Will Linkedin Finally Challenge University ePortfolios For Students?

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I’ve decided to focus on a little Back-To-School social media with this post of the SOS blog.   So this is for all you parents and students out there.

As of September 12, Linkedin has just updated their TOS (Terms of Service) with what appears to be  an interesting challenge to the lifetime aspect of the university ePortfolio site.  Their new User Agreement now states the following:

We are updating our User Agreement to make LinkedIn available to students 13 years and older, depending on country. Smart, ambitious students are already thinking about their futures when they step foot into high school – where they want to go to college, what they want to study, where they want to live and work. We want to encourage these students to leverage the insights and connections of the millions of successful professionals on LinkedIn, so they can make the most informed decisions and start their careers off right. (Eric Heath, LinkedIn Blog)

They are calling this new feature University Pages.  And promising:

… we are providing a new way for schools, students, and alumni to connect, communicate, and explore unique insights about the full range of career possibilities – wherever your educational starting point may be.

Basically, students can check schools out on Linkedin using University Pages and start their networking with University representatives and future classmates before they even meet them face to face.  Below is a sample page:

NYU-University-Page

So while University Pages is not ePortfolio replacement,  it is a big inducement for students to further focus on developing their Linkedin accounts in connection with the networking advantage of University Pages.  What seems to be the unique challenge now to universities espousing ePortfolios is  that Linkedin  has beat them to the punch on a unified global system for pre-university students that actually has the capability to do what ePortfolios have been promising: to allow a student a way to collect and house a student’s artifacts that will  follow them throughout their scholastic career and into the job market for a lifetime.  Its likely that Linkedin won’t stop with the current interface features that highlight work artifacts  and could easily expand its capabilities to support students.

Linkedin has also implemented some extra security and privacy features to protect user that are under the age of 18:

  • Minors will have different default settings to protect certain sections from public view
  • Minors will have select service for trouble tickets
  • Minors will have easy access to LinkedIN’s Safety Center and Family Center support

If you are a student or a parent with a student in school, University Pages are  definitely worth a looksee as Linkedin is here to stay for awhile.  As of June 2013,  Linkedin reports more than 225 million acquired users according to Wikipedia.

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