In this section:
Deployment and trialling of e-portfolios to promote skills development amongst Bioscience undergraduates
This project involved the implementation of an on-line portfolio system for use with Bioscience students with the following aims:
A generic e-portfolio system will be adapted for and piloted with Bioscience undergraduates within the School of Cell and Molecular Biosciences at Newcastle University (annual intake approximately 240) to evaluate its effectiveness in achieving these aims. This project will inform the HE sector on the appropriateness of an ePortfolio approach for skills development in Biosciences and deliver a public demonstrator.
Outcomes and downloads
A generic e-portfolio system was customised for the needs of bioscience students and comprises a number of areas, including a CV-building tool, a learning diary and an action-planning tool. Importantly the portfolio also includes an area for students to record skills development, and the lists of subject-specific and generic skills that form the framework for this map to our degree programme outcomes. Students can also record meetings with their personal tutor. This links across to our undergraduate database so that students who have not recorded meetings with their tutor at appropriate times can be identified and e-mailed with a reminder. Links are provided from the portfolio to appropriate sites, for example the University Careers Centre website. There is also a section where students can attach documents that do not fit elsewhere.
Originally the intention was to pilot the portfolio system with students in the first and second years of their degree programme. In the course of the project the potential for using this in conjunction with the final year research project became apparent and efforts were concentrated accordingly. The project area of the portfolio is used by students in the first instance to select their projects. After the projects are allocated electronically students are then encouraged to use the e-portfolio to record progress in the project. Sections include an overview of the project, which the student must supply, aims, objectives and tasks, a tool for recording supervisory meetings (the record can also be accessed by the supervisor), achievements relating to the project, skills acquired, and a log of progress with the written project report. Ultimately the project dissertation is submitted electronically from the e-portfolio system.
During the project students were encouraged to use the e-portfolio but this was not compulsory. In future the e-portfolio record may be made a required part of the research project submission, as this could be part of the evidence taken into account in the mark the student is awarded for 'process' (this mark is separate from the mark for the written report and takes into account the competence and professionalism shown by the student, including such criteria as time-management, record-keeping, interpersonal skills, and initiative in organising own work). For the future, the intention is to focus more on the potential of the portfolio as a career-planning tool. To this end we propose to develop a portfolio-linked exercise for stage 2 students.
Details of the customisation and implementation of the ePortfolio for Bioscience were included in:
Cotterill SJ., McDonald AM., Drummond P., Hammond GR. (2004) Design, implementation and evaluation of a 'generic' ePortfolio: the Newcastle experience. Proc. ePortfolios, 2004 (ISBN 2-9524576-0-3)
PM, Jowett T, Heseltine L, Scougall K. (2005) Implementing ePortfolios: adapting technology to suit pedagogy and not vice-versa ! Proc. ePortfolios, 2005
Papers available at: http://www.eportfolios.ac.uk/docs