Google Sites are a wonderful tool for eportfolios. They work as easy to set up web pages, that can be arranged in different formats and easily moved outside of the RMIT system for future use. They can be private, or shared via a link or available for everyone at RMIT. Individual pages can also be shared if a student wants to discriminate what and to whom they share.
At the moment Google Sites are only of limited use as eportfolios until RMIT turns on add-ons in our Google Apps for Education system. In a 2014 Learning, Teaching and Investment funded project in the school of Art, looked at developing an eportfolio solution, as well as helping with RPL needs. This created a generic template that included a basic set of pages with some embedded forms for specific feedback. An attractive set of instructions was developed.
That is all fine. Students can now set them up. So how do lecturers view them all? This where things get messy. At the moment there is no easy or automated way to do this. You can ask each student to email you the link – but who wants 200 student emails all at once? Similarly you can ask each student to include you in their share settings but again, who wants a list of 200 sites in their Google Sites list?
The best work around (apart from those provided by Google Add-ons below) is to send students a Google Form requesting their eportfolio address, once they have gone through the instructions and created an eportfolio from the recommended template. The form results get collected into a Google sheet and can then be embedded into a Google Site for easy visibility and sharing. There are some instructions how you can embed sheets from your Google Drive here. This all works providing students answer your request for them to fill out the Google Form; and that they turn on the share settings.
A better solution
Solutions do exist with the availability of Google Add-ons. The one I like works at the press of a button. It provides a one page sheet for plugging in student emails, the template, the RMIT domain and you central shared Site, which results in setting up access to eportfolios for each students visible in one space. This Google Sheet creates a script to tie together all the students’ Google eportfolio Sites from the information you provide. The only down side is that while students will be able to see their own new portfolio in their Sites list, they might not be able to see the central Site you created for sharing. No matter just send them the link.
Once add-ons are turned on by IT at RMIT you will have access to solutions such as this one. A wider discussion about turning on Google Add-ons and Apps can be viewed here.
There is a plan for Google Apps and Add-ons to be turned on at RMIT. If you have any concerns about this you can contact your college rep on the Google Apps for Learning and Teaching committee. These are Philip Quealy in Business, Howard Errey in Design and Social Context, Geoff Marchiori in Science Education and Health and Robert Hollenbeck in Vietnam.