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  1. Learning at City Conference 2017
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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 3D - Workshop

Bumps in the road: introducing e-portfolio assessment in a PGCAP core module

Dr Emma Kennedy - Queen Mary, University of London

The workshop covers the themes of technology enhanced learning and sharing practices and approaches and will focus on the implementation of a particular technological method for assessment (e-portfolios in Mahara), but will also invite audience members to share their own perspectives, problems and solutions on this issue.

This workshop will centre around the challenges of introducing an assessed e-portfolio for a core module on QMUL’s Postgraduate Certificates in Academic Practice and Higher Education (and other taught routes to HEA Fellowship). We know, following work such as Panos (2015), that e-portfolios can be a valuable tool for developing university teachers. However, implementing the e-portfolio in practice can be challenging. It was certainly challenging for the team teaching on QMUL’s taught PGCerts. We experienced several difficulties, and had to adapt as we went along based on student feedback (some formal, most less so). Initial struggles centred on engagement with the platform itself (Mahara) but also with the concept of the e-portfolio: questions such as “Why can’t I just hand in a Word document?” were frequent.

I will outline some of these struggles as well as the ways in which we have been adapting to difficulties as the implementation continues. Participants’ perspectives on adapting to the e-portfolio will be used, including the perspectives of both academic staff and clinical/medical teachers. I will evaluate these measures, set out some possible further solutions, and invite audience members to share their own experiences and solutions as well. Together we will reflect on the practical issues involving e-portfolio implementation and participant engagement, sharing problems and solutions from our various contexts.  

I hope to capture what we share and use it to create a resource around people’s various experiences and thoughts on e-portfolios for teacher training and development in higher education. I will ask people to think about the issues I’ve raised from their own context, even if they don’t currently use e-portfolios in their work. This way, we’ll be able to outline the issues at hand and how the theoretical and intellectual benefits of the e-portfolio intersect with the practical challenges involved in running an educational development programme.

I will ask the particpants to share their own experiences of implementing e-portfolios. I will capture these experiences as succinctly as possible to be shared later. Questions might include:

  1. Have you tried implementing e-portfolios?
  2. If you tried implementing e-portfolios in a taught programme, was this at the programme or module level?
  3. What practical or technical difficulties did you experience – did students struggle with the technical elements of the platform, for instance?
  4. How did you find students warmed to the concept of the e-portfolio, and did you take any actions to encourage them to engage with the e-portfolio as a concept?
  5. How does implementing a novel assessment format intersect with the practical issues that surround taught CPD programmes in HE such as disengagement and busyness?

After this workshop you will be able to:

  1. identify the key issues that can arise from implementing e-portfolio assessment on a taught CPD module in HE;
  2. analyse and explore potential solutions to this in your own context;
  3. reflect on the intersections between theory and practice in the context of PGCerts and other programmes where we are both teaching educational theory and trying to apply it in our own practice.

References:

Panos, A., 2015. Reflections from Preservice to Novice Teaching: One Perspective on the Role of ePortfolios. Theory Into Practice54(4), pp.292-300.

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