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Birmingham City University, UK

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

Summary: e-portfolio implementation and use at Birmingham City University

 To visit the case study pages select:

Case study Home Page An overview of use The implementation journey

 

Key words: Birmingham City University, HE, UK, Higher Education, bottom-up, Mahara, Moodle, Champions, Teaching Fellows, New lecturers course, PDP, assessment

 

e-portfolios used since 2009. Tool used Mahara

 

Number of students and staff using e-portfolios

Number of staff logged in since 18/6/2010: 603 - actually uploaded something 257

Number of students logged in since 18/6/2010: 9027 -actually uploaded something 3828

Some students are using Mahara for collaboration/ group work rather than uploading as yet and so usage numbers are misleading and is somewhere between those who have logged in and those who have uploaded something.

 

What is distinctive about this implementation case study

  • The developments have been bottom-up initiated, i.e. staff demand led, with middle-through implementation of Mahara adopting an organic approach
  • Rapid uptake supported by an established network of Teaching Fellows and local champions within faculties where they have been interested - no cordinated push
  • Access through the institutional VLE Moodle has resulted in high use by students
  • The Professor for Learning Technologies within a central professional development unit and a member of Learning and Teaching Committee has led the developments
  • Showcasing initial successful pilot in year one Business Studies led to wider use
  • Use on PG Certificate in Education for staff
  • Strategic use of externally funded projects
  • Sharing of practice through university-wide event in 2011

 

Driver

  • PDP and Employability

 

Tool used

  •  Open Source Mahara locally hosted and integrated with the Moodle VLE

 

Implementation features for senior managers

  •  Though use of Mahara was free, invstement was needed to improve the core functionality - this is now integrated into new versions of Mahara for all to use
  • All students and staff have access to Mahara through the institutional VLE and student initiated use is high

 

Implementation features for e-portfolio managers

  • The developments have been bottom-up initiated, i.e. staff demand led, with middle-through implementation of Mahara adopting an organic approach
  • Rapid uptake supported by an established network of Teaching fellows and local champions within Facultieswhere they have been interested - no cordinated push
  • Access through the institutional VLE Moodle has resulted in high use by students
  • The Professor for Learning Technologies within a central professional development unit and a member of Learning and Teaching Committee has led the developments
  • Showcasing initial successful pilot in year one Business Studies led to wider use
  • Use on PG Certificate in Education for staff
  • Strategic use of externally funded projects
  • Sharing of practice through university-wide event in 2011

 

Implementation features for practitioners

  • Business, Law and Teacher Education use

 

The nature of e-portfolio use

 

Intra course - localised use

Inter/ whole course –> cross dept/ school/ faculty use

Cross institution
use

Extra- curricular
use

 

PDP and Employability
Personal Development Module Year 1 Business Studies  (Assessment)

Skills module Year 1 Law  (Assessment)

MBA Study Skills module 

(Assessment)

 

Support for professional practice courses

Action Research within PGCE Primary & Early Years Teacher Education Course  (Assessment)

All students and staff have access to

Mahara and student use is high.

 

Staff Professional Development

PG Certificate in Education for staff (both new and experienced staff take this) - there is use developing here

 

   

The nature of the large-scale implementation journey

 

Mahara was introduced using the successful model adopted for implementation of Moodle in 2005. It was installed in 2008 for experimentation, and the first formal pilot started in Autumn 2009 in the Business School on a module entitled Personal Development involving 500 plus students in 19 groups with 14 tutors. The lead tutor was an established Learning and Teaching Fellow. Presentations to Learning and Teaching Committee, at workshops and within faculties developed interest and further volunteer tutors for pilots. Feedback about Mahara was gathered from these early adopters, and in March 2010 it was agreed to pay developers to enhance 'core' Mahara for the following academic year. In Autumn 2010 Mahara was being used in all but one faculty, and university-wide for staff development (PG Certificate in Education):

 

Overview

Stage 0: Prior developments Stage 1: Planning Stage 2: Early adoption Stage 3: Embedding Stage 4: Sustaining

2004 - 7: Moodle VLE phased implementation supported by HEFCE E-Learning Strategy and Capital Investment Funding

2007- Internally funded Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow and Learning Technology Champion in each of the six faculties one day per week.

2007: Staff in Employability and Health explore e-portfolio use though using Moodle. Recognition that this was not scalable and involvement in a JISC funded project that included the use of Mahara led to its installation as it integrated with Moodle and had Web2.0 features.

2008: First full pilot of all year 1 Business Sudies student in a Personal Development module delivered by 14 tutors.

Workshops and demonstrations to staff, presentations at committees and L & T commmittee web2.0 report led to wider use.

March 2010: Internal funding for developers to enhance 'core' Mahara as suggested by staff users in Moodle forum.

Autumn 2010: Mahara used in all but one faculty, and beginning use university-wide for staff development (PG Certificate in Education).

Central technical support for users in place.

June 2011: University-wide event to showcase all of the faculty Mahara developments.

 

 

Managing organisational change

Governance , leadership and vision

The Centre for Enhancing Learning and Teaching (CELT) is responsible for supporting the professional development of academic staff in using effective pedagogies (including the use of learning technologies). It runs the Post Graduate Certificate in Education for all new lecturers, and further modues leading to an MA Education qualification. It also develops the University Learning and Teaching Strategy, although each faculty develops its own interpretation of this with more detailed plans.

 

Within CELT there is a small Learning Technology Development team headed by the Professor of Learning Technology responsible for promoting the introduction and embedding of appropriate new learning technologies. The team now comprises of just one Tutor for Learning Technology and two Multimedia Designers currently on short term contracts.

 

The Professor of Learning Technlogy, Director of Learning & Teaching, PVC (academic) and senior staff representing the faculities are members of the Learning and Teaching Committee which is a key forum for discussing and promoting effective practice. Each faculty also has its own Learning & Teaching Committee.

 

The approach used in implementation of e-portfolios fits within this professional development of staff model using an established network of Learning and Teaching Fellows, learning technology champions, and early adopters. The Learning and Teaching Committee receives reports/ demonstrations of practice from practitioners and this is then shared within their faculties.This approach supports innovative staff and enables their practice to be shared quickly. Formal evaluations, benchmarking, business plans are not part of this professional development model for implementation.

 

Alignment with the institutional context

DRIVERS: The university has responded to staff demand. The learning and teaching strategy mentions key drivers for e-portfolio use such as employability, WBL, reflection etc and the expectation that technologies will be used to support teaching and learning but e-portfolios or e-PDP use is not currently mentioned.

TECHNOLOGIES: A report to the Learning and Teaching Committee in March 2009 states 'The systems that we introduce for learning and teaching purposes should be chosen to integrate with, or at least complement Moodle. With this in mind the top priority should be Mahara the open source (free) eportfolio and social networking system that has been designed to integrate with Moodle. In one system, several of the Web 2.0 components are available: eportfolio; social networking; blogging and media sharing'. No cost would be incurred for piloting but internal funding was necessary for developers to enhance 'core' Mahara in 2010 as suggested by staff users in Moodle forum.

 

Developing expertise/engaging with stakeholders

 

Professional development for staff

  • Through developing an expert central team: The Professor of Learning Technology and developers working in the Centre for Enhancing Learning and Teaching (CELT) have been involved in leading and supporting developments internally.
  • Through staff use: The new lecturers course involves the use of an e-portfolio - this is a CELT responsibility.
  • Through suppport for developing practice: staff workshops and demonstrations
  • Through sharing practice: The Professor of Learning Technology and CELT has expertise to support practice from their knowledge of this within and outside the university. The pilot projects produced champions to support further development within faculties and they have supported staff workshops and demonstrations . A University-wide event in June 2011 to showcase all of the faculty Mahara developments.

 

Student support. Technical support is provided centrally and support for use within courses is provided by the module tutors themselves who design the learning acitvities through examples of use, instructions for completing activities etc. Some generic support resources are being developed centrally and some face to face help is provided centrally when requested by tutors. The e-portfolio is not promoted as a student entitlement but just made avialable.  

 

Other stakeholders

This has been a very academic focussed implementation. The Employability Teaching Fellow is engaged and presented at the our university-wide promotion event in June 2011 - 'e-Portfolios: The Research; the Technology, and the Practice'

 

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