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Plumbing the depths: stories, e-portfolios; pedagogy, ownership

By Jennifer Patterson

Abstract

Over the course of this academic year, a colleague and I implemented an eportfolio pilot with 82 students aged 17 to 50 on a team-taught 30-credit Level 1 core course on behalf of the University of Greenwich. The students are studying for a degree in Education Studies and come from a wide range of backgrounds. The module comprises elements of PDP interwoven with lectures on contemporary education issues and was originally designed as a paper-based course. The pilot navigated the PebblePad system as part of a wider trial of a number of different systems by the university. This paper presents the results of research combining mixed methodologies mainly allied to the interpretive paradigm but incorporating elements of critical theory. The research evaluates the differing experiences of students and lecturers using this e-portfolio system for learning, teaching, reflection and assessment. Methods used include initial and final student reflections, surveys, interviews and critical analysis including the narrative ‘soundings’ of sample experiences from student blogs and visual analysis of some student portfolios. We used the PebblePad as a mini VLE, uploading course documents and lecture presentations and sending messages as well as creating online gateways for formative and summative assessment submission. It was accessed externally to the university systems. In a scaffolded process, students constructed and submitted blogs and e-portfolios composed of a number of assets. The process of interactions with an eportfolio system has raised substantial and complex challenges for course design and learning outcomes relating to pedagogy and assessment as well as challenges of implementation, resistance to change and around concepts of ownership. As a commentary on academic practice, an element of personal reflection on the project and the research is included in the form of a dialogic interlocution with these narratives, raising questions about the way in which we might use e-portfolios in Higher Education and considering how we evaluate online learning. As a process of evaluation, the research does not offer hypotheses or answers as such but aims to create space for different views by raising complex questions and challenges for consideration in the process of contextualising and making sense of the users’ different experiences, of plumbing the depths. Drawing on diverse genres and media the paper presents the results of the research and samples some of the work produced

Topics: L1
Publisher: Academic Publishing Limited
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:gala.gre.ac.uk:5637

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