INCORPORATION AND REVIEW OF E-PORTFOLIOS IN A GRADUATE EDUCATION PROGRAM ED4LIFE; WHY DEVELOPMENT AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL IS A VALUABLE STEPPING STONE
The changing landscape in education coupled with labor market policy and demands has resulted in third level education being placed under increasing pressure to produce graduates with employability skills (generic skills e.g. communication, teambuilding, problem solving, writing, digital literacy) needed for the evolving workplace. Graduate education programs are under duress to incorporate training in these graduate competencies in courses; the challenge lies as to how can these competencies effectively be assessed? E-portfolio incorporation and development encourages graduates and employees to consider their studies and experiences in a wider career development context. They can serve as an archive of the student’s graduate experiences, achievements, training and reflections on their learning process. Development of an e-portfolio enables graduates to document their learning, set their own personal development plan, and identify skill gaps through review of and reflection on their e-portfolio content. With the emergence of Web 2.0 tools, learners can now add an extra dimension to their portfolio work e.g. through for example blogs acting as reflective journals, use of wikis in review writing and audio and video clips as evidence of presenting skills and a demonstration of group dynamics.
This paper reviews the incorporation of e-portfolios in a range of settings from undergraduate level, work placement and a structured PhD program ed4life. We discuss the goals of the e-portfolio and share our experience and challenge of engaging students in the reflective process and the taking ownership of their personal learning space which is central to the e-portfolio process. We examine the e-portfolio’s infrastructure, its pedagogical significance and our personal experience in engaging students in portfolio development. We critique the range of available e-portfolio software (free and license-based) and deliberate whether licensed software is more valuable and cost effective. We also reflect on our experience in championing the e-portfolio concept to key stakeholders and the limited resistance to its incorporation.