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Abstract

Title: Designing ePortfolios for music postgraduate study. A practice-led inquiry.

In this research I have examined how can ePortfolios be designed for Music
postgraduate study? through a practice led research enquiry. This process involved
designing two Web 2.0 ePortfolio systems for a group of five post graduate music
research students. The design process revolved around the application of an iterative
methodology called Software Develop as Research(SoDaR) that seeks to
simultaneously develop design and pedagogy. The approach to designing these
ePortfolio systems applied four theoretical protocols to examine the use of digitised
artefacts in ePortfolio systems to enable a dynamic and inclusive dialogue around
representations of the students work. The research and design process involved an
analysis of existing software and literature with a focus upon identifying the
affordances of available Web 2.0 software and the applications of these ideas within
21st Century life. The five post graduate music students each posed different needs in
relation to the management of digitised artefacts and the communication of their work
amongst peers, supervisors and public display. An ePortfolio was developed for each
of them that was flexible enough to address their needs within the university setting.

However in this first SoDaR iteration data gathering phase I identified aspects of the
university context that presented a negative case that impacted upon the design and
usage of the ePortfolios and prevented uptake. Whilst the portfolio itself functioned
effectively the university policies and technical requirements prevented serious use.
An analysis of this negative case revealed that Access and Control and
Implementation, Technical and Policy Constraints protocols where limiting user
uptake. Feedback from the students revealed that whilst not using the ePortfolio I
designed each student was employing Web 2.0 social networking and storage
processes in their lives and research. In the subsequent iterations I then designed a
more ‘ideal’ system that could be applied outside of the University context that draws
upon the employment of these resources. In conclusion I suggest transferable
recommendations about their design that consider what the applications of the
theoretical protocols reveal about creative arts settings. To address the mobility of
ePortfolio design between Institutions and wider settings I have also designed a
prototype for a business card sized USB portal for the artists ePortfolio. This research
project is not a static one it stands as a dynamic and evolving design for a Web 2.0
ePortfolio that seeks to respond to users needs, institutional and professional contexts
and the development of software that can be incorporated within the design. What it
potentially provides to creative artist is an opportunity to have a dialogue about art
with artefacts of the artist products and processes in that discussion.