Enabling Professional Development with E-Portfolios: Creating a Space for the Private and Public Self

Enabling Professional Development with E-Portfolios: Creating a Space for the Private and Public Self

Simon Lygo-Baker (University of Surrey, UK) and Stylianos Hatzipanagos (King's College London, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5780-9.ch030
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Portfolios have been used for assessment in higher education as an alternative to exams and assignments. E-portfolios offer staff a digital technology that can be both a personalised learning space, owned and controlled by the learner, and a presentation tool which can be used for formal assessment purposes. However, this can result in a tension between process and product, where e-portfolios become electronic repositories of resources that simply tick boxes for career progression. The paper reports on a project that investigated the use of e-portfolios by teaching practitioners developing a critical portfolio of evidence for an award-bearing academic development programme. An e-portfolio had been adopted to address criticisms that conventional assessment fails to take account of the context in which teaching practitioners operate. The project aimed to enable teaching practitioners to access and gain familiarity with pedagogically sound e-portfolio opportunities. In addition, it aimed to foster a reflective approach, promote critical thinking focused on learning and teaching and enhance continuing professional development.
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Assessing Learning Through Portfolios In Higher Education

In the UK, stimulated by national policies (Dearing Report, 1997; HEFCE, 2003; Browne Report, 2010), the pressure on academic staff to be able to demonstrate continuing professional development in teaching has grown. Becher (1996) had shown that academic staff recognised a range of development activities, such as courses and networking. However, demonstrating how any new knowledge gained from these engagements has informed practice has always been problematic (Gibbs & Coffey, 2004). The portfolio, already used in a range of other professions to demonstrate the maintenance and development of learning (Stefani, n. d.), has increasingly been turned to in efforts to resolve this difficulty. The rationale for using portfolios for assessment of academic practice has been encouraged by the recent framework of national professional standards that the UK’s Higher Education Academy (HEA, 2006) has developed. For teaching practitioners in the UK, the HEA has been the body that accredits teaching and their focus has increasingly been on methods to demonstrate continuing professional development following the format used by a range of professional accreditation organisations.

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