Monday, August 03, 2009

Implementation of eportfolios for 'adult education tutors'

Late last week, the staff education and staff development team held a short meeting to discuss the implementation of eportfolios into the revised Diploma in Tertiary Learning & Teaching (DTLT) which replaces our current Certificates in Adult Teaching (CAT) and Diploma in Adult Education (DAE).
One of the courses for the ‘certificate’ part of the course is a ‘professional portfolio’ which will be run concurrently while students are completing five other ‘certificate’ courses. The ‘professional portfolio’ will involve students reflecting on their journey as they ‘become teachers’. Evidence of their growing skills, knowledge and confidence as teachers may be collated in an eportfolio. Therefore it was a good forum to discuss the rational for implementing eportfolios.
To start with, the team were distributed several articles including one from Educause on portfolios to webfolios & beyond:- levels of maturation. Also this one from Educause which gives a good overview on eportfolios, from a more traditional viewpoint.

I am more interested in seeing the use of Web 2.0 eportfolios as summarised by Helen Barrett in this diagram which builds on work by Derek Wenmouth and Sonia Guilana. Out tutors might not be ready for the big wide world of Web 2.0 eportfolios, but as staff educators, we need to be able to promote examples which reflect the future of education. The implementation of the use of eportfolios in the ‘professional portfolio’ will also eventually be followed on my the use of eportfolios for internal CPIT processes exampled by new tutor induction & probation, ongoing academic staff appraisals, professional development portfolios, websites for staff to showcase their work and promotions. Some programmes are also considering the use of eportfolios as an assessment option. Therefore is it important for the staff education team to model not so much ‘best practice’ but ‘informed practice’.

The educational reasons for using portfolios are varied but recent moves in theories of learning indicate that individuals’ learning are influenced directly via their interaction with the various social cultural arenas the live within. An article which provides good back ground is by Hodkinson, Biesta & James (2008). This article discusses the dualist nature of learning as being based on either individual or social and replaces this view with the use of the ‘becoming’ metaphor to help understand learning as being more holistic. Portfolios are one way to try to record the ephemeral nature of learning, the tacit, ‘informally’ learnt, often not described in learning outcome skills, knowledge and attitudes that constitute authentic learning. Teaching is but one occupation which is often learnt more from ‘conversations in the corridors & staff room’ than from reading books on educational theory. Portfolios (be they e or not e) may assist in helping learners to place credence on some of these encounters & to reflect on whether these conversations lead to improved teaching practice.


Ray Tolley said...

Hi, Selina,

NZ is certainly going through the e-Portfolio investigation processes at all levels. I've been following their activities for some time now!

However, I think that adult education is a specific area that needs attention. Here in the UK we are in a similar position. Although a firm student of DR Helen Barrett, I personally believe that 'cloud computing' is not the best approach for a broad and general body of learners who may not all want to get into the more 'techie' bits of self-representation - many just want a job!

I would therefore like to 'chat' with you and your colleagues further about working with e-Portfolios for adults.

You can see more of my thinking at the links below.

Best Wishes,
Ray Tolley FEIDCT, NAACE Fellow, MBILD
ICT Education Consultant
Maximise ICT Ltd
Winner of the IMS 'Leadership Regional Award 2009'

Term said...

Nice post.

Thanks for sharing

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Selena said...

Hi Term,

thanks, for encouragement, Selena.

Term said...

Wow! That's very interesting. The benefits are obviously many. I will have to check out

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