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Workshop resources

Page history last edited by Gordon 12 years, 7 months ago

The e-portfolio implementations toolkit 


This workshop design builds upon the ePI study findings and resources and are the result of a successful initial pilot activities.  The workshop consists of two activities for a group of colleagues in an institution who want to start thinking through  e-portfolio implementation. It is intended to raise awareness of implementation issues and develop a discussion about the implementation process. These activities could be the basis of a half-day or ideally a whole day workshop.


Activity one: What does successful e-portfolio use look like?  (50 mins)  


  • To support an understanding of the key issues underpining effective e-portfolio use

  • To provide a forum for those * who would be involved in e-portfolio implementation to develop a shared understanding 

* This could include any of the following stakeholders - academics, managers, support staff, technologists, students, employers, careers staff, alumni staff


Activity Overview:

  • This activity involves an exploration of some resources , a short movie and some webpages, designed to support e-portfolio use at Southampton Solent University.  In the pilot the resources were shown to the whole group starting with the movie at  


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOFSrV3QOWM  (2mins 33s)   followed by webpages found at   http://mycourse.solent.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3286  (This took 10 mins - several pages were shown including the introduction video, the lecturer resources (these are publicly available), the myportfolio and the support@solent dropdown lists (these resources are not publicly available but provide an insight into the nature of the support offered).  


  • Individuals were asked to use the handout that shows the five threshold concepts found to underpin successful e-portfolio practice. This shows  associated statements and questions to ask when judging practice.  This worksheet was handed out and discussed first and then the participants were shown the resources and asked to make notes. Then they were asked to discuss what they noted down in pairs/threes for 10 minutes.  
  • A whole group discussion was held in relation to the nature of effective practice prompted by the activity as well as the utility of the threshold concepts as a useful guide to implementing and judging effective e-portfolio implementation. This took 15 mins.  


Follow on activity 

It is suggested that participants are then shown the Implementation guidance for practitioners within the e-portfolio implementations toolkit. 



In the pilot an outcome was the realisation that more information would be needed to make the judgement about whether effective practice was in place, but that the threshold concepts framework supported the development of understanding of effective practice acting as a practical guide to prompt useful questions to support implementation.



Activity two: The 'about-to go large’ university. What would effective implementation look like?  (1 hour + )   


  • To develop an understanding of the key issues involved in implementing e-portfolios across and institution and to support the decision making process 
  • To provide a forum for those * who needed to be involved in e-portfolio implementation to develop a shared understanding 

* This could include any of the following stakeholders - academics, managers, support staff, technologists, students, employers, careers staff, alumni staff


Activity overview:

This activity considers an institutional scenario where a decision needs to be made about large-scale e-portfolio implementation. considering a hypothetical scenario can be a useful way of revealing issues that might be more difficult to discuss if the local context is used initially. A further activity could be the application of the process to the local context once the key implementation issues have been understood. The scenario is set out below.





  • Moving to the use of the Open Source Moodle VLE from the Enterprise VLE WebCT. A new Student Management System is being integrated with Moodle. 
  • The open source e-portfolio Mahara and also an Enterprise solution PebblePad is in use in a few schools supported by project funding. 
  • Nursing is in favour of using an Enterprise solution PebblePad, but they don’t use anything yet. Others wish to continue to use the tools they are using.

Portfolio use

  • Paper based portfolios are used by Nursing, Education, Pharmacy.
  • New Lecturers course – a hyperlinked portfolio is an option to paper based for the assessment

The Drivers for change

  • In Nursing and Pharmacy there is a need to track developing competence across a variety of settings and need for efficiency gains over paper based approaches.
  • In Education and elsewhere a move to more authentic assessment is required.
  • Senior Managers are concerned about the Student Satisfaction Survey and in spite of efforts by the Director of Teaching and Learning and central initiatives scores remain lower than desired.
  • Student Award for Volunteering and Careers – there is a focus on Employability Skills but so far e-portfolios have not been considered.

The wider context

  • There is a Directorate of Teaching and Learning but the Director is not an e-portfolio champion. 
  • There is Learning and Teaching Development funding available. 
  • Schools tend to do their own thing if they can, so e-portfolio use will continue to grow as ‘islands’ of practice.
  • Information Services are being asked by schools and individual lecturers to support different e-portfolios but don’t have the resource allocated to support this.


  • In the pilot the group of particpants were asked to form groups of 4 to 6 participants, ideally each group would have representatives of as many different stakeholders as possible. They were intoduced to the  Top-down, Middle-out, Bottom-up intitiation models that were found within the ePI study as well as the phased nature of all these implementation approaches. The importance of the middle- through implementation process  was emphasised - see Implementation guidance for senior managers  
  • The  scenario was handed out and this also contained a set of instructions for each group. Each group were given a 45 mins (but this could be longer) to arrive at a potentially effective implementation plan following the following stages Planning Adopting  Embedding Sustaining  
  • They were given a threshold concepts worksheet as guidance to support their decision making - they were introduced to these ideas in activity one. The instructions were:  
    1. Decide what institutional roles need to be represented on your team and ideally allocate roles to discuss these issues. 
    2. Then consider 
      • Which tool/s to use? The choices are: 
              1. Existing or new, local or external, open source or enterprise or Web 2.0 / specific purpose or expansive (one tool that can be used flexibly) / and COST 
              2. The alignment of the tool to the proposed e-portfolio purposes, existing technologies and expertise in place


      • What approach you might take to initiating implementation The choices are :
              1. Top-down or Middle-out or Bottom-up.
              2. You will need a central unit leading the change – who is in this team? 


  • 15 minutes from the end of the group work they were told that the senior manager involved in 'leading' the e-portfolio implementations was to leave the University and was to be replaced by another senior manager. They had to then consider what implications this had for their plans.
  • In the pilot there was not enough time for an adequate discussion of the implementation plans that were developed and this could be usefully extended to reveal key features and issues.


Follow on activities

  • It is suggested that particpants are then introduced to the threshold concepts framework within the Implementation guidance for senior managers as well as being reminded of other resources such as the  Exemplars taster of e-portfolio use and the Case studies within the e-portfolio implementations toolkit. 
  • A consideration of the relevance of the outcomes to the local institutional context would be a ueful activity. Lessons could be learnt  that could usefully inform decsion making no matter how far the institution was along the implementation journey.



The pilot supported a shared understanding of some key issues, for example, alignment of the intiative to the local context in relation to what already exists and key drivers for change, the need to engage a wide range of stakeholders in the implementation process, the importance of senior management engagement and support, central support and capacity building and resource.


Creative Commons Licence 


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