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Newham college, UK

Page history last edited by Jacquie Kelly 9 years, 4 months ago

Summary : e-portfolio implementation and use at Newham College


To visit the case study pages select:


Case study Home Page An overview of use The implementation journey


Key words: Newham, FE, Further Education, UK, Mahara, On-line Evidence, Progression, Employment, PES Course, Study Coaches, Learning Centres

e-portfolios used since 2009

Tool used: Mahara


Numbers of students and staff using e-portfolios:
Use by staff: 0

Use on courses : 4300



  • The need for a system that would support progression and employability skills (PES) was the impetus
  • To move away from traditional teaching of a course used to support learners in developing their understanding of progression and skills necessary for success in employment. 
  • To develop a portfolio of evidence using the latest technologies to showcase learners skills.  


Tool used

  • Mahara, an open source e-portfolio, is used which was part of the Moodle VLE external hosting contract


Implementation features for senior managers

  • Learning Support delivery within Learning Centres of a Progression and Employability Skills Course for all students using an e-portfolio


Implementation features for e-portfolio managers

  • Developments have been top-down initiated with middle-through implemention led by an expert central team.
  • Students use the e-portfolios during an hour long timetabled Supported Independent Study (SIS) session delivered by Learning Support team of Study Coaches within the Learning Centres - there is one on both main college sites
  • The e-portfolio manager is the Head of Learning Support Centres
  • An online animated induction to using e-portfolios was created and delivered as part of the students' overall induction to Supported Independent Study.


The nature of e-portfolio use Narrative and key resources links

e-Portfolios are used by full-time learners during their timetabled Supported Independent Study (SIS) session, (approximately 4300). The session is used to support learners in using ILCT to develop both their IT as well as functional skills, e-portfolios are used to build an online CV, used to promote the students' skills and track development. In 2011, the e-portfolios are mainly being used as a CV development tool but some areas within the college are exploring using it as part of student assessment. Part-time learner provision is planned to be addressed.



Intra course - localised use

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

Cross institution





Progression and Employability 

Supported Independent Study timetabled sessions for all students to support Progression and Employabiity Skills


Transition from the institution 

Showcasing student employability skills for an employer  

(Hospitality and Catering) 

(Performing Arts)



The nature of the implementation journey  

Newham College of Further Education has over 15,000 full-time and part-time students and is located in the vibrant and very diverse London borough of Newham. In 2009 the College was graded ‘Outstanding' by Ofsted, emphasising its innovative and inclusive curriculum. The College's vision is to have a highly robust and user-friendly virtual learning environment to enhance the learners' experience with a ‘one-stop-shop' for all their resources, and to add a new dimension to its teaching and learning. In 2009, e-portfolios were implemented on a large scale as a collaboration tool for the delivery of a Progression and Employability Skills course, delivered as part of the lifelong learning skills agenda.




Stage 0: Context - prior developments Stage 1: Planning Stage 2: Adopting Stage 3: Embedding Stage 4: Sustaining
2008: Moodle VLE introduced - contract for external hosting by the University of London Computer Centre included the use of Mahara e-portfolio. New team of e-Learning Advisers recruited and trained to support lecturers with e-Learning resource development. Study Coaches support students working in the VLE. Pastoral Care Tutors support the development of e-Personal Learning Plans and the Progression and Employability skills (PES). Sessions delivered as traditional classroom-based lessons with learners building up a portfolio of evidence for reflection on their development and future planning, of both academic aspirations as well as career goals.

2009: A key decision was made by the College Executive Group to change the role of the Pastoral Care Tutor - they continue to support the development of e-Personal Learning Plans, which although are part of Moodle are not part of the e-portfolio. PES was given to the team of Study Coaches to support during timetabled Supported Independent Study sessions.

Sept 2009: PES delivered and supported by team of Study Coaches during timetabled Supported Independent Study sessions within Learning Centres.The Head of Learning Resource Centres initiated the development of PES to be deliverd via Moodle and evidenced via Mahara e-portfolios, with online induction and resources developed and differentiated at 4 levels to meet learner needs.

2010: e-portfolios were showcased at the College annual ILCT Fair - learners were invited in to showcase their use of e-portfolios to Lecturing staff.


2010/11 National projects involvement showcasing implementation.


2011: A new ILCT strategy is being developed to incorporate the way e-portfolios can become integrated within subject areas and support other innovations and developments.



Managing organisational change

Governance, leadership and vision



The Head of Learning Resource Centres has responsibility for e-portfolio implementation.  Established in 1999 at the two main college campuses, the centres offer a support programme to all full-time students, timetabled into each of the learning centres. The Executive (Directors and Principal) make the decisions which are supported and informed by the ILCT strategy Group (Vice Principal, Directors and Head of Learning Resource Centres, e-Learning Manager).


Head of Learning Resource Centres has a team of 3 Study Coaches and 2 e-Learning Advisers at each campus. The team work over the year to ensure resources are developed and uploaded on to the College VLE (Moodle) ready for delivery to students during their session in the learning centres. Students are encouraged to give feedback on services and regular surveys are used to collect information which helps to inform the ILCT development strategy.


The Head of Learning Resources and the e-Learning Manager have a shared office - are well established in the institution (12yr and 8yrs) and have daily contact.  


The Head of Learning Resources was charged to consider how to deliver the PES through the Learning Centres via the VLE and suggested to line manager Assistant Principal (Quality Improvement & Learning Development) that Mahara e-portfolios could be used as a collaboration tool with PES Course to be delivered online via the College VLE. As Mahara is an open source tool which was brought in by the College as part of the Moodle package, there was no additional cost.


Alignment with the institutional context


DRIVERS: Progression and employability skills as part of the College's lifelong learning agenda were the impetus


TECHNOLOGIES: Competitive tendering process by a shortlist of three from which Moodle to be hosted by University of London Computer Centre was chosen. Direct feedback and Student surveys influenced the requirements for the VLE and the decision making process. This hosted service included the use of Mahara and so there was no additional cost incurred.


Developing expertise and communicating with stakeholders

All developments are fed back via the Assistant Principal, line manager of Head of Learning Resource Centres and e-Learning Manager. Strategy to involve key stakeholders is under review, with a view to expand the project to include interested parties in participation of future e-portfolio development.


Professional development for staff

  • Through developing an expert central team: Head of Learning Resource Centres has a team of 3 Study Coaches and 2 e-Learning Advisers at the two campuses - involvement in national projects support institutional goals
  • Through staff use: Not used by staff for professional development
  • Through suppport for developing practice: Learning Resource Centres staff will support integration of e-portfolios. e-Learning Advisers were recruited in 2008 and trained to support lecturers with e-learning resource development
  • Through sharing practice: After successfully introducing use of e-portfolios to all full-time learners and also publication of two cases studies conducted by Becta and JISC - on our implementation process, e-portfolios were showcased at the College annual ILCT Fair - learners were invited in to showcase their use of e-portfolios to lecturing staff


Student support
Learners are introduced to Mahara as part of their main induction to Supported Independent Study and supported in becoming familiar with all the features via workshops and tailored online tutorials. The online course has four levels, entry level, and levels 1, 2 & 3; each level has its own course area and learners are enrolled on the level appropriate to their ability. Ongoing review of implementation within the team and focus groups and surveys ensure student needs are met.


Other stakeholders


Senior Managers are kept up to date with developments via regular feedback at Executive level from the Assistant Principal who is line manager of Head of Learning Resource Centres and e-Learning Manager, updates are also given via monthly senior manager forums.


Review of strategies to involve other stakeholders are underway to keep all interested parties informed and involved in future developments.


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