Stuart English

Research output: Other contribution


Openfolio is a web-based tool for reflective design practice and portfolio development. The system encourages designers to reflect on their capabilities and experiences by documenting portfolio evidence that recognises value in their professional and working context. Openfolio has over 3000 members, representing 140 design businesses and institutions in 26 countries. Originally created in 1994, it has recently undergone major redevelopment and thinking. It now supports national and international design collaboration through the addition of a searchable skills exchange forum, peer review and discussion facilities, as well as group and resource management tools. Openfolio allows researchers to create and join research ‘communities’. These communities form the basis of self-generating and self-adapting learning groups. Each group provides a topic ‘hub’ for cross-organisational virtual collaboration, that also promotes the subject of the group through the Internet, e.g.: a research group investigating the design of movement in products (Young et al 2006) involved staff and students at Northumbria University, as well as staff at Philips in Eindhoven, Holland. The topic group was used to share working drawings and maps and to discuss the direction and focus of the project. ( Openfolio is a digital manifestation of research by Mitchell (1994) who stated; ‘Evidence suggests that the use of portfolios encourages students to work cooperatively, to question and evaluate their own and others’ work, and to develop their judgemental skills. Openfolio has been the subject of a number of conference papers, including: ‘OpenFolio’, Electronic PDPs for Art, Design, Media and Communications, Sheffield (2007), ‘From learning portfolios to research communities - Openfolio 1992-2007’, with Steane, Connected 2007 International Conference on Design Education, Australia, (2007). In 2001, Openfolio won the UCISA web award for student participation.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Northumbria
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


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