ePortfolios throught the lookng glass: Projecting our learning into the future
Keywords130306 Educational Technology and Computing
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
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AbstractThis opinion paper was birthed in the reflective conversations between two higher education academics whose combined knowledge and experience spans ten years of Australian ePortfolio research and practice. A number of questions fed those conversations reflecting on the past, present and future for ePortfolio use in Australia. In offering this paper we hope to stimulate a wider collective reflection and conversation about current ePortfolio practice and how we might envisage the future. The <i><a href="https://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2016-higher-education-edition/">NMC Horizon Report Higher Education Report 2016</a></i> predicts an increase in blended learning, bring-your-own device (<i>BYOD</i>) and a shift towards deeper learning that will link learner autonomy, graduate attributes and real-world experiences to help students transition to the workplace. The report also sees a significant challenge in students connecting formal and informal learning experiences. The challenge for ePortfolio advocates is demonstrating how to respond effectively to these trends. The AeP project, commissioned by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (<i>ALTC</i>) in 2007 found a strong interest in ePortfolio use for student reflection and evidencing of skills across Australian universities. The later AeP.2 project sought to develop an ePortfolio community of practice, which over time evolved into the Australian ePortfolio Forum (Hallam et al. 2008, 2009). Since that time ePortfolio implementation has gained traction in institutional, faculty, program/course or course/unit implementations across universities. There is still strong interest in ePortfolio use for professional accreditation and career enhancement, and the development of reflective practice and other pedagogical outcomes. Implementation, however, is not an easy process (Slade et al. in press) but we can project our learnings and experiences into thinking about the future of ePortfolios. Students are the key ePortfolio users in higher education, but there are other important stakeholders, such as staff, institutions and early adopter industry groups, to consider. In particular, we need to understand the systemic barriers and advocate change with industry and accrediting bodies to facilitate improved ePortfolio uptake. We know there are still other areas of ePortfolio practice that could be enhanced, such as ePortfolios in student placements, employability and integration with co-curricular activities or newer areas like learning analytics. This raises a number of questions which we can discuss together. Maybe we need another audit to measure progress, a think tank involving collaboration of stakeholder groups for strategic planning or an idea from left-field. Whatever the case, we are eager to hear the opinions of the ePortfolio collective….so let the conversation begin!