Eportfolios: theory hits reality like a smack in the face

I’ve spent the week up close and personal with eportfolios. I love them! What a challenge. I can’t imagine a better way for demonstrating evidence of learning outcomes on a course designed for teaching and learning in a digital age. eportfolios step you  outside the confines of a Word document. Hyperlinks and multimedia bring your assignment to life. This is creative non-fiction at its best. Neither frivolous nor irrelevant but bringing students and tutors face to face with digital literacies and digital scholarship. Higher education needs to loosen up. Explore the affordance of digital communication. Engage students in the application of their digital worlds to education.  

As far back as 2008 JISC’s Learner’s Experience of elearning showed students arrive on campus with a variety of digital tools but little idea of how they can be used for learning. The Great Expectations of ICT report in 2007 found use of the internet and social media was the norm for those planning to come to university.  The tools are all in place. We need to reinvent how we use them for teaching and learning. The divide between those comfortable with the technology and those still resisting engagement continues to widen and deepen. As learning curves get steeper individuals stay within their comfort zones. I understand. I cant use refworks. I get lost in GoogleX. As for the Blackboard Grade Centre I might as well give up and go home.

Coming face to face with the reality of using eportfolios for assessment has been a shock, a surprise and a revelation.  More difficult than I anticipated but this is what happens when the theory hits the fan. Properly resourced and supported, eportfolios, may be an answer to encouraging toe dipping into digital waters, extending what is known, exploring what isn’t. I’ve been impressed with my eportfolio experience. It hasn’t been easy but nothing worth while ever is. I think there ‘s scope for revisiting how eportfolios can support digital graduate attributes, teacher education and staff development.  I for one would be happy to take this forward.

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