E-portfolios: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know

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Keynote presentation given with Peter Hartley at the Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio International Research Seminar, Nottingham, England, April 26, 2010.


<ul><li> 1. E-portfolios: what do we know and what do we need to know? Darren Cambridge Peter Hartley </li> <li> 2. This session: Work in progress! <ul><li>Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Aims to: </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>Offer a starting point in terms of overview and a potential future agenda. </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>Start the discussion have we got it right? Have we identified the most critical issues? </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Our approach: we did say this was work in progress </li></ul><ul><li>Structure: </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>20 things we think we know. </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>10 things we need to know. </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>10 suggestions for how we do it. </li></ul></li></ul></li> <li> 3. Opening thoughts from us </li> <li> 4. Opening thoughts from Gartner </li> <li> 5. </li> <li> 6. What we know: about definitions and traditions <ul><li>W e do not have an international (or even national) consensus definition of e-portfolio. </li></ul><ul><li>Different e-portfolio initiatives offer very different underlying assumptions, approaches and organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolios and e-portfolios do have a significant history of use and research base in certain contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>The interrelationship between reflection and evidence is central to practice in most mature contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>Across contexts, there are different cultural traditions that affect both the adoption and uptake of PDP and e-portfolios. </li></ul></li> <li> 7. What we know: about impact on learning <ul><li>Some students on some courses benefit significantly from learning activities, including PDP, which involve e-portfolios. </li></ul><ul><li>E-portfolio composition can improve student engagement and retention. </li></ul><ul><li>E-portfolio authors benefit from control over the organization and visual design of their portfolios. </li></ul><ul><li>The e-portfolio genre is especially valuable for synthesizing experiences across contexts, both academic and otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>The e-portfolio genre can help learners cultivate integrated professional, disciplinary, and civic identities. </li></ul></li> <li> 8. What we know: about supporting learning <ul><li>The role of the academic tutor is absolutely critical to the successful adoption of both PDP and e-portfolios by students. </li></ul><ul><li>Tutors use e-portfolios in very different ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Students peers can also powerfully support the effective use of e-portfolios. </li></ul><ul><li>Courses that offer multiple opportunities to document and reflect on learning are more likely to engage students. </li></ul><ul><li>Students are motivated by connections to intrinsically meaningful audiences for their e-portfolios. </li></ul></li> <li> 9. What we know: about institutional context <ul><li>E-portfolio teaching, learning, and technology requires ongoing and long-term support from staff and the institution, including training and familiarisation. </li></ul><ul><li>E-portfolios have efficacy for certain types of assessment and evaluation. </li></ul><ul><li>E-portfolios are most effective when an articulated and coherent educational philosophy and mission guides practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Effectively implementing e-portfolios requires collaborations across institutional roles. </li></ul><ul><li>Eportfolios are disruptive: They require transformative change throughout the university to fulfill their potential. </li></ul></li> <li> 10. One organisational journey </li> <li> 11. What we need to know <ul><li>What are the long-term impacts of e-portfolio adoption and use? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we expect a single e-portfolio platform and/or process to suit every student (or even most students)? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the underlying psychological factors and processes which support or impede the take-up of portfolios? </li></ul><ul><li>How important is IT-confidence and skill? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we persuade/encourage reluctant tutors? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the most significant institutional barriers and enablers? </li></ul></li> <li> 12. What we need to know <ul><li>How can e-portfolios be used for transition (e.g. between school and university, university and workplace, home and abroad, employment and retirement)? </li></ul><ul><li>How can e-portfolio assessment processes best capitalize on the distinct affordances of the eportfolio genre? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we understand and support the multiple audiences for e-portfolios (not just students and tutors)? </li></ul><ul><li>How can multiple technologies be used together to effectively support e-portfolio processes? </li></ul></li> <li> 13. How can we best research these issues? <ul><li>We need more research on what students and staff really do (as opposed to what they tell us they do!). </li></ul><ul><li>We need more sophisticated philosophical and psychological analysis of different student and staff patterns of engagement with PDP and e-portfolios. </li></ul><ul><li>Can we use a broader range of methods and approaches, drawing on diverse disciplinary epistemologies? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we arrive at more shared methods and approaches so we can collate and compare data across institutions? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we/should we evaluate long-term impact? </li></ul></li> <li> 14. How can we do it together? <ul><li>We need to find ways to link up research and practice across institutional, disciplinary, and national boundaries and across levels of education. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to find ways to connect our work to complimentary scholarly movements to improve teaching and learning in higher education. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to find ways to translate our findings into forms and forums that impact public policy </li></ul></li> <li> 15. And finally: <ul><li>Collaborative models such as I/NCEPR and NARN offer promising models for connecting research and influencing practice. </li></ul><ul><li>So, how do we build on and consolidate this approach? </li></ul></li> </ul>


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