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The implementation journey - Dumfries and Galloway College

Page history last edited by Jacquie Kelly 9 years, 8 months ago


Summary  Case study Home Page An overview of use The implementation journey 


Brief overview of the organisation and the e-portfolio implementation journey:   


The College's e-portfolio journey was initiated when participating in the ISLE project. The College has a commitment to widening participation and FE/HE partnerships, learner progression, retention and achievement and the significant development of e-learning. Alongside these aims the College was keen to implement Personal Development Planning (PDP) for our learners. These aims although part of the drivers for the College's initial e-portfolio they were further developed to include employability, showcasing themselves, celebrating achievement. A small staff project team was set up initially to include a Senior Manager (ISLE Steering group member, Programme Manager (ISLE Management group member), eLearning Coordinator, MIS manager and MIS programmer).  The College senior management and programme managers were kept informed of the College’s involvement in the project. During Phase 1 the involvement of pilot learner groups was limited to two cohorts, both at SCQF level 7. At this stage the College did not have access to an e-portfolio product and had no plans to purchase one. To facilitate involvement in phase 1 an HNC Childcare and Education group undertook a bridging module for the University of Paisley, now University of West of Scotland, at the Crichton campus and access to the University’s Blackboard e-portfolio was made available. For the second group of HND Computing learners, Bell College, now part of University of West of Scotland, hosted web access to the OSP e-portfolio they had developed.  The staff supporting the learners throughout phase 1 were supported by an introductory session on the ISLE project and what it was trying to achieve as well as through sessions in using the e-portfolio.  During phase 2 of the project the aim was to pilot the e-portfolio system and PDP in all curriculum areas within the College and Programme Managers were asked to identify a suitable learner group and tutor to participate. After considerable research into available systems the College developed and structured its own e-portfolio based on the Open Source product WordPress.  Staff were provided with briefing documentation, attended a training session provided by the ISLE Project Director and Project Manager on the background to the project and had access to follow-up support from the project team.  Learners were introduced to the project by their assigned tutor and received a training session(s) on the use of the e-portfolio system.  Additional user documentation for both learners and tutors was provided as well as sample e-portfolios.




The e-learning co-ordinator works across college but is responsible to the Assistant Principal to Curriculum. Although the Lead Practitioner is based within the department of Business, Computing and Sport and ultimately the Sports section, their work with e-portfolios has again been overseen by the Assistant Principal (Curriculum). The IS team is part of support services and the Assistant Principal in that area has supported the development work that has continued to happen.


Today there are over 1200 active users at all educational levels and in most academic areas of the College plus 3 other colleges in Scotland using the system. As part of a student's Individual Learning Plan a student records and reflects on their goals and provides a self assessment four times during the academic year.


In the first two years after introducing e-portfolios into the College's mainstream an evaluation of retention and achievement was carried out and a student evaluation video produced


Influential projects involving institution staff (internal and externally funded):

ISLE PROJECT 2005 - 07 (2 externally year funded project)  from Scotland's Colleges

Leap 2A 


Implementation journey milestones      

Date  Event 

What happened? What decisions were made? What was the rationale/evidence base? Who made the decision? Please include key documentation

2005 Sign up for ISLE PROJECT http://isle.paisley.ac.uk/default.aspx 10 partner institutions from Colleges and Universities worked together to look at how a shared model of Personal Development Planning supported by e-portfolios can benefit the learning process. The driving force for the College was employability and how we could enhance all students with self belief, celebrate achievement and prepare and encourage reflection and reflective practice. 
2006 Phase 1 ISLE Project Small beginning saw two cohorts with e-portfolios. One cohort used Blackboard's e-portfolio system provided to the College by Paisley University, now University of the West of Scotland, the other cohort used OSP, Open Source Portfolio, provided by Bell College, now part of University of the West of Scotland. Exemplar of use 1 - Dumfries and Galloway College
2006 College project meeting

At the end of Phase 1 and prior to Phase 2 a small College e-portfolio project team formed to discuss the findings so far and to develop a initial future strategy. Using the other institutions had provided us with some valuable information and it was felt that the language used would be to complex for students on access and FE courses. Ease of use was also considered as an important issue to our students. It was agreed that although a rigid structure would benefit staff it did not suit the different student levels from access to HE. To get the student to take ownership we required a system that they could influence. It was at this meeting that using a blogging system with some sort of developed educational structure would suit our needs. Wordpress was a bit player in blogging, the system was free and could be downloaded and installed to the College's network. It also did not require huge system resources and the licence agreement allowed us to develop on the based system.

2006 ePortfolio development UBUNTU O/S installed onto PC, Wordpress installed onto UBUNTU system incorporated into College Network, IT Manager acquires public URL and default e-portfolio. The project team had discussed what important information the default e-portfolio should contain such as cv, personal statement, college course undertaken and unit/module descriptions the course included, etc.

Phase 2 ISLE Project 

Exemplar of use 2 - Dumfries and Galloway College Cohorts identified and tutors invited to group training session with local and main project team. Varying degrees of success influenced by tutor enthusiasm and when students introduced. Individual cohort stories can be found using the following links. Access to Child Care, Access to Life and Leisure Studies, Advanced Certificate in Business Studies, Higher Health Care, HNC Childcare: Career Planning, HNC/HND Computing, HND Computing, Introduction Certificate in Construction, Introduction to Hairdressing 



End of Project review

Approximately 200 students had been involved. A decision to maintain at least the same level of activity was made by senior management while they assessed the next steps. At this time the College included the use of Individual Learning Plans for all students in the college which were paper based. I requested that these could be included in student e-portfolios. A pilot was agreed by Faculty Head and a cohort from computing and construction were identified. Development of an e-Portfolio Manager with student administration link agreed to allow the management and administration of e-portfolios to be done by academic and support staff. Tutorial Policy.pdf

Sept 2007  e-Portfolio Manager in place With the e-Portfolio Manager in place additional staff training prior to them using e-portfolios with their cohorts.  http://www.dgmyspace.dumgal.ac.uk/epmanager/



End of year review

During year approximately 800 students have used e-portfolios. Students were encouraged to contributed to adding to themes/skins for the system. Hardware specified to bring e-portfolios into the mainstream of college curriculum. Exemplar of use 3 - Dumfries and Galloway College Numbers had increased as staff and students who had seen students using e-portfolios had requested them. It was found however, that students starting in the middle of an academic year did not embrace their e-portfolios as much as those who had started the academic year with one. In general when students are introduced to their e-portfolio during induction or very early in their course they accept the e-portfolio as part of their course and not an add on.


An informal check of the two groups with electronic ILPs was carried out for retention and achievement. Surprisingly a marked increase in both retention and achievement was identified from the previous year. JISC included the College's journey in their infoKit "Effective practice with e-portfolios".

Sept 2008 Start Academic year

Senior management realise that e-portfolios are becoming part of mainstream teaching and learning and therefore increase their support. So additional hardware is purchased to which the system is transferred. Links to the college Moodle VLE (LearnNet) are created. So when a student has an e-portfolio created a link to it is placed on their VLE view. At the same time staff that have been identified as having access to the student's e-portfolio have a link placed on their VLE view. Additional features added to e-Portfolio Manager to select and add themes by individual or course group, individual unscheduled backup, export to IMS e-portfolio package and create website of e-portfolio for export.


The IMS export will allow a student to take their college e-portfolio, with all resources, with them and import it to another IMS compliant e-portfolio system. It is thought that Blackboard is one of these IMS compliant systems. Senior management identified that support staff rather than academic staff are to drive the students' use of e-portfolios. This was to provide a more structured Directed Study programme.

June 2009  
End of year review

Academic year finished with 1200 recorded e-portfolios active. During the year myself and Robert Brown (Lead Practitioner) had been asked to attend a number of events and conferences to show the College's work and promote the use of e-portfolios in general. Due to this activity a second college installed system to use in their institution and another interested. The college has continued licencing its development under the public access licence as Wordpress is and have uploaded development to Google. This means that the development is free however any advice or staff involvement is charged. Support staff had not been given training prior to meeting students and were unsure what to do in terms of activities so by the middle of academic year academic staff were timetabled to take over student e-portfolio activity. Exemplar of use 4 - Dumfries and Galloway College

Again the Leads had continued to present their work at individual and national events and the system was recognised as best practice with a number of organisations. Netskills a training arm of JISC include the Colleges system as part of their training. e-Portfolios are created and made available to Netskills for this purpose.



Start Academic year

A third college installed the College's system onto their systems for the new academic year.


A further development included the feature to lock uploaded files when marked so they cannot be changed giving more secure assessment validation. e-Portfolio as a College unit/module started appearing on non-HE student timetables.

June 2010 End of year review Academic year finished with 1400 recorded e-portfolios active. Pilot ran for students with i-phone to connect and upload. Requires system upgrade to newer version of Wordpress. Developments in pipeline to upgraded all future e-portfolios to allow easy mobile phone access. Also to include a Flash menu system on homepage which has been inspired by one of our partner colleges. Develop LEAP2 export facility. LEAP2 export will allow students to take their e-portfolio system and resources for import into another institution's e-portfolio system such as Moodle. Exemplar of use 5 - Dumfries and Galloway College
Sept 2010 Start Academic year  Due to other pressures the proposed development is not completed for start of academic year so will be included in next year's updates. However, a single sign on through Moodle has been developed. Development of an online staff development course started in conjunction with an eskills course initially developed by JISC Regional Support Centre (Scotland South and West). 
Post 2010    Future plans include getting the LEAP2 export facility in place, to develop import facilities for LEAP2 and IMS to complement the export facilities, to upgrade system for latest and secure Worpress release which will enhance mobile phone connection and upload and ease adding video content. Also new developments of Core Skills specifically mention the use of e-portfolio. Project work includes requirement to use the e-portfolio for logging activities and research. Summative Assessment 1 - Planning.doc


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