Although I am a fan of the Mahara E-portfolio, I always like to check out the alternatives. So today’s plugin for review is the recently migrated Exabis E-Portfolio block for Moodle 2.
The 1.9 version of this block has been around since early 2008. The Moodle 1.8 and Moodle 1.9 versions are available still in the old modules and plugins database. The Moodle 2 migrated code was released in October 2011, and has had a few updates since then to fix a few glitches. It is developed and maintained by Andreas Riepl. The current version in the database covers Moodle 2 and Moodle 2.1 with the 2.2 version to be released soon I believe!
What does it do?
This block provides a nice and simple E-Portfolio option for students within Moodle. There are many good standalone applications for E-Portfolios one of which is Mahara, however they are external to Moodle. This block provides a nice set of features within the Moodle environment.
Users can do four key tasks:
- Add files, links and notes to their portfolio, broken into categories if they so wish.
- Build pages (views) to showcase their content
- Share this page with others in the course or external to Moodle
- Export a view with the portfolio data.
These are all handled nicely within the confines of a course block, so if a course does not want students making portfolios for their course then they don’t need to add the block.
Is it simple to install?
It was straight forward to install. You can download the plugin directly from the new plugin database. After downloading the zip, and unzipped it there was a folder called exaport. I uploaded this into the moodle/blocks folder of my Moodle site. When logging in as admin to the site I was prompted to upgrade to install the module. It installed and produced no errors. There was one new global setting which was to enable/disable the interaction with block exabis competencies, if installed. As I don’t have that installed, I left the setting alone.
Currently the version of Moodle supported is Moodle 2 / 2.1. So, as I wanted to review on Moodle 2.2, I was given the pre-release version which should end up in the plugins database soon. Thanks Andreas!
Is there documentation for it?
Although there is no Moodle Docs page for it currently (I hope this will be added for the latest version), there is a 14 page booklet explaining how to install and use the block. This is available on the plugins website in both English and German. You can also get the information and download for the competencies Block too.
The README.txt in the zip provides an overview on the functionality, the history and installation instructions.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
Adding the Exabis E-Portfolio block to your course is as easy as any other block.
When the teacher first adds it, there are three options for the Teacher:
This first link brings up the manage portfolio page which enables the user to
- manage their profile information
- E-Portfolio categories
- portfolio content (Links, Files and Notes)
- Views (create, edit and share)
- Export or Import their portfolio
- View shared portfolios
The second link goes directly to the view Shared Portfolios
And the third link goes directly to Exporting a View in the Scorm format.
Once the view is shared with the teacher they can then see a list of views and then click into one to have a look around it.
Each link of Show lets them look in detail at that entry. When viewing a student E-Portfolio view you can also add comments on a per item basis (items they have added into the view), this is a nice feature rather than commenting on the whole view, the feedback can be more focused.
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
For a student, they can also see the same three links. Building an Exabis E-Portfolio is really quite simple. I went through the following process:
- Added a profile description
- Created two categories – project 1 and project 2
- Added some files to project 1
- Added a Link to project 1
- Added a note to project 1
Then I created a view, the below image is the view creation screen:
This is a very nice and simple process for creating a view.
The sharing options again are very simple to follow, you can either share it externally and have a unique URL to show it, or you can share internally with others in your course either all, or just specific users.
The external access uses guest access which works even if the course has no guest access enabled.
The Scorm export worked fine. I exported the view into the scorm file and added it to my handy scorm player in Moodle, and it just worked. Cool!
Does it do what it promises?
Indeed it does, good job! I like it. Although this block is not as full featured as a website creator, and hasn’t got the diverse set of features that a dedicated E-portfolio like Mahara has, it is straight forward to use and is inside Moodle for extra simplicity and activated on a per course basis.
I can see it being used in many institutions who don’t want the complexity an extra portfolio platform and the challenges that can bring.
Stars: 4 out of 5 stars for this block
These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.
This work by Gavin Henrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.