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ePortfolios are increasingly being seen as an important learning and teaching tool for University students. Our goal at USC is to give all students and staff access to their own ePortfolio by the end of 2016.

What is an ePortfolio?

  • ePortfolios are repositories of digital written, visual and auditory artifacts created, stored and shared at the discretion of the learners. (Slade and Readman 2013).
  • An ePortfolio is the product, created by the learner, a collection of digital artefacts articulating experiences, achievements and learning. Behind any product, or presentation, lie rich and complex processes of planning, synthesising, sharing, discussing, reflecting, giving, receiving and responding to feedback. These processes – referred to here as ‘e-portfolio-based learning’ – are the focus of increasing attention, since the process of learning can be as important as the end product. (JISC 2008: 6).

ePortfolios can be used by staff and students for a wide range of purposes including:

  • assessment and feedback
  • reflective practice
  • scaffolding student learning
  • conversations and sharing; teacher to student, student to student, student to employer or professional body etc
  • evidence of learning and achievement for work integrated learning, professional accreditation and job applications.

The 3 minute YouTube video e-portfolios for starters explains how an ePortfolio might be used by a University staff member.

What is PebblePad?

The ePortfolio technology USC has chosen to implement is PebblePad because it places the student at the centre of their learning whilst providing powerful tools for staff to structure, guide and assess that learning. The Pebble Pad introductory video shows its versatility in supporting learning, assessment, professional development and more. See also PebblePad case studies.

ePortfolio implementation at USC

2014-2016 - ePortfolio implementation phase

Building on the previous feasibility project and early adopters phase in 2013, C-SALT staff are currently working with academics across the University to incrementally increase the availability and adoption of Pebble Pad ePortfolios, with a goal that by 2016 all students and staff will have access to their own ePortfolio.

2013 - Early adopter phase

The work of the feasibility study in 2012 supported an Early Adopter Phase in 2013 using PebblePad ePortfolios. Two programs (the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and the Masters of Midwifery) implemented ePortfolios.

2012 - Feasibility phase

Determining how to approach the embedding of ePortfolios can be a challenge in a changing institutional environment. In late 2012 the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT) undertook a six month feasibility study investigating the opportunities for USC academics, teaching support staff and students to use an ePortfolio, in the context of the University’s strategic commitment to high quality blended learning and teaching. The project team believed there was sufficient evidence, based on pedagogical and professional feedback from a diverse number of learning and teaching areas within the University, to recommend USC implement an ePortfolio tool for student use.

The value of ePortfolios on pedagogical grounds was found to be reflective practice, assessment and feedback opportunities, evidence of competencies, experiential and work-integrated learning, and evidence for graduate attributes. Professional reasons included enhanced employability; evidence of competencies; tool for graduates to provide evidence for ongoing accreditation. Additionally, feedback from a number of staff respondents indicated a desire to use an ePortfolio for continuing professional development and reviews, as well as career enhancement and employability reasons.

Project Publications
  • Slade, C. Readman, K. 2013, ‘New Pedagogical e-spaces: Keeping pace with staff readiness’, In Frielick, S, Buissink-Smith, N, Wyse, P, Billot, J, Hallas, J & Whitehead, E (eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education: The Place of Learning and Teaching,      Vol. 36, pp.433-443, Auckland, New Zealand, 1-4 July 2013
  • Slade, C, Murfin, K & Readman, K 2013, ‘Evaluating Processes and Platforms for Potential ePortfolio Use: The Role of the Middle Agent’, International Journal of ePortfolios, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 177-188
    Available: http://www.theijep.com/pdf/IJEP114.pdf
  • USC ePortfolio Journey: Past, Present and Future, Presentation at Learning and Teaching Week 26-30 August 2013, University of the Sunshine Coast video

More information

For more information about ePortfolios at USC contact:

Priscilla Trahar
Academic Developer 
Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching,
Tel: +61 7 5456 5130
Email: ptrahar@usc.edu.au 

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