DEVELOPING AN ELECTRONIC ASSESSMENT OF PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO. THE SOUTHAMPTON EXPERIENCE
This work-in-progress paper will report on the approach adopted by the University of Southampton to develop an eAoPP for use within pre-qualifying healthcare programmes. The drivers behind the development include: enhancing the student experience, the escalating costs and time spent in moderation and production of the paper based system, problems relating to fraudulent entries, loss of the paper based documentation and associated issues with confidentiality. Whilst the key drivers made financial sense and promised increases in quality assurance, the complexity of the project presented several hurdles.
The eAoPP enables students to instantly record practice experiences along with practice based formative and summative assessments undertaken throughout their training. The achievement and accurate recording of this material is essential to meet professional body requirements and to allow entry to the professional register on programme completion. It is hoped that the same eAoPP will provide the basis for an on-going record of continuing professional development for life-long learning.
We are seeing this as a utilitarian portfolio where, although the owner ‘owns’ the content in their e-portfolio, we enable those who have the permission to do so to interact with that contact. Furthermore, we track that interaction so what is a created is a comprehensive account of a student journey on a defined ‘pathway’. We are anticipating that the eAoPP will assist the student and those that are supporting them to get from ‘course commencement’ to ‘first post’.
One of the first issues to be addressed was developing a system that would cope with the large numbers of National Health Service (NHS) and private sector staff that support our students over their three year programme. Further confounding factors were concerns over digital literacies of NHS staff and access to hardware. This required that the system developed was highly intuitive, and was supported by a robust programme of education and resources to support practice assessors.
A secondary issue was managing the complexity of working with several NHS trusts and private, voluntary sector providers with differing perspectives on information governance, sharing of data and consent. Finally, the team wanted to get true service user involvement in the project.
There are two specific aims of this project during this stage of the project:
• To observe, document and understand how eAoPP is embedded in the curriculum and what tasks, training, processes are useful to academic staff and eAoPP users (students and practice assessors).
• To observe, document and understand how the eAoPP is used to meet professional body requirements when submitted as a means of assessment.
The team will present the initial student and practice assessor evaluations, highlighting areas of good practice, lessons learnt and where future work needs to be directed. The results of the online surveys and focus groups will feed back into development of the support model for the eAoPP and how we ensure that the emerging needs of the diverse practice education team will be met now and in the future. Moreover, we believe the results of this evaluation will be relevant to the wider e-portfolio community as many Higher Education Institutions are grappling with these issues as they move from pilot phases to wider implementation.