Europortfolio German Chapter

The Europortfolio German Chapter was launched on 3rd December 2014 during the international conference Online Educa Berlin 2014.

We invite everyone interested in ePortfolios to participate in the German ePortfolio community and contribute to its further development. The German Chapter as a Community of Practice of ePortfolio stakeholders intends to:

  • Popularise ePortfolio in Germany as an approach to support lifelong learning;
  • Gather and visualise information on ePortfolio uses and use forms including technical, conceptual and educational issues related to ePortfolios development and ePortfolio implementation,
  • Bring together different stakeholders interested in ePortfolios to discuss related issues,
  • Foster interdisciplinary communication and collaboration between various stakeholders,
  • Map the hitherto developments and work conducted as part of the ePortfolio movement in Germany,
  • Increase transparency of initiatives, projects and research on ePortfolios in Germany,
  • Jointly develop research questions and initiate research on ePortfolios,
  • Initiate research and development projects related to ePortfolios,
  • Increase the number of publications on ePortfolios,
  • Foster international networking and exchange in German speaking countries, EU and beyond.

We welcome everyone interested in ePortfolios to connect and work with us!

Here is a link our kick-off webinar on Thursday, 29th January 2015, 6.00 – 7.30 pm CET in Adobe Connect: (please log in as “guest”)

We will introduce the German Chapter and our first ideas about community activities in 2015.

Join us to discuss and plan together! 

The founding members of the German Chapter:

berlin epnet meetings 557

Prof. Dr. Ilona Buchem

Prof. Dr. Matthias Rohs

Timo van Treeck, M.A.

Jörg Hafer

Sibylle Würz

Christian Kleinhanß

Photo by Darren Cambridge CC NC-BY-SA

What is Europortfolio? 

Europortfolio is a not-for profit association being developed with the support of European Commission as a central part of EPNET project, dedicated to exploring how ePortfolios and ePortfolio related technologies and practices can help empower individuals, organisations and wider society. Europortfolio provides a network for those doing ePortfolio and related work across Europe; to build the use of e-portfolios across communities, and to provide opportunities for future partnership working.

You can find out more about the Europortfolio here.

Personal Learning Environments and Psychological Ownership

When does a learning environment become a Personal Learning Environment? I think it has much to do with our perception of the learning environment and a something that is ours, an environment that belongs to us, a learing environment that we own and feel responsible for, something we can identify with. This is where I think the theory of psychological ownership can help us to understand what it means to feel an owner of a learning environment. Let me just briefly introduce the idea and the study that I presented last week at the PLE Conference in Aveiro on 12.07.12

Personal Learning Environments and Psychological Ownership

View more presentations from Ilona Buchem

Last year we wrote the paper titled “Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens” (Buchem, Attwell & Torres, 2011). In this study based on the grounded theory analysis of over 100 publications on Personal Learning Environments it were the concepts of ownership and control that emerged as core concepts that authors related to when writing about Personal Learning Environments. It intrigued me that we know so little about what it actually means to feel an owner or be in control of a learning environment. As I searched for helpful approaches I came across a vast body of research on psychological ownership. This research, inspired by the theory of psychological ownership by Pierce et al. (2001, 2003, 2004), has been to a large extend applied to the exploration of the role of psychological ownership in organisations.  A number of studies has looked into how the feeling of being an “owner” of an organisation one worked in affected work attitudes, job performance and organisational citizenship. A number of studies showed that employees who feel owners of the organisation tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, feel responsible for what is happening in the organisation and in consequence care for the organisation as it becomes part of their self-identity.

It struck my mind that we can apply the theory of psychological ownership as framework to explore the role of ownership in context of Personal Learning Environments. This is why this year we conducted the first study, which applies the theory of psychological ownership to technology-enhanced learning environments, based on the example of ePortfolios in higher education. I presented this study at the PLE Conference 2012 in Aveiro and found out that there is a lot of interest in this approach.

The study results show that the measure of psychological ownership can be applied in to research on learning environments. The measure of psychological ownership I am proposing in the paper showed to have a very good internal consistency and I am looking forward to conducting further studies to see if the results can be replicated. One of most interesting outcomes of the study was the relation between control and ownership. The results show that while perceived control of intangible aspects of a learning environment (such as being able to determine the subject matter or access rights) has a much larger impact on the feeling of ownership of a learning environment than perceived control of tangible aspects (such as being able to choose the technology). Another interesting result was to see that psychological ownership is a very good predictor of the quality of learning in terms of engagement, invested time, creativity, interest orientation and self-direction.

This very first study seems to confirm my hypothesis that the feeling of ownership of a learning environment is significant for learning and one of the key aspects of Personal Learning Environments. What I am interested in is to find out ways to promote the sense of  ownership of learning environments in education.


  • Buchem, Ilona, Attwell, Graham & Torres, Ricardo (2011). Understanding Personal Learning Environments:Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10th – 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK.Sunday, July 15, 2012
  • Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., Dirks, K. (2001). Toward a theory of psychological ownership in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 26, p. 298–310. 2.
  • Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., Dirks, K. T. (2003). The state of psychological ownership: integrating and extending a century of research. Review of General Psychology, 7, p. 84– 107. 3.
  • Van Dyne, L., Pierce, J.L. (2004). Psychological ownership and feelings of possession: three field studies predicting employee attitudes and organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25(4), p. 439-459.

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 🙂

E-Portfolio bei Campus Innovation 2009

Campus Innovation und Konferenztag Studium und Lehre fanden am 26. und 27. November in Hamburg statt. Hier meine Notizen zum zweiten Tag von Campus Innovation/Track “E-Portfolio”:


Der zweite Tag von Campus Innovation begann mit der Keynote von Gabi Reinmann, die das Thema E-Portfolio im Zusammenhang mit forschendem Lernen diskutiert hat. E-Portfolios wurden als Koordinationsinstrument in Aktivitätssystemen “forschendes Lernen” eingebettet. Als drei didaktische Risiken beim Einsazu von E-Portfolios wurden Over-Scripting, Over-Acting und Over-Reflecting genannt. Das Risiko von Over-Scripting kommt dann vor, wenn übermäßig viel Standardisierung das kooperative Lernen beeinträchtigt und die Individualität zerstört. Over-Acting kommt dann vor, wenn Unmengen von Artefakten in E-Portfolios reflexionslos aneinander gereiht werden (das Horten von Objekten). Over-Reflecting als Übermaß an Reflexion führt zum starken Bezug auf die eigene Person, wobei Lernziele und Lerninhalte zu kurz kommen können. Gabi Reinmann hat darauf hingewiesen, dass E-Portfolio als E-Assessment Instrument strukturelle Probleme an den Schulen und Hochschulen nicht lösen kann. Dabei hat sie mehrere Assessment-Risiken beim Einsatz von E-Portfolios genannt, u.a. das Nutzen von E-Portfolios als E-Assessment kann dazu führen, dass nur das im E-Portfolio dargestellt wird, was den Besitzer im positiven Lichte escheinen lässt. Dadurch kann die Dokumentation und Reflexion der Entwicklungsprozesse verzerrt werden. Ihr Fazit war fragendes Lernen als Königsweg für den E-Portfolio Einsatz. Die Textfassung (Prepting) der Keynote von Gabi Reinmann ist hier zu finden.


Als erster im Track E-Portfolio hat Thomas Czerwionka aus der Technischen Universität Hamburg Harburg (TUHH) über das Projekt StudIPort 2.0 und ein E-Portfolio Prototyp berichtet, welches sich gerade am Ende der Testphase befindet. Im Zeitraum von Juli 2009 bis Januar 2010 wird eine selbst programmierte E-Portfolio-Anwendung mit 15 Studenten getestet. In diesem Pilotprojekt dokumentieren Studierende Artefakte und ordnen Sie in einer Matrix, die aus mehreren Kompetenzbereichen besteht. Zurzeit wird die Nutzung von E-Portfolio evaluiert mit dem Ziel förderliche und hinderliche Faktoren zu ermitteln. Bis April 2010 kann diese Anwendung als Plug-in benutzt werden. Eine Stand-alone Lösung ist für Ende 2010 geplant.


Als nächstes hat Angela Peetz das Projekt eLBase 1 vorgestellt, welches von Juli 2008 bis Juni 2010 an der Universität Hamburg läuft. Die E-Portfolio-Lösung ist in diesem Fall im Arbeitskreis „E-Assessment“ entstanden und wurde mit OLAT umgesetzt. Angela Peetz hat u.a. auf die Datenschutzproblematik beim Einsatz von E-Portfolios hingewiesen (u.a. umfassende Profildaten und prüfungsrelevante Informationen). Mehr dazu findet man in der 2. Auflage des Hamburger eLearning Magazins.


Danach hat Anne Christensen über das beluga Projekt und die Idee von Literaturlisten als Artefakte im E-Portfolio berichtet. Beluga ist dabei als Quelle der Literaturlisten entwickelt worden, in der man u.a. Literaturlisten anlegen, verwalten, exportieren und importieren kann und verschiedene Zitierformate verwenden kann. Anne Christiansen hat das Konzept des entdeckendes Suchens und die Rolle der sozialen Empfehlung bei der Pflege und Austausch von Ressourcen angesprochen. Die Folien sind im slideshare zu finden.


Dann hat Christina Schwalbe über das Projekt ePUSH berichtet, in dem u.a. eine Drupal-baserte LIFE-Community und Blog-basierte E-Portfolios entstanden sind. Die E-Portfolios werden als Reflexionswerkzeuge und nicht als Prüfungstools eingesetzt. Die E-Portfolios bestehen aus Blogs, die auf der Basis von study.log und WordPress Themes aufgebaut sind. Auf der Blogfarm werden Studierenden  Blogs zur Verfügung gestellt, in denen Lernprozesse reflektiert werden.


Das wahre Hightlight vom E-Portfolio-Track war der Vortrag von Thomas Häcker aus Uni Rostock, der über Möglichkeiten und Grenzen von e-Portfolios gesprochen hat. Der Vortrag war sehr interessant und facettenreich. Er hat das Publikum an vielen Stellen zum Nachdenken, zum Schmunzeln und auch zum Lachen gebracht hat. Ein der vielen Aspekte war die Selbtsbestimmung. E-Portfolios machen dann Sinn, wenn sie zu mehr Selbstbestimmung beitragen. Damit meinte er nicht nur die Selbstbestimmung auf der organisatorischen Ebene (Lernende können selbst bestimmen, wann, wie schnell, in welchen Schritten sie lernen), sondern auch auf der Ebene der Lernziele und Lerninhalte.  Ein weiterer Aspekt war die mangelnde Kommunikation über Leistungen im Bildungssystem, u.a. Beurteilungskriterien sind intransparent, Anforderungen sind unklar, die Partizipation bei der Erstellung von Beurteilungskriterien fehlt. Mehr zum Thomas Häcker ist u.a.  hier zu finden.

Danach hat Sandra Schaffert eine Frage gestellt, wo wir uns gerade dem Thema E-Portfolio befinden. Sie selbst sei nach dem Gipfel der überzogenen Erwartungen am Tal der Enttäuschungen angekommen. In der anschließenden Diskussion meinte Rolf Schulmeister, dass wir bereits mit der Diskussion über die Grenzen und die Herausforderungen von E-Portfolios am Pfad der Erleuchtung angekommen sind.


Zu aller Letzt haben Peter Baumgartner und Klaus Himpsl die umfassende Forschung zum E-Portfolio vorgestellt, u.a. die E-Portfolio-Taxonomie, die Evaluation der E-Portfolio-Software und die  Strategiemodelle zur Implementierung von E-Portfolio. Die vier Strategiemodelle sind: (1) E-Portfolio als Service Angebot, (2) E-Portfolio als Lernwerkzeug, (3) Curriculare Integration von E-Portfolio und (4) E-Portfolio als hochschulweite Strategie. Dabei wurde das Modell 3 „Curriculare Integration“ am Beispiel des neuen postgradualen, berufsbegleitenden Lehrgangs zu Master of Arts in E-Education an der Donau-Universität Krems erläutert. Als drei Grundtypen von E-Portfolio hat Peter Baumgartner Reflexionsportfolio, Entwicklungsportfolio und Präsentationsportfolio genannt. Die Grundentscheidung bei jeder E-Portfolio Arbeit ist: wem gehört das E-Portfolio – der Institution oder den Lernenden selbst? Mehr zum Thema E-Portfolio findet man u.a. im Tagungsband „Potentials of E-Portfolios in Higher Education.“


Der Track E-Portfolio wurde mit der Podiumsdiskussion beendet, in die auch eine Twitterwall und ein Backchannel integriert wuren. Moderiert hat Kerstin Mayrberger. An der Podiumsdiskussion teilgenommen haben: Gabi Reinmann, Thomas Häcker, Peter Baumgartner, Marianne Merkt, Rudolf Kammerl, Thomas Unruh, Wolf Hilzensauer und Sebastian Plönges. Das Thema war „E-Portfolio – was können Schule und Hochschule voneinander lernen?“ Leider wurde dieses Thema nur am Rande betrachtet und die Diskussion drehte sich um den Sinn von E-Portfolios und die geeigneten Tools.


Alles in allem fand ich den Track zum E-Portfolio gelungen und habe viele Anregungen und Ideen mitgenommen.

Vielen Dank an die Organisation, u.a. ePortfolio_CI09!

Hier noch ein paar abschließende Links und Informationen:

  • Das Konferenzprogramm
  • Alle Vorträge der Tagung wurden mit Lecture2Go aufgezeichnet und  werden auf abrufbar sein (es fand leider kein Livestreaming statt).
  • Alle Tweets zu Campus Innovation in Hamburg können mit dem Hashtag #ci09 nachverfolgt werden.

Weitere Blog-Posts zu Campus Innovation 2009 bei: