DIGITAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

WHAT ARE PORTFOLIOS?

Portfolios have been described as “a personal digital collection of information, describing and illustrating a person’s learning, career, experience and achievements” (the European Institute for E-Learning, EIfEL, 2010) but this seemingly univocal definition obscures several factors for diverse types of portfolios: 

  • the sorts of artefacts that they contain; 
  • the nature and duration of contributions; 
  • and their distinct goals and purposes. 

Portfolio thinking and activity is essentially a learning process that consists of students planning, curating, collecting, connecting and showcasing their work and other artefacts, and emphasises reflection and evaluation.

WHY WOULD I USE PORTFOLIOS?

Portfolio activities provide a range of learning opportunities, including:

  1. critically evaluating and reflecting on individual student work, skills, knowledge and experiences through curation of a portfolio of work.
  2. creating the context for authentic and programmatic assessment through course-wide application. 
  3. showcasing a curated collection of student work and activities, forming a comprehensive digital resume as demonstration of their capabilities to potential employers.  
  4. improving relevant skills and knowledge domains necessary to foster work readiness and employability.

There has been an increasing presence of portfolios in university curriculum (Hallam, et al 2008) and portfolio activities have been promoted as a way of developing and enhancing graduate employability through the curation of evidence (von Knoskey and Oliver 2012).

 

WHAT ARE PORTFOLIOS?

Portfolios have been described as “a personal digital collection of information, describing and illustrating a person’s learning, career, experience and achievements” (the European Institute for E-Learning, EIfEL, 2010) but this seemingly univocal definition obscures several factors for diverse types of portfolios:

• the sorts of artefacts that they contain;
• the nature and duration of contributions;
• and their distinct goals and purposes.

Portfolio thinking and activity is essentially a learning process that consists of students planning, curating, collecting, connecting and showcasing their work and other artefacts, and emphasises reflection and evaluation.

WHY WOULD I USE PORTFOLIOS?

Portfolio activities provide a range of learning opportunities, including:

1. critically evaluating and reflecting on individual student work, skills, knowledge and experiences through curation of a portfolio of work.

2. creating the context for authentic and programmatic assessment through course-wide application.

3. showcasing a curated collection of student work and activities, forming a comprehensive digital resume as demonstration of their capabilities to potential employers.

4. improving relevant skills and knowledge domains necessary to foster work readiness and employability.

There has been an increasing presence of portfolios in university curriculum (Hallam, et al 2008) and portfolio activities have been promoted as a way of developing and enhancing graduate employability through the curation of evidence (von Knoskey and Oliver 2012).

WHEN WOULD I USE PORTFOLIOS?

The following use cases outline when portfolios could be implemented in your teaching, what benefits come of using particular technology, what challenges you might face, and the strategies you can use to navigate these challenges.

At Deakin, there are currently two portfolio tools in pilot phase (2019-2020) and the differences between these two platforms are important to consider for the design and implementation of portfolio activities.

PebblePad – a “learning journey platform” placing more emphasis on structured or scaffolded learning and assessment. This platform is used widely across many Australian universities and considered to facilitate traditional portfolio activities. It can work both for unit and course application.

Portfolium – a “student success platform” placing more emphasis on features which foster graduate employability through personal portfolio pages, digital badging and talent matching functionality. An element of social networking opportunity is celebrated within this tool, enabling students to connect with potential industry partners, similar to Linkedin.

USE CASE 1 - EVIDENCING AND REFLECTING

USE CASE 2 - RECORDING AND PROVIDING FEEDBACK

A unit in the Masters of Humanitarian Assistance within the Faculty of Arts and Education, is using PebblePad in T3 2019.

The intuitive template and workbook builder of the platform allows educators to design workbooks, which they then share with students. In this workbook, students are prompted to undertake well-scaffolded tasks typical of portfolio activities: collect, record, curate, reflect, and share their work for assessment – but the role for evidencing and reflecting is key.

Students reflect on the impact of prerequisite activities on their learning, how they connect to their skills and experiences, and how they may inform their journey ahead. To do this, the workbook – a series of structured, interconnected pages – guides students through the recording of reflections across the trimester.

Affordances include: intuitive tools that allow students to present evidence of their learning, and the power to monitor engagement for teaching staff, providing both formative and summative feedback, and evaluate the impact of reflective activities.

A unit in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment is also implementing PebblePad in T3 2019. In this unit, students undertake a multi-week internship placement in an organisation. PebblePad can be used as a logbook of student activities, as well as in the facilitation of during-placement reviews, as completed by industry supervisors.

Through the assessment engine of the PebblePad platform – known as ATLAS – staff can monitor this use of, or engagement with the logbook – quickly and easily checking which students have supplied the necessary pre-requisite information, and in this way identify students not suitably ready for a placement.

Later in the placement, supervisors can review and ‘sign off’ the logbook – on any (mobile) devices, while verifying the claims made. These industry feedback are of course viewable and monitored by Deakin teaching teams via the platform.

EVIDENCING AND REFLECTING

A unit in the Masters of Humanitarian Assistance within the Faculty of Arts and Education, is using PebblePad in T3 2019.

The intuitive template and workbook builder of the platform allows educators to design workbooks, which they then share with students. In this workbook, students are prompted to undertake well-scaffolded tasks typical of portfolio activities: collect, record, curate, reflect, and share their work for assessment – but the role for evidencing and reflecting is key.

Students reflect on the impact of prerequisite activities on their learning, how they connect to their skills and experiences, and how they may inform their journey ahead. To do this, the workbook – a series of structured, interconnected pages – guides students through the recording of reflections across the trimester.

Affordances include: intuitive tools that allow students to present evidence of their learning, and the power to monitor engagement for teaching staff, providing both formative and summative feedback, and evaluate the impact of reflective activities.

RECORDING AND GIVING FEEDBACK

A unit in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment is also implementing PebblePad in T3 2019. In this unit, students undertake a multi-week internship placement in an organisation. PebblePad can be used as a logbook of student activities, as well as in the facilitation of during-placement reviews, as completed by industry supervisors.

Through the assessment engine of the PebblePad platform – known as ATLAS – staff can monitor this use of, or engagement with the logbook – quickly and easily checking which students have supplied the necessary pre-requisite information, and in this way identify students not suitably ready for a placement.

Later in the placement, supervisors can review and ‘sign off’ the logbook – on any (mobile) devices, while verifying the claims made. These industry feedback are of course viewable and monitored by Deakin teaching teams via the platform.

For more case studies from teaching and learning contexts across other higher education institutions please visit the PebblePad website here.

HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH PORTFOLIO?

To find out more find detailed pedagogical and technical guides on our portfolio resource page by clicking the icons below.

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RESOURCES

WHO DO I GO TO FOR SUPPORT AND ADVICE?
Technical issues

Email eSolutions: deakin@service-now.com
Phone support: 1800 463 888

Hours of support:

Monday to Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Saturday to Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Design issues

Email eSolutions: deakin@service-now.com
Phone support: 1800 463 888

Hours of support:

Monday to Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Saturday to Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

FACULTY

Faculty of Business and Law

Faculty of SEBE

Faculty of Arts and Education

Faculty of Health

Technical issues
Email eSolutions: deakin@service-now.com
Phone support: 1800 463 888

Hours of support:

  • Monday to Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm
  • Saturday to Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Design Issues

Email eSolutions: deakin@service-now.com
Phone support: 1800 463 888

Hours of support:

  • Monday to Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm
  • Saturday to Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm
FACULTY
Faculty of Business and Law 

  • Faculty of SEBE 
  • Faculty of Arts and Education 
  • Faculty of Health
  • Deakin Learning Futures