ALT-SURF seminar: ePortfolios and Digital Repositories, 22 and 23 April 2004, Edinburgh UK

Littlejohn, Allison (2004). ALT-SURF seminar: ePortfolios and Digital Repositories, 22 and 23 April 2004, Edinburgh UK. UK Association for Learning Technology and Dutch SURF Foundation.



ALT (Association for Learning Technology) and SURF (collaborative organisation for IT innovation in Dutch HE) have similar goals and started working together in 1999. In 2001 they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring together learning technologists from the UK and the Netherlands in a variety of exchange activities. Sharing experiences and views internationally between peers proved to be an excellent way to learn new things, find inspiration to meet joint challenges and engage in healthy reflection.

ALT and SURF organised mutual study visits (50 Dutch learning technologists visited universities in the UK in 2002 and 40 UK colleagues visited Dutch institutes in 2003), joint conferences and seminars, and a expert study trip to Australia (8 UK and 8 Dutch experts visited 14 institutes in 2002). SURF and ALT reported on these in presentations and publications.

A new activity is the joint working seminar, where a specific theme can be discussed by experts in the field with the purpose of describing in a so-called ‘briefing paper’ the current state of affairs, the underlying beliefs, hopes and desired situation, and possible ‘next steps’ in joint conceptualisation and/or developing activities. In the process of composing the briefing papers differences between the countries will surface, e.g. organisational, cultural or political. The themes are therefore not isolated topics but seen as developments within a context.

The first joint ALT-SURF working seminar took place in April 2004 in Edinburgh, immediately following an ALT spring conference, and addressed two related topics: e-(or Digital) Portfolios and Digital Repositories. The aim was to establish working relationships between experts in both countries through discussion and collaborative writing of briefing papers aimed at experts, researchers, managers and policy makers. The objectives of the working seminar were threefold:
• describe the basic belief that leads to so much energy being put into these concepts
• outline current thinking in ePortfolios and Digital repositories as a common reference point for deeper understanding
• devise a roadmap to meet required conditions to further develop ePortfolios and Digital Repository concepts and use.

This report is the result of that seminar, namely a briefing paper on ePortfolios and another on Digital Repositories. In the papers the potential and ultimate goal of using ePortfolios and Digital Repositories for learning and teaching is outlined; the current state of achievements is described, and thirdly the briefing paper concludes with desired next steps to reach the ultimate goals, what conditions need to be in place,
what activities need to be set in motion. The papers highlight any apparent differences in approaches between UK and Netherlands as well as opportunities for future collaboration. SURF and ALT will use the conclusions and suggestions as input for joint future development and networking activities.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions



  • Item ORO ID
  • 52245
  • Item Type
  • Other - Research Report
  • Extra Information
  • 18 pp.
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2004 The Author
  • Depositing User
  • Allison Littlejohn