Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Hibernia College, with the support of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, are working together on a six-month project entitled An ePortfolio strategy to enhance student learning and assessment, and staff professional development.
This project has been funded by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2016 (Building Digital Capacity).
Paper-based portfolios have been used in education for many years. More recently, as a majority of materials created and used by staff and students in their academic work is born digital, the ePortfolio has emerged as an authentic and more effective option, allowing portfolio owners to curate and manage their digital footprint and identity across multiple thresholds, using a variety of media. ePortfolios can foster a mode of learning and assessment that is student-centred and promote critical thinking and reflection by putting an onus on students themselves to demonstrate how their work meets the stated learning outcomes of a programme of study.
For staff, ePortfolio use can promote a new approach to thinking about curriculum and digital literacy, opening up paths to new forms of pedagogy and knowledge previously difficult to incorporate in traditional modes of teaching and assessment. However, while such benefits are acknowledged within the sector, the formal deployment of ePortfolios has been slower across academic programmes.
This project seeks to foster new ways to encourage academic staff to reap the benefits that ePortfolios can bring to academic programmes of the future by encouraging them to re-think their curricula in light of the possibilities offered by digital technologies. It is intended that the ePortfolios will be used to fulfil a number of assessment purposes that can encourage students to become more autonomous learners: from being able to design a personal development plan, to negotiate their learning pathway and to agree how they present evidence of their learning at different stages of this process. In consequence, it seeks to provide students and staff alike with a perspective on learning that connects academic work to their broader digital literacy and working lives outside of formal learning.