LiveText is the fourteenth program I have used to recreate my portfolio. I have spent most of my time revising a pre-set template, with no opportunity to start from scratch. There was no compression for the images. When a link to an external website is selected, it becomes a “parent", rather than included within the portfolio window, forcing the viewer to press the back button to continue navigating through the portfolio. I uploaded several artifacts, but there is no listing of the attachments. With no inventory of the uploaded attachments, there is no way to re-use them in other documents.
This program is not so much a portfolio tool as an assessment management system. There are a lot of prescriptive templates and forms, and a workflow process that can be used, to send portfolios to faculty for review. There is also a data management system behind the scenes that collects assessment data for accreditation reporting. It is this feature alone that has sold the program to many deans. I did not look at that component, since I was only reviewing the electronic portfolio development process.
The portfolio can also be published privately, with a visitor code, or publically. The only way to change the look and feel of the portfolio is to change colors. There are no templates. The one thing I liked is the navigation bar, which can be either down the left side or across the top, simply by clicking the arrow at the very top (to the left of the word “Portfolios” and right under MyDesk.
My impression of the program is mixed. The learning process was relatively easy, after viewing the narrated screen recordings, which provided clear demonstrations of the different functions. When I downloaded a Zip file of the portfolio, all of the attachments and images came with it. However, the Java text editor did not work on my Mac, so I had to cut and paste HTML text from Composer. I cannot see a list of artifacts that I have uploaded, to be able to use them again. The company is offering unlimited storage space, so that may not be an issue, in terms of storage. But in terms of managing a lot of uploaded artifacts, it is a user interface issue.
In summary, this is a pricey commercial system that is paid by the students, $79 per student up front for three years, without a shorter option available. There is not a lot of creativity inherent in the system design. It is essentially a standards-based assessment system that is marketed directly to administrators, and is especially attractive because there is no cost for an institution to adopt. But I sometimes wonder about programs requiring students to pay the full cost of their assessment management system.
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