E-Portfolio Based Learning Scenario

Internationally, engineering education accrediting bodies have moved toward outcomes-based assessment of graduate competency. Students are required to demonstrate they meet a list of graduate attributes at the completion of their studies. To meet these requirements students must engage with the graduate attributes and have a means of demonstrating their achievements. In Australia, engineering educators are turning to online portfolios for students to demonstrate their competency for professional registration. Reference 1:

You and your colleagues are asked to trial e-portfolios in the Department of Engineering at Unitec Institute of Technology. This is a pilot and your findings from the pilot will determine whether e-portfolios should be permanently adopted into the programme.

In the United Kingdom, JISC has produced a booklet on Effective Practice with e-Portfolios. Reference 2.

The authors suggest six steps to e-portfolio based learning.

Step One: Define- e-Portfolios can mean different things in different contexts. What is the purpose and objective of your portfolio initiative?  What issues is it to address? What support are students likely to need? What support are staff likely to need? Which tools, systems or approaches should you adopt and why?

Step Two: Understand -e-Portfolio based learning offers real potential for autonomous and personalised learning. However, a vision for e-portfolios as the hub of student learning will have an impact on pedagogic and other institutional practices.  What kind of changes will you need to make to your graduate profile? Will your e-portfolio affect discipline knowledge, thinking skills, information skill, communication skills, technology skills, learning how to learn, international perspectives, cultural understanding, or professional skills?  What implications will this initiative have for teachers, administrators and technical staff?

Step Three: Prepare - e-Portfolios raise a number of fundamental issues around ownership of data and identity and access management. Embedding any e-learning tool requires assessment of risks as well as benefits, plus investments in staff training and support.  Which of these issues will you need to address? Accessibility? IPR? Copyright? Privacy? Who will prepare the ground? Should any of this be addressed in policy or programme regualations?

Step Four: Engage - e-Portfolio use is a far reaching initiative that may involve teachers, personal tutors, administrators, industry mentors, technical and learning support staff.  What are the most effective strategies for engaging and sustaining the commitment of learners, and those involved in supporting learners in the use of e-portfolios.

Step Five: Implement - Effective e-portofolio use does not occur on any scale without leadership from curriculum leaders and teaching teams.

What are the lessons learnt from pilots? What are the factors, such as timing or involvement of e-portfolio champions, that might influence the outcomes?

Step Six: Review - Use a range of methodologies to explore the viewpoints of both learners and teachers.  How will use evidence and evaluate the outcomes?

Last updated by Diana Ayling Dec 23, 2011.

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