Thursday, October 22, 2009

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

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.

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