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6.6.2 ePortfolio integration decision at the Open University

Initially Option 1 was seen as the most favourable option, delivering new functionality to students in a familiar environment and making use of existing ePortfolio functionality already available in MyStuff. However during the project, a decision was made by the OU to cease development of the MyStuff ePortfolio product. Fortunately this decision was in plenty of time to enable a reappraisal of the available options.

As Option 3 does not integrate references directly into a Course Website, but rather in an independent ‘Widget’ (using the W3C terminology) this opens up the possibility of embedding the Widget in a variety of environments. However, running a Widget would require an investment in other infrastructure, such as the Apache Wookie Widget engine, which was not possible within the timescales of the project. Using the Widget approach also raises questions about how to display the appropriate references within a specific course context.

This left Option 2 as the only viable option, and the one implemented within the project. Option 2 has the advantage of integrating with existing RefWorks functionality, and the adoption of Option 2 does not militate against further work on Option 3 in the future should this become desirable. Option 2 requires an API for RefWorks to be available.

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