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Evaluating processes and platforms for potential ePortfolio use: The role of the middle agent

Slade, C., Murfin, K. and Readman, K. (2013) Evaluating processes and platforms for potential ePortfolio use: The role of the middle agent. International Journal of ePortfolio, 3 (2). pp. 177-188.

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With the changing face of higher education comes a demand to include new technological tools. Universities need to build their capacity to respond to new technology-related challenges. The introduction of ePortfolios is a significant strategy in this response. A number of organizational change management models are used to analyze the incorporation of new technologies, such as ePortfolios, into university culture, including Kotter’s Model of Change, the LASO Model, and the middle-out approach. This article offers a case study of using a middle-out approach to technology adoption in the context of change management. It argues that such an approach provides links between university faculty values and upper institutional management decision-making that results in a positive and collegial transition to introducing ePortfolios. This study used a staged methodological process, based on faculty and professional staff feedback, literature in the field, benchmarking with similar universities, and external reports of best practices to develop functional criteria customized to the institution’s context, an analysis of available and appropriate ePortfolio software, and finally, recommendations to the institution’s decision-makers. The distinction is made throughout the article between faculty, who are staff members with teaching and research responsibilities, and professional staff, who provide a range of support to faculty, including teaching support and technical services. Where a particular sub-group is identified, they are named in terms of their primary function. Findings reflect the importance of the individual context and available resources of the institution when assessing new technology implementation and the value of the middle-agent role in facilitating a seamless shift towards change inclusive of both “top” and “bottom” stakeholder groups.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Association of American Colleges and Universities
Copyright: © 2013 International Journal of ePortfolio
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