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25 October 2022

Recap of the PebblePad MiniBash

On Friday 14 October, 80 academics, learning designers and educational technologists from universities across Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania gathered at Deakin Downtown for PebblePad MiniBash. MiniBash, one of a series of three events across Australia, focused on the role of ePortfolios in developing students’ employability and in supporting WIL.


Deakin’s Associate Professor Trish Mccluskey Director, Digital Learning opened the event with a discussion of the changing world of work and the importance of students being aware of the skills they have developed and how they might apply them.

Shane Sutherland (CEO, PebblePad) and ACEN board members Leoni Russell (RMIT) and Rachael Baron (La Trobe) took up the baton in their keynote conversation. They talked about the importance of building student confidence, citing research by Dawn Bennett which demonstrates that students’ perceptions of their employability decrease while at university, as they learn more about the complexities of their discipline and related industries. They went on to speak about the role of WIL, career education and portfolios in helping students develop their personal narrative and emerging professional identity.

Monash Radiology graduates Yvonne Gao and Amanda Er continued this theme of the personal narrative in sharing how ePortfolios helped them create what Yvonne described as a ‘legacy of university life’ and learning. Highlighting the value of reflection, Amanda described portfolios as ‘helping you look back so you can move forward.’

Having set the scene for our discussions and reflections on ePortfolios, representatives from La Trobe, Deakin, the University of Tasmania, the University of Melbourne, UniSA and RMIT then shared examples of how they use portfolios and PebblePad to support student learning. A particular highlight was Sharon La Fontaine, Anthony Rendell and Kaori Yokochi’s (Deakin University) presentation on how they use PebblePad and portfolios to scaffold and scale WIL and career education for Environmental Science students at Deakin.


The University of Tasmania’s Linda Jaffray showcased how she emphasises provision, reflection and application of feedback in Nursing portfolio activities. Linda also shared how she uses some of PebblePad’s features to support clinical supervisors to provide effective feedback and gather feedback on students’ learning and performance to inform program improvements. Other examples shared throughout the day focused on the use of metacognitive strategies and scaffolding to support employability development and, of course, the use of authentic learning and assessment activities.

Buzzing with ideas and inspiration, we returned to Shane Sutherland to conclude the day. Shane shared a wealth of reflections and ideas, from the day’s discussions as well as the earlier MiniBash and PebbleBash events. While the recording of his whole talk is worth watching, one point in particular stood out. The value of portfolios is not necessarily in the product or products – after all we are not one story, so we need not limit ourselves to one portfolio – but in the processes of reflection, articulation, connection and meaning-making we engage in while creating our portfolios. It is through these processes that students can connect their skills and passions, experiences and goals, and become both career- and life-capable.

Find out more

Recordings from the MiniBash series will be available soon on the PebblePad website. You can also hear more about how Anthony Rendell uses PebblePad in this Tales of Teaching Online episode.

Learn more about using PebblePad and ePortfolios in your teaching on the Digital Learning Training Resources SharePoint site, or by talking to your Faculty Learning Innovation team.

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