Post Event Document/ Slides

ePortfolios and more:  the developing role of ePortfolios within the digital landscape.

Dublin City University, 23-25 May 2018.

Day 1 

11.30  Opening and welcomes:  Tracy Penny Light, Chair, AAEEBL Board of Directors, Fiona Harvey, Chair, CRA Board of Trustees and Steve Outram, Director, CRA.

12.00  ‘ePortfolios and the digital landscape: bookending the Seminar’. Janet Strivens, CRA and Rob Ward, CRA, Member, AAEEBL Board.

13.00  Lunch.

14.00  ‘Looking Ahead:  the developing digital landscape’. Mark Brown, Director, National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University.

14.30 Building upon our conversations: locating ePortfolios within the developing landscape’. Kathi Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English, Florida State University, USA.  Member, AAEEBL Board.

15.15 ‘Planning your Seminar’: identifying some key questions which we – the participants – are looking for answers to.   To include an introduction to Special Edition Journal publication.

16.30Opening up the seminar: first parallel sessions.’ Your choice from:

  1. ‘Learning that Counts.’ Terrel Rhodes, Association of American Colleges and Universities                                                                                                                                     One of the important, albeit least popular aspects of ePortfolios and student learning, is the demand and need to provide assessment for students, programs, institutions around learning improvement, and for external quality assurance accountability. The Association of American Colleges and Universities has engaged with colleagues to develop a set of VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) rubrics that can provide usable information for formative improvement of learning as well as accountability through the same process.Eportfolio examples will be used to illustrate their ability to use student work for demonstrating desired learning on essential outcomes for higher education graduates, identified by both educators and employers.
  2. ‘Who Am I: Exploring Stories of Learning and Values for Future Success.’ Tracy Penny Light, Thompson Rivers University/ AAEEBL.                                                  Storytelling is a powerful way to engage learners in meaning making (Kahn, 2015; Bateson, 2001; Penny Light, 2017) so providing opportunities for learners to develop their own stories of learning that highlight their abilities and values is important. How can we, in higher education, open up space in our classrooms to consider how disciplinary knowledge, skills, and abilities can be transferred by the learner to other contexts (academic, workplace, community) to guide their future success?  In this workshop participants will consider how their own stories of learning and core values shape their teaching.  We explore how stories of learning and core values exercises can illuminate for learners their unique attributes and generate possibilities for communicating those to audiences beyond the classroom.  Finally, we will consider collectively how to make use of this approach as a model for student engagement with ePortfolios.
  3. ‘The Learning Portfolio in Higher Education: A Game of Snakes and Ladders?’   Darina Scully, Michael O’Leary and Mark Brown, Dublin City University, Ireland.          The ePortfolio is often lauded as a powerful pedagogical tool, and consequently, is rapidly becoming a central feature of contemporary education.  This paper synthesizes and critically reviews the literature pertaining to its use in higher education contexts specifically.  Three key themes are identified and discussed.  First, although the theory underlying the use of learning portfolios is promising, robust empirical evidence supporting their effectiveness remains sparse.  Second, the tool is rooted in a complex pedagogy, and its potential can only be realized if the processes underlying this pedagogy are properly understood by advocates and executed by users.  Third, there is a recurring tension between the developmental (process) and evaluative (product) conceptualizations of the learning portfolio.  On the basis of these findings, some recommendations for future research and practice in this area are identified.
  4. ‘SIG ePortfolio Switzerland, a strategy under scrutiny.’ Nadia Spang Bovey and Patrick Roth, University of Lausanne University of Geneva.                                                 In Switzerland as elsewhere, graduates find it increasingly difficult to enter the job market. As the need for competency development becomes more tangible, ePortfolios should be welcome and easily accepted. However, reality resists such optimism. Eight years ago, the Eduhub community – a nation-wide gathering of instructional designers and technology-oriented learning support staff from both academic and vocational HE institutions – embarked on a self-support strategy that, after eight years of existence, can be described as action-research. We propose to reflect with the workshop’s participants on the strengths and limitations of this model.

17.30  Close of day 1.

17.50  Seminar Gala reception, 1838 Restaurant, Albert College, concluding by 19.15.  Evening at leisure.

Day 2  

Multiple parallel sessions on seminar themes with participants choosing sessions to attend.

09.00        Registration (day delegates only).

09.20        Introductions to day 2…

  • ‘Charting a course from classroom to career: Manhattanville College’s Atlas Compass class.  Gillian Greenhill Hannum, and Michaela D. Muckell, Manhattanville College USA.    The connection between the liberal arts and career has not always been an easy one; indeed, liberal arts colleges have received significant criticism in recent years for not adequately preparing students for careers. In 2016, supported by a two-year, $100,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, Manhattanville College, a liberal arts institution in the New York City suburbs, launched its Atlas ePortfolio Program. Manhattanville has had a long history with portfolio-based education, having introduced a required paper portfolio for all undergraduates in the early 1970s, but this new program was designed to be elective and student-focused, with scaffolded courses developmentally appropriate for each of the four years of college. The emphasis of the courses targeting students in their last two years of undergraduate study is the transition from classroom to career. This workshop will give a brief overview of the design process and implementation of the Atlas program as a whole and then take an in-depth look at Atlas Compass, a course open to Juniors and Seniors. It will examine the curriculum, class exercises and activities, assessment results and student feedback for this course, now completing its third year. Manhattanville alumna and current graduate student Michaela Muckell will share a student’s perspective on how the course helped her, draw connections between her experiences while an undergraduate and the career she plans to pursue.
  • AePRs Future Direction: The Executive Team Presents a Big Picture Road Map’. Samantha Blevins, Radford University and Cindy Stevens, Wentworth Institute of Technology, USA.  (David R. Dannenberg, University of Alaska;  Russel Stolins, Institution of American Indian Arts; Adam Wear, University of North Texas); Barbara Ramirez, Clemson University; Nami Okuzono, Institution of American Indian Art ; Carra Hood, Stockton University; Candyce Reynolds, Portland State University; and Dirk Matthews, Columbia College, Chicago, USA). The AAEEBL ePortfolio Review (AePR) is AAEEBL’s online journal serving the needs of the global eportfolio community and seeks to promote portfolio learning as a major way to transform higher education. AePR is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles about research, technology, program development and practical issues in ePortfolio practice. AePR features a collaborative author/editor approach, in which editors can make substantive contributions that shape the final article. AePR is published tri-annually (November, March and July), for eportfolio practitioners, administrators, and students. Each issue has a specific theme, chosen by the editorial team based on current trends and patterns in the ePortfolio world. During this session, the Executive Editorial Team will present a road map of the AePR big picture as we end our second year of publication and enter our third year. The Team would like to take this opportunity to share its vision, the ways in which AePR fits into the landscape of journals across academic disciplines, and prospects for the future of the journal and ePortfolio work as whole. In addition, the team has reviewed data and feedback collected over the past year related to submission increases, publication statistics, competition, and short and long-term plans. The Editorial Team will present the results of these planning sessions while also soliciting input from the audience related to overall impressions of AePR, usefulness of the articles, likelihood of contributing, content and themes, and timeliness.
  • ‘Managing the portfolio machine: Making formative & summative assessment work in modules (courses), programmes (degrees), and institutions.’  Joy Robbins, University of Bradford, UK. This session will present a simple model, applicable to any institution’s eportfolio practice, of the four areas that need to work for eportfolio use to be sustainable and to grow. The focus will be on the areas that often receive less attention: assessment, and the interlocking driver of administration. We will look at ways to enhance both formative and summative assessment of eportfolio at three levels: modular, programmatic, and faculty or institution-wide. At each level there will be real examples of what has worked at the University of Bradford over the years, and group discussion of participants’ own context. Participants should come away with clear ideas for next steps to enhance their own institution’s eportfolio practice at whatever level is appropriate.
  • Workshop: ‘Exploring the Digital Landscape: Turning First Year Students into Budding Student Leaders.’  Loren McDermott, Manhattanville College, USA. Manhattanville College students explore ePortfolio in various forms throughout their college career.  This session will focus on the progression of creating a First Year ePortfolio and how it helped inspire a First Year Survival guide to finally creating an opportunity for student mentors to reflect on their professional growth, work with mentees and First Year classes in that same digital space, while practicing the art of deep reflection with a heavy focus on career and personal development and student success. This workshop will emphasize a deep dive of the various activities and prompts that can be documented and assessed for student learning. Participants will see specific narratives and examples from student portfolio and engage in some interactive activities that will help them explore opportunities to broaden their students’ digital landscape.

10.25-10.55 Research Papers:  Your choice from:

  •  ‘Using the Experience API (xAPI) to capture informal learning to an ePortfolio. Richard Price (presentation 1), Health Education England, UK. (presentaion 2) (Handout 1) (Handout 2) Unlike many formal learning activities, informal learning experiences are seldom recorded and their contribution to learning goes untracked. A study was conducted as an MSc research project to identify if an emerging open-source technology standard – the Experience API (xAPI) – supported workplace learners to track all their learning activities in an e-portfolio, both formal and informal, and to build their portfolio of evidence. The findings suggest a desire from learners to take ownership of their training records and portfolio and that xAPI may be one solution to support collection of learning activities. In this research session, I will discuss my research and explore the application of the xAPI technology to capture learning activities to an e-portfolio. Participants will be invited to discuss the application of the technology in their organisations.
  • ‘One Size Does Not Fit All: Making General Education Pathways Through the Curriculum and the Co-Curriculum at Boston University.’ Gillian B. Pierce, Boston University, USA. In this session we will present the implementation of ePortfolios in a new general education program at Boston University– the BU Hub– which allows students to complete general education requirements through unique pathways in designated courses on campus and abroad, in introductory courses through to capstone study in their majors, in a signature “cross-college challenge,” and through co-curricular activities. The project scales up the use of current general education ePortfolios since 2008 in the College of General Studies and select other programs to include a much broader student population and capture student learning for defined outcomes across six Hub “capacities” and their constitutive areas. Using ePortfolio in this new, university-wide program will allow students to make their learning visible across all Hub areas, and in particular allows students to highlight attainment of new campus-wide learning outcomes for digital and multimedia expression.  Participants will:
    • learn about a more than two-year process of learning outcomes-based general education design and implementation, including course design and approval;
    • take part in a discussion of using approved extra-curricular and co-curricular experiences as part of a general education curriculum and ePortfolio template design to support and demonstrate learning in these experiences and in the signature cross-college challenge;
    • see examples of the ePortfolio templates we have designed to highlight learning outcomes across individualized student pathways, including those for the cross-college challenge and extra- and co-curricular activities;
    • discuss the opportunities as well as the challenges and barriers associated with scaling up an existing ePortfolio program for university-wide use.
  • ‘Relevance of Web-based Portfolios within “Showcase Portfolios”- a Dimension of UCL Connected Curriculum’s Research-based Learning Initiatives.’  Kshipra Kulkarni, Evelyn Mantoiu and Nicholas Grindle, Arena Centre for Research-based Education, University College London, UK.  This presentation describes a student-staff partnership established to identify the potential of portfolios to act as a means of connecting students’ academic work with different audiences. UCL’s ‘Connected Curriculum’ seeks to engage students in research-based learning by supporting them to produce outputs that can be presented to wider audiences. Fung (2017) mooted that this could be achieved on a cross-institutional level by introducing programme-based ‘Showcase Portfolios’ into the curriculum. UCL’s investment in cross-institutional platforms such as CampusPress and an eprints-based OER offer students greater opportunity to share and curate their work. Our project explores how best this can be done in the context of a large research-intensive university. We will present our project findings based on data gathered via a process of literature reviews, interviews, workshops with students and staff, conversations and knowledge exchanges with partners in other institutions and external stakeholders. Our findings point towards ways in which web-based portfolios can be used to connect with a range of stakeholders and audiences. We also offer evidence of developments at programme and institutional level that promises to flesh out some of the issues raised in recent literature on portfolios and digital curating (Clarke and Boud 2016, HEA 2018).
  • ‘The SCPHN competency ePortfolio: fostering learner agency in the workplace.  Barbara Nicolls and Jane Wright, Buckinghamshire New University, UK.   This session reports on an exploration of the affordances of the Bucks competency-based Post-graduate Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) ePortfolio to foster learner agency and ownership of one’s own learning. We discuss how the spinal column conceptual model first creates a context and environment for SCPHN students (Ss), second, utilises the sociocultural context of the learning environment be it academic, workplace or community and finally, raises self-awareness of the responsibility of their own actions on the environment and on others as every decision they make and action they take, will impact on the thinking, behaviour or decisions of others – and vice versa. Thus, we highlight the role of the competency ePortfolio in enabling District Nurses, Health Visitors and School Nurses to articulate in their own voice the appropriate knowledge, skills and competence to respond to the needs of both individuals and population groups, working with communities and other agencies to meet need whilst working in a leadership role in their communities. Finally, we demonstrate through Ss portfolios how learner agency afforded by the competency model as a pre-determined framework has the potential to become a cohesive platform to showcase the achievements and skills and professionally brand themselves to a variety of relevant audiences in the future.Evaluation of the ePortfolio initiative over the 5 year period using the Bucks ePortfolio experience questionnaire, focussed group interviews, module evaluations has focussed on student’s perception of key aspects of learner agency.  The presentation will showcase some ePortfolios with evaluation results.

11.15-11.45  Research Papers. Your choice from:

  • ‘From a CV to an ePortfolio” An exploration of adult learner’s perception of the ePortfolio as a jobseeking tool.’ John Kilroy, Harvest Resources Ltd, Ireland. This session will discuss the findings of research project that was designed to explore the perceptions of adult jobseekers on the use of an ePortfolio as a jobseeking tool. The session will also explore a number of themes that emerged from previous research including the importance of a programmatic approach to ePortfolio development, the challenges with institutional ePortfolio systems and the barriers to the use of an ePortfolio as a jobseeking tool. The research project built on a number of existing research themes while also positioning new concepts such as the role of eMentoring and gamification design principles in ePortfolio development.The following areas will be discussed – background and context to research, research methodology and findings and key conclusions from the research project. The following themes will be explored – programmatic approach to ePortfolio development, the role of mentoring, ePortfolio systems and the ePortfolio as a jobseeking tool.  It is proposed to have an open discussion on key research findings namely – the future role of the ePortfolio in the recruitment process and the application of gamification design principles to the ePortfolio development programmes.
  • ‘Personal Development Planning (PDP) and ePortfolios: Arranged marriage or true love?’  Sue Lowe and Maria-Luisa Perez-Cavana, the Open University, UK. Personal Development Planning (PDP) is “a structured and supported process undertaken by a learner to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for personal, educational and career development” (QAA, 2009, p.2). As a long-life learning process, PDP has often been associated with the use of ePortfolios, but how exactly can ePortfolios support students’ learning and what do students think about the experience?This research paper examines two pilot studies carried out with students at the Open University (UK) using two different types of eportfolio to support PDP. The Open University is the UK’s only university dedicated to distance learning and is one of the UK’s largest with around 175,000 students. The OU is currently exploring ways to help students become more aware of connections between their learning, personal contexts and employability.  The paper describes the activities designed to support students in their PDP, how two different eportfolio systems were adapted to meet the requirements of PDP at institutional and national levels, and presents the experiences and perceptions reported by the students taking part in both pilots.
  • ‘Introducing ePortfolios as a method of assessment.’  Michele O’Sullivan and Geraldine Lavin, Dublin City University, Ireland.     Pilot introduction of ePortfolio reflective journal assessment for first year business students on a ‘Creativity and Discovery’ module at DCU Business School. Reflective Exercises from last year with assessment amended to first encourage use of ePortfolios and allow time for students to get to grips with the system. Exercises are based on course topics with students required to conduct independent research and reflections in 6 assignments. These are then compiled into a reflective journal which students have to do some more reflections on their core learning on this module.   The session will provide an overview and focus upon key activities;
    • Encouraging Students’ Early Engagement
    • Evaluating Start-Up Issues
    • Learning Outcomes and Feedback


11.50-12.20 Research Papers:  Your choice from:

  • ‘Students’ and teachers’ perceptions about the use of ePortfolios as learning tools in the Early Years Education Degree in Mondragon Unibertsitatea.’  Sirats Santa Cruz, Nagore Ipiña and Eugenio Astigarraga, Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Spain.  The use of portfolios in higher education is becoming commonplace (Clark & Eynon, 2009). In fact, eportfolios have been used to organize, design and assess students learning processes (Bahous, 2008) as well as to collect experiences and reflect on them (Hartnell-Young et al., 2007). Moreover, eportfolios can also promote dialogue and understanding about learning and development among teachers and students (Rodriguez Illera, 2009). The aim of the present study is to analyse students’ and teachers’ perceptions about the use of eportfolios as learning tools. The research was carried out in the Faculty of Humanities and Education from Mondragon Unibertsitatea in the Early Years Education Degree. Data was gathered by means of 2 semi-structured interviews conducted with the teachers and 2 focus groups with 1st year students. Results show that eportfolios are considered significant tools for students to foster self-reflection about learning and personal and professional growth. Likely, teachers believe that eportfolios are important tools to foster learning and to get to know students deeply. However, students found difficulties to understand the aim of the eportfolio and the nature of the evidences. Teachers agreed that more criteria to mentor the progress of students’ learning process is needed. Conclusions drawn from this study show that explicit training on eportfolios is necessary to foster awareness on the importance of reflective practices for learning.    
  • ‘Where am I? Where am I going? Navigating the Higher Education experience with the Plymouth Compass.’ Emma Purnell, and Lynne Wyness, University of Plymouth, UK. The Plymouth Compass is a framework of future-facing capabilities, values, and attributes that encompass the academic, civic, professional and personal aspects of student (and graduate) life. Within this there are four key dimensions that aim to help graduates navigate an unpredictable future; the critical and creative learner, the sustainable and global citizen, the competent and confident professional, and the resilient and thriving individual. To help students navigate through their experience at Plymouth and to support them to develop these key attributes the University has put in place a University wide, interactive Compass ePortfolio that this session will demonstrate and discuss.This presentation charts the development of the Plymouth Compass framework before going on to share the development and initial use of the Compass Portfolio, an e-portfolio designed to facilitate student reflection on their engagement with, and development of, the attributes, its intent was to provide an interactive space for students in which to self-assess, reflect on ‘critical moments of learning’, and gather chronological evidence of their progression (JISC, 2009). The presentation reports findings and recommendations from initial use in a range of academic contexts.
  • ‘Integration of Reflective ePortfolio Practice with Authentic Assessment for Visualising Teamwork Skills Attainment and Awareness: a Model System for STEM Disciplines.’  Patsie Polly, UNSW Sydney, Australia.  Presentation of the teamwork capability is challenging in undergraduate STEM degree programs, as the focus for students is usually on acquiring and understanding discipline-specific content. In the Bachelor of Medical Science program-UNSW Sydney, a program-wide Comprehensive Teamwork Learning and Assessment (CTLA) model was developed and applied by aligning assessment tasks in program-wide courses longitudinally and transversely across discipline, with focus on building teamwork skills. CTLA combines ePortfolio pedagogy, curricular assessment of teamwork-based tasks coupled with co-curricular assessment using self and peer evaluation of teamwork skills. Application of the CTLA model in STEM disciplines at higher education institutions will be discussed as an approach for recognising undergraduate student professional skills development, reflective practice and data capture by integrating ePortfolio pedagogy with skills awareness and evaluation. The teamwork skill was the focus of this research at UNSW Sydney – an Australian, research intensive, ‘Group of Eight’ university. The issue that will be addressed is ‘how can data in reflective ePortfolios and rubrics that evaluate skills translate into badges?’
  • ‘Do ePortfolios measure up as a strategy to assess Learning Gain? A pilot study.’  Alfredo Gaitan and Diana Pritchard, University of Bedfordshire, UK.  This paper follows on from a proposal we made at the International Seminar in 2016 to use ePortfolios to assess Learning Gain, in the context of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in the UK (Gaitán & Pritchard, 2017). We identified the components of the learning process that students’ ePortfolios tend to capture and the advantages over using other ‘proxies’ or quantitative metrics. We also suggested three options of how to collect data. This time, we will present the results of a pilot longitudinal study of 15 students’ ePortfolios over three years to identify achievements.

Lunch, followed by:

A triplet of stories: the masses, the individuals and the audience.’

A PebblePad sponsored session by Shane Sutherland

13.45-14.40 Workshops:  Your choice from:

  • ‘Harnessing an unconference approach to develop ePortfolio competencies.’  Lisa Donaldson, and Orna Farrell, DCU, Karen Buckley, Hibernia College, and Julie Ui Choistealbha, Marino Institute of Education, Ireland.  This workshop aims to increase awareness of the possibilities for facilitating flexible professional learning through an unconference. Traditionally conferences have been a mechanism for people to engage in focused professional learning within the confines of a pre-designed conference schedule. Budd et al (2015) states the most meaningful professional learning at conferences tends to occur at the coffee breaks when delegates are free to engage in open dialogue. An unconference is a dynamic participant-driven conference which features discussion and collaboration at its core to support professional learning. This interactive session will outline the process and outcomes of an eportfolio unconference recently hosted at Dublin City University which aimed to support and develop eportfolio practitioner competencies in Irish higher education.


  • ‘My Experience – Recognising Prior Learning (RPL) with an ePortfolio assessment tool.’  Gavin Clinch, IT Sligo and Carina Ginty, GMIT, Ireland. The workshop will present on the development of an e-portfolio for the assessment and recognition of prior learning. A dedicated information website at was created to provide relevant information on RPL and define the different mechanisms of assessment. This links to the e-Portfolio application tool which was created in Moodle which provides for assessment of learning. As a paperless tool, it provides an electronic submission of evidence and allows the learner to submit their portfolio in a sequence of stages resulting in the creation of a professional RPL e-Portfolio which includes for certified learning; experiential learning; references; work experience outputs and motivational statements.


  • ‘Developing the Digital Capabilities of the Health and Care Workforce in the United Kingdom.’  Richard Price and Susan Kennedy, Health Education England, UK.  The best patient care is only possible if the digital capabilities of the health workforce are fully developed. However, digital capabilities in the UK health workforce are extremely mixed.  To tackle this challenge, we developed a digital capability framework for health and care that can be used across sectors and industries to tackle the upskilling of the workforce and to develop digital capability, confidence and reduce inequality.  Our research indicates that e-portfolios need to map to a digital capabilities framework to give individuals the opportunity to reflect on their own capabilities and build a positive relationship with technology and innovation.In this workshop, we will explore what it means to be digitally literate including exploring the different domains of capability and how our digital capability framework maps to the capabilities required of the health and care workforce.  This session explores individuals developing their digital capabilities through self-assessment, personalised learning and exploring opportunities for recording achievement in an e-portfolio.


  • ‘E-portfolios in Degree Apprenticeships.’ Clara Andres and David Taylor, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. This workshop will discuss the strategies and support needed to overcome key challenges for degree apprenticeships e-portfolios. Throughout the experience of the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship at MMU and group discussions, we aim to evaluate how e-portfolios can support the development of skills and behaviours in degree apprenticeships and the ability to bridge two learning environments, the university and the workplace. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to recognize the key points to consider before implementing the use of the e-portfolio in a degree apprenticeship programme.


14.45-15.45 Research Papers/Workshops/Ignite sessions.  Your choice from: 

  • Extended Research Paper. ‘Developing critical thinking through ePortfolio based learning: an exploration of the experiences of online distance learners.’  Eportfolios and more Orna Farrell  This paper reports on a recent study which explored the nature of the learning experience with an eportfolio and whether it enhanced the development of critical thinking among online distance learners. The project adopted a case study approach, following twenty-four online distance learners over the course of one academic year. The research question for the study was: How can eportfolios enhance the nature of the learning experience and the development of critical thinking among online distance learners? Data were generated using the participant eportfolio entries and two-time semi structured interviews. The participants were interviewed with their eportfolios, written, visual and physical artefacts from the participant’s eportfolios were used as stimulus during the interviews. The analytical approach for the study was thematic analysis, a data led approach following the Braun & Clarke (2006) six phases of thematic analysis. The findings were presented into five themes, which demonstrated the multifaceted nature of learning experiences with an eportfolio and its relationship with the development of critical thinking for online distance learners. The themes were; being an online distance learner, the experience of learning with an eportfolio, my approach to learning, thinking critically in my eportfolio, the sociology discipline context. Findings indicate that learning with an eportfolio can enhance the nature of the learning experience by providing learners with a personal space to evaluate their own learning, to process their thoughts and experiences and to document their lives and learning in an authentic and meaningful way. In addition, the findings suggest that learning with an eportfolio can enhance the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions within a disciplinary context.  
  • Research Paper. ‘What Difference Does It Make? Using Evidence and Experience from an ePortfolio to get a Job (and more).’  Paul Richards and Emma Purnell, University of Plymouth, UK. This proposal features the experiences of 4 different students using an ePortfolio at Plymouth University plus subsequent impact: two stage 2 students nearly finishing their volunteering module, a stage 3 student who captured and developed evidence from her volunteering experience to secure a graduate job, and the experience of an alumni using ePortfolio. This proposal represents an update from a previous presentation detailing the setup of a volunteering portfolio providing student voice to feedback on the usefulness of an ePortfolio based learning approach in developing employability and study skills from experience.The presentation examines the use of a structured eportfolio to promote reflective practice, self-assessment of work-based strengths and weaknesses together with action plans to address them -supported by technology (Chatterton and Rebbeck 2015). The ePortfolio is individually tailored to career interests focussing on gathering evidence of specific skills and behaviours in preparation for the recruitment processes. Video accounts of feedback are utilised to detail the benefits like boosting confidence for job assessment centres and making the most of the academic opportunities provided by developing employability skills through Personal/Professional Development Planning activities such as skills auditing, action planning, continuous and conscious reflection (Simatele, 2015).

AND Ignite sessions:

  • ‘The implementation of an institutional employability award at Durham University.’ Donna Hay and Denise McBride, Durham University, UK. In 2017, Durham University launched an online, three strand university wide employability award. Built on Durham’s ‘Graduate Qualities’ it encompasses the student lifecycle from transition from school into an academic department through to their transition out into a workplace or further study. It was instigated in reaction to feedback from employers – and students themselves – that they left third level education unable to fully explain the value of their experience. This appeared problematic to Durham, who as a collegiate university, are proud of the many extracurricular and volunteering opportunities that students undertake.PebblePad was purchased to facilitate the efficient deployment and management of the award at scale. Its three strands; college, departmental and the ‘capstone’ employability award are scaffolded by interactive workbooks.  Students are required to develop an ePortfolio in order to submit for the Award, but engagement is optional. 111 students engaged in the first year of the award. Students are granted access at transition into the institution, then encouraged at regular opportunities to record/reflect on their development which is supported and validated by academic/ professional staff. The capstone award provides evidence of employability which employers assess.We will discuss the journey towards implementing the Award, its future and the challenges/successes we had working with 26 academic departments and 15 colleges whose support we relied on to validate the different components.  We suggest that final year is the best year for a student to submit as there are 3 components to the award that require a culmination of evidence.  One metric of success was the transition from a cumbersome, labour intensive paper-based award to this eportfolio, which can transition out with graduates as a foundation to their career-long PDP. We hope to share preliminary findings from our pilot and consider if this has improved the depth of students’ reflections.
  •  ‘Reflecting on employability skills when it’s only assessment scores that matter. Tracey Coppins, Keele University, UK.  Ignite presentation on the why and how an e-portfolio can lead to deeper learning. Time and time again, students tell us that they want to get a First or at worst, they just want to pass. Numerical assessments scores seem to hold value to students, so that they can measure their achievement yet at the same time encourage surface learning. Students admit that they want to know enough to get through the exams. We use a reflective pass/fail criteria e-portfolio to encourage students to reflect on employability skills and think about how they will use those skills as a professional pharmacist of the future thus promoting deeper learning.


  • Designing Training and a Community of Practice for a Campus-Wide ePortfolio Implementation.’  Miko Nino, Virginia Tech, USA.  This workshop will explore the design of a community of practice to assist faculty and administrators in the implementation of a campus-wide ePortfolio program. In this session, participants will focus on how a community of practice kept the levels of engagement in this implementation and how it provided resources for a successful use of ePortfolios on campus. A Community of Practice can be defined as a group of people with similar crafts, professions, or projects. As interactions within this CoP take place, knowledge, skills, and abilities can significantly increase and improve (Lave & Wenger, 1991). The goal of this CoP was bring together faculty and administrators interested in enhancing learning through the implementation of ePortfolio in their teaching or their programs.This session will start with a brief overview of the topics included in the community of practice and the type of activities that members engaged in. Participants of this workshop will complete a CoP design plan, using a course or program of their choosing as the facilitators goes over the content.


  • ‘Using Badges and ePortfolios to support Digital Capabilities.’ Fiona Harvey, University College of Estate Management, UK.  The University College of Estate Management is a vocational online university specialising in the built environment. The Digital Education team consists of six Online Education Technologists of varying abilities and experience. In order to raise their profile and to demonstrate their individual skills and competencies we developed a set of open badges which followed a digital literacies framework. Using an online eportfolio to capture evidence of their expertise, including their reflections on their practice, the team have been sharing expertise and developing skills together. All the badges are mapped against the Higher Education Academy Fellowship criteria as well as the values of the university. The session will explore the process, as well as an evaluation of the use of Pathbrite. It will highlight the processes and the characteristics of the process for gathering evidence and the experiences of the team.


  • ‘Two birds, one portfolio: utilising ePortfolios for assessment evidence of Teaching and Learning engagement.’  Briony Supple and Claire Fennell, University College Cork, Ireland. While a (paper/document-based) portfolio approach to assessment has been in place for students on the Certificate, Diploma and Masters qualifications in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education for a number of years, the recent move to delivering both the Certificate and Diploma via fully online mode warranted a natural progression towards electronically-based portfolios.The Certificate, Diploma and Masters qualifications in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education are underpinned by a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) approach. According to SoTL theorists such as Boyer (1990) and Shulman, (1993) in working to create parity of esteem between research and teaching, teaching should scrutinised the same ways as ‘traditional’ research by being open to peer review and available for public dissemination. Indeed good practice in SoTL requires that both the process of inquiry and the evidence (of good teaching and student learning) are public (Felten, 2013). These elements can often be difficult to capture, however the portfolio genre is perfect for doing so; the eportfolio even better (Bernstein & Bass, 2005). Exemplars of how teaching is going public via a course eportfolio model can be found here: presentation will report on the trial of an eportfolio platform over 2 semesters as part of the Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education qualification at UCC. The participants in this programme are staff who are required to submit a number of portfolio pieces over the semester which document their teaching and engagement in SoTL. I will highlight the pros and cons as experienced by both the teaching team and participants (students who are themselves lecturers), as framed by a SoTL approach.

16.05–17.00  Roundtables/Workshops.  Your choice from:

  • ‘E-Portfolios in initial teacher education (ITE) to promote reflection and professional development: a case study.’ Catherine Mulryan-Kyne and Suzanne Stone, Dublin City University, Ireland. Presentation of a case study in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in which e-Portfolios were created by undergraduate students to support the work of reflection and reflective practice across year 1 of a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) programme. Over 400 students worked on their e-Portfolios on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year to showcase their skills, abilities, values, experiences, and competencies through a broad range of evidence-based learning. This work was supported by weekly small group tutorials, focusing on reflection in the context of ongoing coursework and school experience. Workshops to introduce the technology (Mahara) and drop in sessions supported by student mentors were a key part of the work. The results of an evaluation of this work in year 1 of the programme will be presented. The development of the programme was based on extensive research on reflective practice and e-Portfolio pedagogy. The e-portfolio work has now been extended to years 2 and 3 of the B.Ed. programme, with over 1200 students involved and to the Professional Masters in Education programme.


  • ‘Lessons Learned from an ePortfolio Student Showcase: A Case Study.’ Miko Nino, Virginia Tech, USA.  In this session, the facilitator will use a case study of an ePortfolio student showcase at a higher education institution to document how learning took place in students and how it was evaluated. In addition, participants will learn key considerations when organizing a student showcase in terms of project management and recruitment of participants. This workshop will also focus on the strategies to prepare students in the process of creating competitive ePortfolios through a sound selection of artefacts and thorough documentation of learning processes in reflections. Moreover, this session will explore the learning evolution of those students who participated in the showcase and future steps they will take in terms of ePortfolios and authentic assessment. This session will highlight the importance of documenting learning with ePortfolios (Light, Chen, & Ittelson, 2012). The session will start with a description of the showcase, the process to organize it and to recruit students, best practices to prepare students, and the evaluation process. As the facilitator goes through this topic, participants will complete an activity in which they will get to start the planning of a showcase for their institutions, programs, or courses. They will work in groups to complete this activity.


  • ‘Evolving Digital Student Records: A report on the Comprehensive Learner Record Project in the U.S.’ Tom Green, Associate Executive Director, AACRAO, and Amelia Parnell, NASPA USA.  Efforts to reinvent student records in a digital environment are emerging worldwide. One high-profile effort is being conducted jointly by two of America’s largest professional organizations, AACRAO and NASPA. Supported by two multi-million dollar grants, the Comprehensive Learner Records (CLR) project developed various digital records models and is now scaling the adoption of CLR’s in colleges and universities. This session will explore how student records can capture, record and report student learning both inside and outside the classroom.


  • ‘PREPARE: Promoting reflective practice in the training of teachers using ePortfolios.’ Gerd Bräuer. University of Education Freiburg, Germany.  Most recently the use of (e)portfolios as a means of teaching and learning has been implemented in the legal guidelines of many universities in Germany. Nevertheless, these institutions often show great resistance when it comes to implementing portfolios and establishing reflective practice in the centre of a changing culture of instruction. The EU-sponsored project, PREPARE, aims for the development of a political agenda to strengthen the requirement of reflective practice in the training of teacher students as a central means of self-regulation in the profession. Different types of school internships have been used as areas of research in this project in order to identify the necessary systemic change in the collaboration among interns and between interns, their instructors at the university and their school mentors. This roundtable will be an opportunity to learn about the project results and further discuss the political agenda (draft) as a response to the resistance shown by many universities required to use (e)portfolios.


Day 3 

ePortfolios and the emerging digital landscape: synergies, tensions and opportunities. 

Working together on:

  • Articulating perspectives on ePortfolios in the context of the present and future digital landscape…
  • Consolidating our learning and considering how we might work collaboratively in the future.

09.00  Registration (day delegates only).

09.30  Final Parallel session opportunity. Your choice from:

L. ‘Designing an ePortfolio Curriculum: Possible Models, Possible Opportunities.’

Kathi Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English, Florida State University, USA.  Member, AAEEBL Board, Susan Kahn, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Member, AAEEBL Board, Helen Chen, Stanford University and Sharon Burns, Clermont College, USA.

One unexplored area in ePortfolio practice is what some call an ePortfolio curriculum, which includes two components, “the combined impact of the …process of learning and the …substance of content” (Matthews DeNatale). In this workshop/session, we explore ePortfolio curriculum in two ways. First, workshop facilitators will share four models of ePortfolio curriculum, one keyed to a holistic identity; a second designed for professional identity; a third emphasizing ePortfolio design and identity; and a fourth focusing on collateral learning and identity. Second, the workshop will engage participants in designing ePortfolio curricular elements keyed to the identity needs of their students.

M. ‘Digital Trailblazers: Developing Peer Leaders to Support Campus-Wide ePortfolio Use at Two Institutions in Two Countries.’ Daniel Auld, John Jay College – CUNY, USA and Lisa Donaldson, Dublin City University, Ireland.

Often students do not struggle with “technology”, but rather with understanding “the purpose” of a new technology and how it can suit their unique needs. In this session, hear how two institutions, one in New York and one in Dublin, supported student leader learning and engagement through the creation of professional ePortfolios to showcase their intellectual growth and plans to attain post-graduate success through attainment of their career goals. Further, learn how this empowerment included training to become ambassadors of ePortfolio on campus to support their fellow students’ ePortfolio creation.  We will:

  • Explore integrative learning techniques to engage students in the creation of professional ePortfolios focused on post-graduate goals;
  • Identify models of peer leader support for student populations using ePortfolio at two campuses in the US and Ireland;
  • Examine challenges and successes to both models.

N.   ‘When is a portfolio not a portfolio?’ Shane Sutherland, Pebblepad, UK.

‘ePortfolio’ is a slippery concept. As well as referring to systems, practices, processes and outputs, an eportfolio is oftentimes conflated with a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook site or a personal webpage. Is there such a thing as eportfolio-ness? Mechanically, portfolios are simply user-generated websites containing links to support assertions made within them. However, practitioners and portfolio proponents make the case that portfolios are much more than simple websites. We agree, and will use this session to explore a framework of characteristics which we hope will allow readers to assess the ‘portfolio-ness’ of any online digital presentation.

O.  ‘Using E-Portfolios to Capture Learning Gain from Work Placements.’ Lynsay Pickering and Ruth O’Riordan, University of Dundee, UK.

In this workshop, we’ll look at the recent innovations in our credit-bearing internship modules. These modules have been running for 12 years, teaching around 70 students per year.  This year we introduced an innovative assessment method – an e-portfolio designed to measure the learning gains achieved through work placements. Students are supported to gather evidence to demonstrate their abilities to overcome the module’s learning outcomes and are required to reflect on their work placement experiences.  Engagement with the e-portfolio helps students to enhance and apply their digital literacy skills, gain a better understanding of their professionalism, take ownership of the learning gain from the work placement and deepen their abilities to think reflectively.

At the heart of our new assessment approach is the notion that self-awareness is central to internship-learning. We’ll begin with a discussion of the role of self-awareness in our modules, setting this within a theoretical framework and with interactive analysis of our methods of teaching self-awareness (you’ll have a chance to try out some of our student activities and exercises!).

We’ll take you on a ‘guided tour’ of some student e-portfolios and discuss:

  • Challenges and opportunities in assessing student work placements
  • E-portfolio learning gains; enhanced digital literacy, peer learning and review, portability, self-awareness and self-reflection.
  • The Student Voice; a look at feedback from students on e-portfolio assessment.
  • The implications and applications for your own institutions and services.


10.40  From us to you: ‘ePortfolios and the emerging digital landscape: synergies, tensions and possibilities?’ Feedback from Members of the Seminar Planning Committee (including opportunities for small group discussion).

On from here: making the most of your experience in developing our community: e.g. around Special Interest Groups, in respect of research collaboration, resources development.

12.00 ‘The Comprehensive Learner Record in the Digital Age: Connecting to the Dublin Seminar’.  Amber Garrison Duncan, Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation.

12.45  Close.

View the seminar tweets here


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