Artefacts are documents, files or media that prove the knowledge, skills and abilities a person has acquired. Examples: seminar coursework, learning journal, photo of a thesis, video of a presentation given, diploma, reference etc.
Group of artefacts that logically belong together presented as a single unit. Example: application, interim seminar report, concluding report on diploma thesis.
Person who has a SWITCHportfolio account.
All of a user’s artefacts and views.
Person within an organisation that has subscribed to SWITCHportfolio. The local administrator looks after the organisation’s SWITCHportfolio clients.
Person within an organisation that has subscribed to SWITCHportfolio who is responsible for administrative and technical questions from SWITCH.
Local support unit
Support unit within an organisation that has subscribed to SWITCHportfolio that is responsible for handling support requests from users within the organisation.
Technical basis of the SWITCHportfolio service: open-source product – http://mahara.org.
Restricted area within SWITCHportfolio where a specific organisation’s users and data are looked after separately by the local administrator.
Eduhub Special Interest Group on the topic of e-portfolios, with the SIG leaders acting as primary contacts.
SWITCH Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure. A SWITCH service for single sign-on (SSO) web access between Swiss organisations.
SWITCHportfolio Service Manager
Contact at SWITCH for general and administrative queries concerning SWITCHportfolio.
Customised design of the graphical user interface.
2. Purpose and use
E-portfolios serve to document and present learning processes, learning results and proof of abilities.
SWITCHportfolio is available to all members of Swiss organisations that have subscribed to the service, i.e. students and researchers as well as teaching and administrative staff.
SWITCHportfolio users can create their own account within the service and use it to manage their own personal e-portfolio by uploading and organising artefacts. They can assign their artefacts to views for presentation to others and precisely control who can access these – the general public, a specific group of people or only certain individuals. All users of the service are authenticated exclusively via SWITCHaai (with the exception of long tests, see section 4.9.1).
3. How it works
SWITCHportfolio is based on the Mahara e-portfolio system. Personal artefacts can be uploaded to or created in Mahara, organised and then selectively made accessible to other individuals or groups.
3.1 Artefacts and views
SWITCHportfolio is designed for managing artefacts that arise in connection with all forms of continuing education. Every artefact has a direct, personal connection to a SWITCHportfolio user in that the user in question created it or required it for his or her studies or learning organisation.
Artefacts can be organised and annotated in SWITCHportfolio. In particular, artefacts can be grouped together in views so as to present them in a visually appealing way.
3.2 Access protection
3.2.1. Authentication and authorisation
SWITCHportfolio users are authenticated and authorised exclusively via SWITCHaai (with the exception of long tests, see section 4.9).
3.2.2 Write access
In principle, all users add and manage their own artefacts in SWITCHportfolio. Artefacts and views can only be created, edited and deleted by the user who owns them.
3.2.3 Read access
Users can choose from the following categories of read access for each artefact and each view:
- Private: Only the user has access.
- Selective: Specifically designated individual SWITCHportfolio users have access.
- Group: A predefined group of users in SWITCHportfolio has access.
- Public: Everyone on the Internet has access.
The default setting for all artefacts and views is “Private”, i.e. only the user can see them.
3.3.1 System and application administration
SWITCH is responsible for system administration and administration of the application as a whole.
3.3.2. Client administration (local administrator)
A separate client is set up for each organisation that subscribes to SWITCHportfolio. The local administrator looks after the client independently for the organisation. Client administration includes in particular managing users and groups, preparing information and documents specific to the organisation and customising.
A client can only be set up for a single AAI home organisation or a single organisation.
SWITCHportfolio can be customised at the client level, for example with a logo that appears on all of the client’s pages. Further customisation is possible using a theme specific to the subscribing organisation, which must be created and maintained at the organisation’s expense.
If customisation is applied, the footer of the original SWITCH template must be left unchanged so that it remains clear that SWITCH is the service provider.
3.5 Data storage
All data stored in SWITCHportfolio are kept on SWITCH servers in a data centre operated by SWITCH in Switzerland. SWITCH is bound by the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (see section 5.4 below for more information on data protection).
The SWITCHportfolio service is provided by SWITCH. SWITCH may grant individuals and companies in Switzerland and abroad access to SWITCHportfolio data and servers in the interests of providing the SWITCHportfolio service, subject to compliance with the Service Regulations for Services by SWITCH, dated 19 November 2009, and the relevant provisions of the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection.
All data are transmitted between the user’s browser and the SWITCHportfolio service in encrypted form.
Data are stored in SWITCHportfolio in unencrypted form.
SWITCH may impose upper limits (quotas) on the volume of data stored by an individual user in order to ensure stable operation.
SWITCH creates backups of the entire system on a regular basis in order to ensure that the SWITCHportfolio service as a whole can be restored. These backups do not allow individual artefacts or views that users have inadvertently deleted to be restored. Users are responsible for creating backups of their own files and storing them in a suitable place and a suitable form.
4. Support and contacts
4.1 First-level support (local support unit)
When an organisation subscribes to SWITCHportfolio, it must set up a local support unit. This support unit handles all first-level support queries from all SWITCHportfolio users within the organisation.
No first-level support can be offered for users whose organisation has not subscribed to SWITCHportfolio.
 Support level definition: http://wiki.en.it-processmaps.com/index.php/ITIL_Roles#ITIL_roles_and_boards_-_Service_Operation
4.2 Second-level and third-level support (SWITCHportfolio Helpdesk)
The SWITCHportfolio Helpdesk can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for second-level and third-level support queries. Support queries must be sent by the local contact, the local administrator or the people responsible for first-level support.
4.3 Local contact
When an organisation subscribes to SWITCHportfolio, it must appoint a local contact and a deputy. The local contact acts as the first point of contact for SWITCH with regard to administrative or technical questions and planning further developments of SWITCHportfolio.
Local contacts can contact the SWITCHportfolio Helpdesk with administrative or support queries.
4.4 Development and integration
SWITCH may carry out development and integration work by agreement with organisations and invoice them separately for such work. Components or features developed additionally at an organisation’s request may be made available to all subscribing organisations.
SWITCH endeavours to ensure that SWITCHportfolio uses the latest version of Mahara as far as possible.
SWITCH is responsible for maintaining and developing SWITCHportfolio. The service is developed centrally in consultation with the local contacts and the SIG E-Portfolio.
4.5 SWITCHportfolio Helpdesk
Local contacts, local administrators and local support units can contact the SWITCHportfolio Helpdesk during office hours via e-mail at email@example.com with second-level and third-level support queries.
4.6 SWITCHportfolio Service Manager
Anyone with an interest in SWITCHportfolio can contact the SWITCHportfolio Service Manager via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with administrative queries.
4.7 Subscribing to the service
The invoice recipient for SWITCH services (e.g. the head of a university’s IT service) can subscribe to SWITCHportfolio for an entire organisation. This can be done by sending an informal e-mail to the SWITCHportfolio Service Manager.
4.8 Cancelling the service
A SWITCHportfolio subscription can be cancelled by the invoice recipient for SWITCH services (e.g. the head of a university’s IT service). Cancellation is possible with at least one month’s notice to the start of a quarter (1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October). It can be done by sending an informal e-mail to the SWITCHportfolio Service Manager.
Once the service is cancelled, the organisation’s client, including all user accounts and related data, will be deleted. Unless agreed otherwise, the organisation is responsible for ensuring that users back up their e-portfolios prior to cancellation.
4.9 Testing the service
4.9.1 Test offering for organisations
SWITCH has a staggered offering for organisations to test SWITCHportfolio. The duration and scope of the test are agreed with the SWITCHportfolio Service Manager.
If the organisation does not subscribe to SWITCHportfolio after the test and unless agreed otherwise, all data created during the test, including all user accounts, will be deleted.
The test is free of charge for the organisation.
4.9.2. Short test for individual users
Individuals can test SWITCHportfolio to a limited extent. Those with an AAI account whose organisation has not subscribed to SWITCHportfolio are automatically assigned to the “no institution” client.
All “no institution” test accounts, including related data, are deleted on the first day of each month.
The short test is free of charge for individual users. No support can be offered for users whose organisation has not subscribed to SWITCHportfolio.
5. Legal terms and condition of use
5.1 Applicable terms and conditions
The provisions of the following in their most recent version are applicable to the use of SWITCHportfolio by organisations and users:
- The Service Regulations for Services by SWITCH, dated 19 November 2009
- This Service Description for SWITCHportfolio, dated 1 January 2014
In the event of a conflict, the Service Regulations take precedence over this Service Description, provided that it does not expressly state otherwise.
SWITCH reserves the right to amend this Service Description at any time. Organisations and users will be notified of any amendment in an appropriate way.
5.2 Charges and usage rights
SWITCHportfolio is offered as an additional service against payment. Organisations can subscribe to the service for an annual charge that is set by the SWITCH Foundation Council and communicated to the organisations each year.
When an organisation subscribes to SWITCHportfolio, all of its members (students, teaching and administrative staff) can use the service for its intended purpose (see section 2), subject to the terms of this Service Description.
5.3 Copyright and other intellectual property rights
Use of the service to create, employ, reproduce or publish artefacts in violation of the law is prohibited.
Each user of the service takes responsibility for the fact that artefacts that are subject to copyright or any other legal protection may be used in accordance with the terms and conditions applicable to the service. The user must determine the scope of permitted use of protected artefacts, e.g. authorisation to reproduce, forward and/or alter them, together with any authors, co-authors and/or rights holders and inform recipients accordingly as necessary.
SWITCH reserves the right to demand written proof of ownership of artefacts.
5.4 Data protection
5.4.1. Storage and processing of personal data by users of the service
Users take responsibility for the fact that any personal data pertaining to third parties contained in their files may be stored and processed in accordance with the SWITCHportfolio terms and conditions. If necessary, therefore, the owner of any file containing such data must obtain the prior consent of those concerned. All information relating to an identified or identifiable individual qualifies as personal data.
The user must determine the scope of permitted processing of personal data, e.g. authorisation to make artefacts containing personal data accessible to third parties, together with those concerned. Organisations are responsible for requiring their users to comply with the terms and conditions applicable to processing personal data.
5.4.2. Processing of personal data by SWITCH
With regard to processing personal data, SWITCH complies with point 10 of the Service Regulations of 19 November 2009.
In addition to this, SWITCH also produces anonymised statistics for the organisations.
5.5 Backup of artefacts and views
Users are responsible for creating backups of their own artefacts and storing them in a suitable place and a suitable form. SWITCH is not able to restore artefacts that are inadvertently lost or deleted by users.
5.6 Improper use of the service
Point 3.1 of the Service Regulations of 19 November 2009 concerns improper use of the service.
If it has grounds to suspect that the service is being used in violation of the law or the aforementioned point of the Service Regulations, or in the event of unusually high bandwidth usage, SWITCH reserves the right to delete the artefacts in question (e.g. illegal content) and/or to interrupt or deactivate users’ access to the artefacts and the service immediately without informing the affected users or organisations in advance. The affected users or organisations are not entitled to any compensation in this instance.
Furthermore, in the event of improper use of the service, SWITCH reserves the right to cooperate with the relevant government authorities as required by law or deemed necessary and to forward all information required to investigate and prosecute any illegal activity.
Users and their organisations are under obligation to assist SWITCH in its investigations into improper use, criminal acts and other harmful cases.
The warranty is set out in point 7.1 of the Service Regulations of 19 November 2009.
In principle, SWITCHportfolio is available for organisations to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Technical faults affecting SWITCHportfolio may lead to unexpected interruptions.
SWITCH undertakes to make every effort to rectify faults affecting the operation of SWITCHportfolio during its normal office hours. The Helpdesk can be contacted during office hours if faults occur (see section 5 above).
Depending on the urgency, SWITCH may also take steps to maintain a high level of service quality outside office hours, although it does not guarantee to do so.
Point 7.2 of the Service Regulations of 19 November 2009 concerns SWITCH’s liability towards organisations.
Liability towards users and third parties is excluded to the extent permissible by law.
Organisations and users are jointly and severally liable towards SWITCH to the extent provided for by law for damages incurred by SWITCH as a result of improper use of the service as well as for other indirect damages.
Every user and the organisation to which he or she belongs must contest claims made by third parties against SWITCH regarding infringements of copyright or other intellectual property rights and/or the applicable legal provisions on data protection in connection with the user’s files at their own expense when first requested to do so by SWITCH. The user and the organisation to which he or she belongs are jointly and severally liable for any costs, licence fees and/or compensation payments imposed on SWITCH in court or out of court, provided that SWITCH informed them in writing of the claim in question and authorised them to conduct and settle legal proceedings in accordance with the applicable procedural law, in particular by means of a court settlement or an out-of-court settlement.