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Integrating an e-Portfolio into the languages curriculum (why, how, what, when) Marina Orsini-Jones Coordinator, Centre for Information Technology in Language.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating an e-Portfolio into the languages curriculum (why, how, what, when) Marina Orsini-Jones Coordinator, Centre for Information Technology in Language."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating an e-Portfolio into the languages curriculum (why, how, what, when) Marina Orsini-Jones Coordinator, Centre for Information Technology in Language Learning, Faculty of Business, Environment and Society Coventry University

2 Aims of today’s workshop Learn more about e-Portfolios and PDP (Personal Development Planning) in general and ways in which they can be integrated into the languages curriculum in particular; Try and define what an ‘e-Portfolio’ is; See a demonstration of an e-Portfolio and have some hands-on practice on it; Discuss and practise the ‘reflective discourse’ and the way in which it can be fostered via a VLE’s discussion board; Explore and discuss some of the Horizon- Wimba voice tools and their possible utilisation for spoken e-Portfolio entries.

3 Objectives - by the end of today’s workshop you will (hopefully) have: Learnt more about available models of e- Portfolio integration for languages and the rationale for their integration into the curriculum; Practised the use of PebblePAD; Shared ideas about the integration of an e- Portfolio into the languages curriculum; Viewed samples of e-Portfolios entries; Practised Horizon-Wimba tools.

4 Why Portfolios? New wave of government push to create links between HE and the world of work (not new concept: think EHE); New way in which the government allocates funding to HE; Need to reshape all curricula to prepare future graduates for the world of work.

5 PDP: Personal Development Planning Dearing (1997) + QAA Guidelines for the HE Progress File (QAA 2001) – all students in HE to be offered the opportunity to engage in PDP from academic year PDP = a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.

6 Why Portfolios? QAA (Para 40) minumum PDP requirements - students will have: Participated in PDP in a range of learning contexts at each stage or level of their programme; Demonstrated that they can access and use the aids and tools provided by the institution to help them reflect upon their own learning and achievements and to plan for their own personal, educational and career development; With support, created their own learning records containing information on the qualities and skills they can evidence which can be drawn upon when applying for a job or further study.

7 PDP should support students with: Becoming more effective, independent and confident self-directed learners; Understanding how they are learning and relate their learning to a wider context; Improving their general skills for study and career management Articulating personal goals and evaluating progress towards their achievement and having a positive attitude to learning throughout life; Enhancing their own employability.

8 Successful PDP (QAA 2001) A mainstream academic activity; Linked to the learning outcomes of the programmes of study; Undertaken regularly; Supported and valued by staff and supported by an institutional robust infrastructure; Owned by the learner; Seen to be valued by society (employers and professional bodies).

9 3 main elements of PDP REFLECTION RECORDING PLANNING

10 However, word of warning from Edwards (2005) - 1 Most employers put strongest emphasis on the process of PDP rather than the documented outcomes. In other words, the process is key because it adds value - by helping students reflect on their experiences and improve their ability to articulate and demonstrate resulting competencies during recruitment activities. If the process is continuous rather than fragmented or piecemeal it is felt to be of even higher value.

11 However, word of warning from Edwards (2005) - 2 Appropriate IT based approaches could be useful as part of this (PDP) and there may be some benefits in a degree of standardisation. But employers …, do not welcome the prospect of having voluminous PDP records tabled or presented as part of recruitment activities – and students should have this made clear to them. (our underlining)

12 Portfolio: a definition (Beetham 2005) portfolio = collection of documents relating to a learner’s progress, development and achievements. Portfolios used for many years within learning programmes to: provide a record of progress; collate evidence for assessment of outcomes; encourage reflection on the process of learning and development.

13 Government e-learning strategy (DfES 2003 in Beetham 2005:3) ‘e-learning and e-delivery have the potential to offer complete and personalised support for learners’ needs throughout the learning process, from information, advice and diagnostics through to an electronic learning log at the completion of a course’

14 Beetham (2005) - an e-Portfolio is: The term e-portfolio or electronic portfolio simply indicates that some or all of the evidence is collected in digital form.

15 Beetham 2 – an e-Portfolio will consist of: A collection of digital resources: That provide evidence of an individual’s progress and achievements; Drawn from both formal and informal learning activities; That are personally managed and owned by the learner;

16 continued… That can be used for review, reflection and personal development planning; That can be selectively accessed by other interested parties e.g. teachers, peers, assessors, awarding bodies, prospective employers.

17 SWOT analysis for e-Portfolio integration – STRENGHTS ‘Exhibiting their work in an online portfolio appears to give students a sense of audience, lifts their expectations and boosts their confidence’ (Beetham:8) Also positive, the capacity for learners to select their own evidence and to present it in their own style. Passwords can be given to employers/teachers to share ‘assets’ (e.g. pebblePAD).

18 Strengths 2 (Beetham:9) learners can present all their relevant information to a new provider; learners need not fill in multiple forms with their personal data and learning history; learners studying with several providers can keep one integrated record of their progress; learning support staff have immediate access to information about the learner’s history.

19 Example: Shared asset (Webfolio) sent via

20 Webfolio

21 Reflective minutes

22 pebblePAD report

23 Weaknesses Ever changing technology – Technical interoperability raises real challenges for organisational processes and for partnerships with other institutions and agencies (Beetham:19) + all ICT systems date fast these days; Lack of stability/accessibility; Files are very large and can crash an system when sent (issue of storage). Navigation can be cumbersome and not intuitive (does not match students’ expectations)

24 Feedback from students in Art and Design piloting pebblePAD Cannot see the value-added in comparison with WebCT/ ; Navigation: confusing, counterintuitive, confusing names and functions, misleading buttons (e.g. pebbles and toggle options); Uploading files: cumbersome, slow; Technical problems: ‘did not work from home/froze my home PC’

25 Opportunities 1 (Beetham) rationalisation of administrative processes, particularly in the areas of learner records and assessment management; enhanced provision to individual learners, due to better information about their needs and preferences; enhanced selection processes, due to better information about individuals’ achievements;

26 Opportunities 2 credibility for learning opportunities and programmes offered, through participation in a recognised framework for recording achievement; enhanced role in learners’ ongoing development; enhanced collaborations with other organisations, due to better data sharing and interoperability of systems; improved organisational research, quality assurance and planning through access to richer information about learners.

27 Threats high cost of both tools and appropriate staff and learner development; ongoing time costs for both staff and learners in maintaining e-portfolio records; technical teething problems, especially risk of staff and learners being used as guinea-pigs with poorly-tested technologies; over-investment in infrastructure and systems, ahead of staff skills and acceptance;

28 Threats 2 risks associated with maintenance of confidential learner information (see data ownership below); compliance costs – regulatory and technical; development costs – technical and organisational.

29 ELP: an e-Portfolio? ELP reflects all the PDP principles and underlying philosophy reported here (see hand-out in the pack, sample CERCLES ELP also available to view); Integration practice varies considerably across the UK HE sector; It is used as a ‘dossier’ type of portfolio showing achievement in specific tasks (see sample in WebCT – Coventry 2, mostly used in Languages Centres); It is used for the main purpose of ‘learning how to learn’ (e.g. Coventry 1);

30 Languages and the Employability Agenda Languages = one of the 39 aspects of employability identified by a survey of employer’s needs in terms of desirable qualities in HE graduates; Listed as no. 14 under section ‘core skills’ - Yorke, M. and Knight, P.T. (2004:16); Opportunity to tie languages agenda with employability one.

31 However: issues ELP: e-portfolio? An ‘asset’ for an e-portfolio? THE e- portfolio? Dialang can be used for diagnostics, but can we accept students’ self-evaluation as true reflection of language ability in terms of summative assessment? Assessment: assess individual entries/assets? Have a minimum requirement of entries? (see MID for French module in the pack). Assess e-Portfolio as a whole (Pass/Fail? Pass/Merit/Distinction?). Skills confusion: 4 language skills vs other employability skills.

32 Activity : portfolio swapshop (20 mins) Work in small groups and discuss: 1.What types of languages portfolios – if any – are in use in your institution? 2. What is their ‘value added’ in comparison with other forms of recording achievement – if any? 3. How do students react to their use? 4. How do staff react to their use? 5. How are they assessed? 6. When are they introduced to students? Please use the flip-chart paper: one person per group to report

33 Please input your individual reflections in WebCT (instructions in your pack) The VLE’s discussion can be used to share reflections on activities; ‘Private’ discussions can also be set up; they are only visible to some members of the group/class; The reflections can be collated easily as a Word document and edited; Please enter your initial reflections on today’s activities for the first session in WebCT discussion, in the discussion labelled ‘Integrating an e-portfolio into …’.


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