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MON: Making the Transition to E-portfolios (Helen Dixon)

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Helen Dixon
17 January 2018

Theme: Implementation 

Format: Activity/workshop 

Building up a portfolio of evidence is an established assessment process for a range of qualifications and is particularly suited to many vocational subjects where it is necessary to demonstrate skills and competencies (Wagner, 1998).  Traditionally, portfolios have been paper-based, with folders of handwritten and printed evidence being collated for assessment and verification by awarding bodies.  However, over the past ten years, many qualification providers have adopted the use of electronic or e-portfolios, enabling computer-based collation and assessment of evidence (Beetham, 2005). 

The digitisation of portfolios has allowed them to be more accessible, efficient and flexible (Ball et al, 2010), however, the successful implementation of an e-portfolio system requires a significant transformation in how evidence is documented and the assessment process is managed.  An initial survey of tutors in a Further Education college as part of this study highlighted that comprehensive training in the use of e-portfolios is required in order to ensure the acceptance of the technology by educators.  Furthermore, a need for tutors and learners to rethink the types of evidence presented for accreditation is required if qualification providers are to fully realise the potential benefits of e-portfolios and avoid situations where paper-based evidence is scanned and uploaded to the system, thereby creating additional work for tutors and learners. 

In order to address these issues, a blended learning workshop has been developed for educators to assist them in making the transition to e-portfolios.  The objectives of the workshop are to help educators to: 

  • Rethink how evidence is created and collated;

  • Find out how they can use an e-portfolio system to manage the assessment process;

  • Identify ways they can support students in developing the digital skills required to take ownership of their learning. 

The workshop template is platform-generic, allowing it to be customised to the needs of different subject areas and supplemented with additional training resources related to specific e-portfolio systems.  While e-portfolios can be used in a variety of ways, the workshop focuses on their use for assessment and will assume that participants are already familiar with the use of traditional portfolios for evidence-based assessment.  Workshop resources are hosted on a MoodleCloud site, allowing open access to them.  All resources are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) licence in alignment with the 'open' ethos of the conference. 

Keywords: e-portfolios, assessment, vocational education, professional development, open educational resources, blended learning 

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