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What we know and where were going: In media res in university use of ePortfolios Dianne Conrad Evelyn Ellerman Debra Hoven Susan Moisey Athabasca University.

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Presentation on theme: "What we know and where were going: In media res in university use of ePortfolios Dianne Conrad Evelyn Ellerman Debra Hoven Susan Moisey Athabasca University."— Presentation transcript:

1 What we know and where were going: In media res in university use of ePortfolios Dianne Conrad Evelyn Ellerman Debra Hoven Susan Moisey Athabasca University Athabasca, Alberta, Canada What we know and where were going: In media res in university use of ePortfolios Dianne Conrad Evelyn Ellerman Debra Hoven Susan Moisey Athabasca University Athabasca, Alberta, Canada

2 Todays presentation Situating our study - a variety of applications across the University Our experience thus far What have we learned? Where do we expect to go? Future research

3 Situating the study Athabasca University is Canadas premier ODL institution students Distributed environment Baccalaureate, masters, doctoral programs Mandate: Reduce barriers to learning AU is transitioning to ePortfolio use from traditional paper-based portfolio use in a number of venues

4 Insert those 3 or 4 picture slides of AU Athabasca University

5 Insert those 3 or 4 picture slides of AU

6 ePortfolios in Graduate Study Used for capstone project in course-based MDE A retrospective approach: artifacts, reflections Learners produce showcase ePortfolios Coming: use throughout the program ePortfolio will capture learners scholarly and professional growth

7 ePortfolios in Communication Studies An undergraduate, post-diploma program Presently, ePortfolios used by role-playing journalism students in war zone simulations Future use: 1) ePortfolio will provide a bridge to and from professional and academic life 2) Selected courses will feature alternative ePortfolio assignments to promote self-reflection, critical & analytical thinking 3) A capstone course will evolve

8 ePortfolios in AUs e-lab Technical support for ePortfolio use and development across the university as a whole Provide user-friendly tutorial Provide sample assignments Offer online training sessions to teaching staff Internal marketing of ePorfolio use Initiate and coordinate research and collaborative partnerships

9 ePortfolios for RPL AU promotes Recognition for Prior Learning Past practice (since 1997) has been paper- based Learners produce a hefty portfolio of structured, templated artifacts to present their prior learning for assessment Currently, AU accepts many forms of digitally- enhanced portfolios while awaiting further development on Mahara

10 What have we learned so far? Learners are responsive to the introduction of new technology and take it seriously They are thoughtful and reflective about their acceptance and use of ePortfolios Learners feel brave for trying a new approach! Teaching staff are interested but cautious The fact of technology IS important

11 What do the students tell us? MDE learners preferred ePortfolio route over comprehensive exams or thesis: to broaden and consolidate conceptual knowledge to reflect on what was learned and apply it to work to record the learning journey

12 Learners appraisal of ePortfolio opportunity helps push me to try new learning and sharing opportunities: gives me the opportunity to reflect without the pressure of an exam or oral defense

13 Learners pragmatism Familiarity with the old ways is a major determinant Learners understand their own learning styles, what works best for me Some want to save the environment: no more paper

14 Learners trade-offs For some, adaptation to ePortfolio is MORE work, but the medium offers more opportunity for showcasing their knowledge ePortfolio represents a learning curve, but the learning itself will be useful Learners recognized potential for transfer of knowledge to other learning/work situations

15 Faculty responses to ePortfolio Learners expect tolerance from faculty/assessors who may access their work Learners are recognizing levels of meta- cognition underpinning their adaptation Faculty must adapt to new ways of regarding learner knowledge Faculty given the opportunity to re-think pedagogical approaches

16 What will the future bring? Shift to ePortfolios in academic programs requires a cultural as well as pedagogical shift within the University must be facilitated by internal marketing and training amongst instructional staff accompanies the larger shift from print to digital RPL assessors both embrace/resist transition

17 Final thoughts ePortfolios offer new and expanded ways for learners to explore their identity as learners ePortfolios complement AUs distributed and distance learning environment The ePortfolio learning curve includes faculty and university staff as well as students Learners recognize ePortfolios value in transitioning to and from the workplace AU coming to understand the value of ePortfolio across the institution

18 Contact information Dr Dianne Conrad, Director Centre for Learning Accreditation Dr Evelyn Ellerman, Associate Professor Communication Studies and Sponsor of the e-Lab


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