Monday, October 19, 2009

Web 2.0 ePortfolios that work for both students and educators: Strategies and recommendations

*NB: currently there is about 2 minutes of dead space at the beginning of the presentation. I hope to edit this out later.

To access the accompanying handout:

The VET ePortfolio Roadmap was released in June 2009 to provide guidelines, specifications, and strategies for implementing ePortfolio initiatives. The Roadmap was published, in part, as a response to the increasing interest in the potential of ePortfolios to improve the Recognition of Prior Learning process, and expedite work-based learning, apprenticeships, and traineeships. Previous research studies into learners' use of ePortfolios endorse this response, suggesting that their levels of engagement, creativity, and feelings of empowerment are enhanced, thereby increasing retention and success. It all sounds extremely promising...but what does it actually 'look' like for students and educators? How are learners, practitioners and other stakeholders actually engaging with ePortfolios?

In this paper I have three main aims. The first is to provide some background by referring to an early initiative that was implemented between 2003 and 2006 with Foundation students at Dubai Men's College (DMC) where the students created a Career ePortfolio as part of an integrated Computer, Research Skills and Projects Course. The ePortfolios, however, were not interactive, were rather 'static', and the final artifact was primarily produced for assessment rather than self-reflection and development. Since this and similar early initiatives, the introduction of Web 2.0 social software elements to ePortfolios has helped realise additional benefits, including improved reflective practice, augmentation of the quality of final artifacts, and a heightened awareness of purpose and audience. As such, the second aim is to explore recent work with Web 2.0 ePortfolios with students and faculty at Unitec NZ (a multi-sector education institution in NZ), and some of the associated findings and implications. Finally, I will draw the threads together to discuss a number of key strategies and recommendations for the effective implementation of Web 2.0 ePortfolio initiatives, including targeted Professional Development for staff, and scaffolding and guidance to assist the students with self-reflection, collection and selection of evidence of achievements, while also fostering their personalised and creative life-long learning journeys.

Please cite as: Owen, H. (2009, October 16). Web 2.0 ePortfolios that work for both students and educators: Strategies and recommendations. Paper presented at the VET E-portfolios Showcase 09 - learning for life.


gabber said...

Just noticed your set of links Hazel. A useful set of resources for educators. I've just addded it to my eportfolio wiki page :

Ray Tolley said...

Hazel, I like your analogy of the theatre audience/stage/back stage scenario. But just think of the analogy of a multi-stage theatre with different audiences coming to see different productions at the same time.

We have a much larger array of back-stage resources some of which are used concurently on different stages (oops analogy breaks down a bit here but can be done virtually). But, 'the show(s) must go on' with all the different performances being concurent (or for that matter whenever the audience turns up!)

Hazel Owen said...

@gabber - many thanks for posting the link...and also for sharing your resources. I will have a good look through what you have included on your wiki; looks like a great compilation, especially with the annotations.

Hazel Owen said...

@Ray Tolley Interesting ideas which expand the concepts of the ePortfolios as performance further; thanks.

I think what you are drawing out is the fact that we are all concurrently playing several 'roles'/'characters' in our lives, in a disparate range of communities - some of which are not interconnected. As such, we have myriad social and practical skills that we apply (usually relatively appropriately according to context :-). So, perhaps one of the underlying requirements (which links into notions of 'apprenticeship') is that we need to reflect and rehearse our roles within low-risk, supportive environments...perhaps through simulations, for example, where we receive formative feedback - before we face the audience. The backstage and rehearsal opportunities provided by an ePortfolio are, I believe, one of its greatest assets.