Simple electronic portfolio in Drupal

A beautiful Drupal moment — I’ve been meaning to create this for a while, an ultimately it took me less than an hour to tweak this as I wanted.

Employing my usual stepwise development process, I have just created a bare-bones electronic portfolio content type to serve as a prototype for testing with a small group of teachers. The content type includes the required title and body plus the optional link and attachment fields. This allows users to post a piece of work, introduction, or reflective statement, attach a piece of work such as a word document or image file, or link to a piece of work already posted somewhere else. In the future, I may add content type fields for Image, Audio, and Video, though it may be simpler for the user to link to them instead. I then created a view to show a user his/her portfolio items in a table view. The view only worked once I installed Content Access and allowed users to see portfolio content type items that they themselves had created. I should at some point make it easier for users to search Drupal for their own content using an autoselect field.

The electronic portfolio tool is designed to be versatile. You could use the text field either to include the body of a piece of work (such as a poem), an introduction to a piece, or a reflection on the work. The link and attachment options are especially valuable. You could attach a Word document or JPG image, or if the work is already posted somewhere, you could link to it (e.g., Gallery image). I can add any number of other text fields, including categories, and even image, audio, and video media fields if we want the portfolio to contain these items directly. Anyone here could use the tool: students to collect exemplary academic work, teachers to reflect on their professional practice or organize a self-evaluation.

I have asked a small number of interested teachers for their help to grow this tool to the point that it supports the electronic portfolio needs that they anticipate having in the future. As usual, my approach is to release a prototype, invite a few people to use it, develop the tool into a mature version, make it available to everyone, and then invite all to decide how much value it has and how much we should encourage other people to use it. I will seek conversations that allow me to learn more about their teaching objectives, needs from the tool, improvements that may be made, and examples of people experimenting with use of the tool.

At least one of the elements of this tool is borrowed from DrupalEd (thanks, Bill!). Why not use DrupalEd entirely instead of building out this site from scratch? First, I find it easier to build up from Drupal core than to tear down from a rich, unique distribution. I am starting in the place where all knowledge about how this system works is widely shared and then only adding and configuring modules and objects in a way that any user would. Second, DrupalEd supports user, group, and community-wide content. In our school, Moodle supports group content, Drupal supports community content, and the portfolio piece is the first part that is individual. We operate on slightly different assumptions of needs than a school starting from scratch and seeking a complete content management system.

screenshot

3 comments

  1. Bill Fitzgerald says:

    Hello, Richard,

    RE: "The view only worked once I installed Content Access and allowed users to see portfolio content type items that they themselves had created. I should at some point make it easier for users to search Drupal for their own content using an autoselect field." —

    Content Access is not needed for this, and actually creates unnecessary overhead as it sets up One More Module that you need to maintain. You can achieve all of this natively within views, including full-text searching within a view. You can reverse engineer this from the views I created within DrupalEd that generate the various "My Work" tabs.

    Actually, if you look at the mechanism for creating portfolio artifacts (the cck field and the view) within DrupalEd, you can lift most of that directly into your site. Just export the content types and the views and your work is largely done in under 15 minutes.

    Cheers,

    Bill

  2. rkassissieh says:

    Thanks for your willingness to share (with direction). I’ll give it a try.

    Richard

  3. rkassissieh says:

    Bill,

    I took a look at your method in DrupalEd. Am I correct in thinking that your portfolio artifacts are public for other system users to view? At CG, students’ portfolios are their private work, so they need to not be visible.

    – Richard