Institutional & Tutor Findings
E-portfolios are more effective if the activities are designed to take advantage of the additional benefits offered by the online environment. This means that careful consideration needs to be made when converting existing paper-based portfolios to e-portfolios.
Local teachers/tutors/supervisors/mentors are in the best position to support their students in engaging with the e-portfolios.
Staff using e-portfolios with learners need to be involved at the early stages of any new initiative to get their buy-in.
Staff using e-portfolios with learners need to have training and support. This includes the need for preparation time for staff to plan how best to use the new technology most effectively with learners.
Findings related to change
With any new e learning technology, it seems preferable to have keen volunteers to try it out first. They are less likely to get frustrated with difficulties as you pilot the use of the technology.
Resistance to change is always a barrier particularly where existing practice is successful and no big driver exists to move away from existing practice. The additional benefits of such technology would need to be clearly stated and demonstrated.
Try to implement one change at a time. Changing both established practice and introducing new technology at the same time can be problematic.
Findings related to assessment
Electronic assessment of portfolios will be new practice for most staff. Some will be very resistant to giving up be able to flick through paper portfolios. However, others will find it easier particularly in terms of being able to mark in multiple locations with the need to carry bulky paper portfolios. It would appear that the reaction of staff to marking online depends very much on personal preferences.
It would appear that making the e-portfolio optional, especially as part of assessed courses, will not help take up of new technology. Students are acutely aware of the importance of assessment and do not like to feel that they may be at a perceived disadvantage (real or otherwise) because the way they are preparing their work differs from what other students are doing.
Findings related to the learner
The use of technology is not a barrier for learners in using the e-portfolio. Most did not find the e-portfolio difficult to use.
It is the content and purpose of the e portfolio that dictates the level of usage not the technology.
Learners and staff felt that using an e-portfolio in helping to think about transition to University was useful.
Support for the learners e-portfolio activities from tutors / teachers / mentors was an important ingredient in helping learners.
To see more details on the findings click on the Case Studies link