As the next pilot group meeting will be looking at how we implement e-portfolios, it might be a good moment to highlight the Keynote Presentation at at Mahara UK 2010 earlier this year.
Lisa Gray (JISC) and Gordon Joyes (University of Nottingham) spoke about the complexities involved in implementing e-portfolios and the concepts that need to be understood to achieve a successful implementation.
The video of this presentation is available in the conference report (you will need Quicktime to play the .mov file). Since the presentation slides aren’t yet available online, a summary of the main points made by Lisa and Gordon is outlined below…
A model for e-portfolio implementation built around threshold concepts was suggested. Threshold concepts represent ‘troublesome’ knowledge. The “Aha!” moments which, when you’re on the other side of understanding them, you forget as having been difficult to grasp. These are often linked to misconceptions and pre-conceptions.
A better understanding of what these threshold concepts and associated pre-conceptions are should help us avoid reinventing the wheel when implementing e-portfolios.
Threshold Concept 1 – The role of PURPOSE
- There is one definition of an e-portfolio
- One e-portfolio works for all situations
- Once students have been introduced to e-portfolios they will apply them aross their courses
Threshold Concept 2 – The role of LEARNING ACTIVITY DESIGN
There must be a conscious design and support of a learning activity suited to the purpos and the context.
- Users will work out how to use an e-portfolio system to suit their needs
- Implementation can be left to study skills specialists
Threshold Concept 3 – The role of PROCESS
The processes involved in the creation of the e-portfolio in the particular context must be understood and both technical and pedagogic support needs to be provided.
- Students are digital natives and so will easily adapt to using e-portfolios
- Users (students and tutors) understand processes like feedback, reflective writing, selecting information, planning
- Tutors know how to support students in using e-portfolios
Threshold Concept 4 – The role of OWNERSHIP
The e-portfolio processes and outcomes need to be owned by the student (portability and choice of tools need to be considered)
- There needs to be one e-portfolio for life
- Bespoke technologies (ie PDAs and digital cameras) are best for information capture
Threshold Concept 5 – The DISRUPTIVE nature of e-portfolios
They are disruptive from a pedagogic, technological and institutional perspective because e-portfolios tend not to fit exactly within exisiting systems. There are implications for the nature of the curriculum and its assessment as well as staff workload and pedagogic and technical support (particularly in work-based learing and life-wide contexts)
- An e-portfolio will save everyone time
- An e-portfolio can simply replace a paper-based portfolio system
- e-Portfolios will be valued by university admissions/prospective employers
- Curriculum and pedagogic approaches will remain unaffected
- Information capture in the workplace is unproblematic
- Student access to e-portfolios is unproblematic