Sooooo... I've just had a look at the OU's ePortfolio system 'MyStuff' (so tempted to write 'MySpace' there, but hit the backspace key in time...)
Pause whilst I am suitably underwhelmed
Further pause for effect...
... and deep sigh. Is that it? Really? On first look although it's an OU-provided facility it seems to float on its own in cyberspace. Where are the automatic links to the courses already taken which could be filled in? I've done a dozen or so OU courses over the years, am I really expected to fill in 19 or so boxes per course to make it useful?? "Thinking or cognitive skills", "Practical or professional skills" - these are supposedly taken direct from the standard set of learning outcomes issued with every course. Why can't these appear automatically? Does someone somewhere really think that people are going to use up their precious spare time filling in 100s of boxes to populate this with worthwhile information?
The other thing that's niggling me about it all is the over-friendliness of it. Isn't that a daft thing to be irritated by? Even so, references to 'buddies', 'MyStuff bites' and everything being 'stuff' just seems to annoy. This is a system which is aimed at everyone from the OU's youngest students to ones who are well past retirement. Why not go for an even informal tone throughout rather than some 'al-wight mate geezer-speak' which might serve to put people's backs up? Even the name is reminscent of one of the web's biggest teen hang-outs - MySpace. MyStuff seems to suffer from identity confusion and it's not well enough integrated into courses / the OU's systems to be a genuine learning and evolving tool.
Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of eportfolios. I battled with them throughout H808 and finally, grudgingly, got to grips with it and found a benefit to it overall. They have the potential to be a great tool for reflection, personal development, online resources storage etc... but MyStuff seems to aim for the fluffy end of things and it wouldn't surprise me if it ended up gathering dust. I've filled in a couple of pages and filled up with apathy. Hmmm...