This chapter presents a description and analysis of salient issues related to the development of an integrated e-portfolio application implemented at Massey University to help students track and accumulate evidence of skills developed over their period of study, particularly associated with the three core papers in the program. The Web-based e-portfolio project was initiated to help students provide evidence required by employers and research supervisors in a progressive and reflective manner by identifying the links across different papers and demonstrating their own conceptual understanding. Administrative issues are discussed, as well as considerations for future developments based on the experiences of this study.
E-learning is defined by the New Zealand Ministry of Education (2004, p. 3) as “learning that is enabled or supported by the use of digital tools and content. It typically involves some form of interactivity, which may include online interaction between the learner and their teacher or peers. E-learning opportunities are usually accessed via the Internet, though other technologies such as CD-ROM are also used in e-learning.” It would be an extremely rare tertiary institution that does not have a learning management system (LMS) for online delivery, and a body of staff already using it in their courses (Nichols & Anderson, 2005).
At Massey University we have acquired WebCT as the LMS since 2002 for delivery of courses at a distance. At Massey University we also use CMC platforms such as Horizon Wimba and Macromedia Breeze for conducting real-time meeting sessions with the distance students. We have about 20,000 extramural (distance) students which is double the number of internal (on campus) students.
Massey University postgraduate qualifications staircase (Figure 1), in education, permits students to tailor courses and programs in ways that are suitable and which accommodate a wide range of circumstances and needs. On the staircase, the qualifications commence with two-paper postgraduate certificates (commonly for individuals just starting postgraduate study). Thereafter, the qualifications include general and endorsed 100-point postgraduate diplomas and a wide range of 200-point masterates, and they culminate with doctoral study, either the EdD or the PhD.
Massey University postgraduate qualification staircase