote Speaker auf der Online Educa dieses Jahr war. Die Aufnahmen vom Freitag sind hier zu finden.

Die, wie ich finde, tolle Idee von Live Internet Radio kommt von Graham Attwell . Unter dem Titel “Sounds of the Bazaar” wurden an den Hauptkonferenztagen von 11 bis 11:40 Live Sendungen über Internet übertragen und gleichzeitig als Podcasts aufgenommen. Mehr dazu ist u.a. hier und hier zu finden. An dieser Stelle vielen Dank für die tolle Zusammenarbeit und eine Menge Spaß an @GrahamAttwell und sein tolles Team, vor allem @mariaperif & @cristinacost.


Es gab auch ein informelles Special Event -TweetMeet –  ein Treffen für alle, die während der Online Educa als Twitterer (oder Twitter?) aktiv waren, welches @cosmocat und @mediendidaktik ins Leben gerufen haben. Es war toll sich dazu auszutauschen, was die anderen von Twittern halten und warum sie es tun. Manche haben dann von “Total Twitter Immersion” berichtet 😉

Themen und Trends

Aus meiner Sicht gab es folgende Themen-Trends bei der Online Educa:

  • Transition/Change
  • Border-Crossing
  • Mobiles Lernen
  • E-Portfolio
  • Storytelling

Beste Redner

Die besten drei Redner waren für mich:

Weitere Infos und Links zu Online Educa Berlin 2009

Wunschliste für Online Educa 2010

Auf meiner Wunschliste für Online Educa 2010 sind:

  • Noch mehr von den alternativen Formaten, u.a. mehr Veranstaltungen mit dem Workshop-Charakter
  • Mehr Stimmen von den Lernenden: weniger Vorträge/Diskussionen nur aus der Lehrenden/Experten-Perspektive
  • Bessere Eintrittspreise (geht das?)
  • Mehr Kaffe & Kekse: da wird immer gespart oder? 😉

Alles in allem war es einfach super und ich freue mich sehr, dass ich daran teilnehmen konnte!