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OSPortfolio


Assessment ePortfolios and Developmental ePortfolios

Electronic Portfolios are a wonderful tool to help your students focus on their long-term educational direction and become more introspective and goal-oriented; they help your faculty see students' development over time; they provide your institution a tangible way to evaluate its own effectiveness. These reasons and more make e-portfolios a hot topic in higher education.

Serensoft and Open Source Portfolio

Open Source Portfolio (OSPortfolio or OSP) is an Electronic Portfolio implementation available as a toolkit within Sakai. It can address the needs of schools of any size -- from small community colleges to large multi-campus universities.

Sakai is a full-featured Collaboration/Learning Environment (CLE) that brings people together for collaboration, for learning, and for personal growth. It's used in campuses around the world, in large universities (for example, Stanford, Indiana University, Yale) and in small institutions (for example, Marist, Huron Valley schools) -- and within the walls of the corporate enterprise as well (for example, Apple, NCIBI).

Your studentry will benefit from Electronic Portfolios because:

  • ...it encourages them to look at their assignments and homework in the context of a larger learning experience
  • ...they'll be able to easily convert their school work into a showcase portfolio for prospective employers
  • ...the convenient file storage system allows them to re-use their work in many places
  • ...there's nothing for students to install -- Sakai works in any web browser
  • ...they can conjure up their own uses for OSP/Sakai without any additional maintenance issues

Your faculty will benefit from ePortfolios because:

  • ...it's convenient to post one message to the electronic portfolio worksite and have all affected learners get the update
  • ...each worksite can be its own "list-serv" for discussion groups and mailing lists
  • ...it encourages use and observance of copyright claims
  • ...students carry some of the maintenance burden in deciding who has permissions to see what the student publishes
  • ...studentry can create their own course and project worksites with a few clicks, re-using materials from their other worksites
  • ...Sakai, the underlying framework, can be used as an enterprise-wide collaboration/learning environment -- like WebCT or Blackboard, once you enable those tools

Your campus will benefit from e-Portfolios because:

  • ...Electronic Portfolios are a hot topic, and deservedly so: schools that offer them have an advantage over those that don't, by being able to attract students and faculty who recognize the value of a solid e-portfolio system
  • ...schools that offer enduring e-portfolio 'space' to alumni will likely enhance retention rates
  • ...the OSP Electronic Portfolio toolkit is part of Sakai which is an open-source Java application, so local modifications and customizations, specifically for your school, are possible (in fact, many of the tools available in Sakai were created by schools just like yours)
  • ...many institutions worldwide are behind OSP and Sakai in committing both money and personnel, so it's here to stay
  • ...there's enough community interest to warrant two Sakai conferences a year
  • ...Sakai is deliberately project-managed; each module is tracked from inception through completion
  • ...your institution can become a big player in the community by contributing resources -- code, testing, conferencing equipment, and more

Why Serensoft?

Serensoft is a Sakai Commercial Affiliate

Serensoft has been a part of the Sakai/OSP community since 2005, and our involvement grows every year. Serensoft is also a Sakai commercial affiliate; we know what Sakai and OSP can do and how to make it work for you.

Serensoft focuses exclusively on higher education -- our attention isn't diluted by dabbling in other markets. We understand how distinct each institution is, we appreciate the constraints and demands on the resources of your coll ege or university, and we dedicate a good portion of our resources to learning about your particular institution's culture and goals...

We assess your situation thoroughly using our Providence Methodology; we determine what your departmental goals are, how they relate to your institutsites/all/modules/tinymce/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js">ional culture and direction, what your timetable and milestones are, plus what obstacles we expect to encounter along the way. This lets us put together a fixed-price proposal for you in advance, so you'll know what to expect and when to expect it; that way, we avoid hidden fees and unpleasant surprises.

Hosting

  • Hosted server -- if you're not prepared to handle the hardware yourself, we can arrange hosting for you; we'll set up the operating system, the Sakai/OSP server, configure it and customize it for your institution, and develop "skins" or "themes" for you as well. We can also help in migrating later to an on-campus server
  • On-campus server -- once your team is ready to handle the hardware end, you can elect to set up a server on campus. We can help configure the operating system, install and configure the Sakai/OSP server, customize it for your campus and develop "skins" appropriate to your institution.

Serensoft Sakai Services

  • Customization -- aside from infrastructure-specific settings (such as IP address ranges, domain names and so forth) Serensoft can be involved at any level of customization including:
  • Training and Documentation -- with an open source solution such as Sakai/OSPortfolio, you don't need to pay licensing fees. Imagine pouring those resources into customized training and documentation, instead!
  • Support -- given the complexity of a system such as Sakai/OSP, you're likely to run into situations that will require more resources than you have available. Serensoft can help you keep your Sakai/OSP implementation in tip-top shape, whether answering questions from your IT staff, enabling or disabling various tools, implementing updates or upgrades, and much more.

Note that configuring an e-portfolio to do your bidding is a very intricate, very involved, very deliberate process. Serensoft can help guide your team as they select what to include and what to exclude, ideas on setting up the OSP Matrix, plus customized development of OSP forms (XSD) or portfolio templates (XSL).

During the "pilot program" -- or "dress rehearsal" if you prefer -- some schools opt to host OSP on-campus using campus IT resources; others choose to outsource the hosting and the infrastructure headeaches that go with it. Serensoft can work with you, either way. When you want to develop forms, we can help. When you decide to create a matrix, we can lead you through the process to get it set up and active.

For some tips and tricks on using the Open Source Portfolio or Sakai on your campus, be sure to check out FAQ.Serensoft.Com.