From pilots to a joint national ePortfolio strategy in the field of Austrian higher educational institutions.

Veronika Hornung-Prähauser, Wolf Hilzensauer, Paul Meinl, Charlotte Zwiauer (2006): From pilots to a joint national ePortfolio strategy in the field of Austrian higher educational institutions. In: Proceedings of the ePortfolio 2006 conference. eStrategies for Empowering Learners, Oxford, England, 11.-13.10.2006

This article deals with ePortfolio implementation beyond a single academic institution. In the past few years a small number of Austrian higher education institutions (HEI) have already started to experiment implementation of ePortfolios in single courses and study programmes. Approaches and concepts underlying these pilot projects have varied significantly, so do the first experiences made up to now. However, the organisational and technical implementation of ePortfolio causes widespread confusion among academic decision-makers, because ePortfolios mean different things depending upon one`s point of view. ePortfolios are perceivable both as a traditional reform-pedagogical method for competence-based learning- resurrected by ICT- and as technical instrument archiving/publishing a learners biography very flexibly and clearly by using technologies of the “NET Generation” (Gibson 2006, Hornung-Prähauser, 2006, Aalderink/Veugelers, 2006). Moreover there are issues related with ePortfolios which can not be tackled by a single institution at all, because they require a national framework, e.g. questions of inter-institutional exchange of students, joint study programs etc. Therefore the Forum New Media Austria (fnm-a), an association of all Austrian higher education institutions providing co-ordinated guidance and strategic advice on the sustainable use of ICT in higher education (funded by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture), initiated a national project on open ePortfolio issues being of sectoral interest. In the following we describe the objectives of the national initiative among Austria HEIs and how we approached the first step in the development of a national ePortfolio strategy.

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