Effective use of e-portfolios as a measurement of the Learning Journey in Undergraduate and Graduate Education

O'Sullivan, Siobhán and McGlynn, Hugh (2011) Effective use of e-portfolios as a measurement of the Learning Journey in Undergraduate and Graduate Education. [Conference Proceedings]


E-portfolios offer many benefits to learners providing an opportunity to display knowledge outside of a static transcript. Web 2.0 tools such as wikis can hyperlink to web-pages and video clips; figures and presentations can be enriched with voice overs to enhance the reader experience. Portfolio work is best viewed as a continuum; it is work in progress. It evolves over a period of time through group interaction and discourse. The expressions of learning in an e-portfolio can range from lower order thinking skills such as a PowerPoint presentation to higher order thinking skills as seen in a wiki, a blog acting as a reflective journal or a podcast. To align with learning, it should offer students the opportunity to self- assess and record their learning experiences. As learners create their own electronic portfolios, their unique voice should be evident from navigating the portfolio, reading the reflections, watching the clips or listening to the podcast. From a graduate perspective, e- portfolios are a display of competencies, skills and personal attributes that increase a student's employability prospects. This paper reviews the use of two different e-portfolios systems in assessment of group projects presented in first year and final year undergraduate Biomedical Science degree course. We examine the infrastructure of the portfolio and discuss whether the goal of the portfolio is reached i.e. are students engaging and using their own voice or is the portfolio a mere dumping ground for course materials. We examine different methods of engagement, methods of measuring group work activity and the creation of user generated content which can be reused as a resource. We also examine the student experience and feedback of the process. We question the effective use of e portfolios in graduate education and review how Curtin's attributes (e.g. communication skills, thinking and professional skills) can be truly measured and reflected.

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