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Exemplar of use 10 - University of Nottingham

Page history last edited by kirstiec 10 years, 4 months ago
An overview of use


Graduate School, University of Nottingham


e-Portfolio context: Personal development planning portfolio use within the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Doctoral Training Centre (80 University of Nottingham doctoral students including 3 from Rothamsted Research)


Dates of provision: Since September 2012


Reason for implementation: To support induction and progression through a 4 year doctoral programme. Providing a central place for students to assess their RDF (Researcher Development Framework, Vitae) competences, receive feedback and communicate with peers and supervisors. 

Personal development planning, managing laboratory rotations 


Learning processes involved: Information handling, reflection, planning, feedback 


Practice: Students are inducted into the use of the e-portfolio at the start of the course and this is integrated in the course within a range of activities that support Personal and professional development planning within the 4 year doctoral programme. There are key points in the course where sharing the e-portfolio with their research supervisor is important. However blog/reflective journal entries are shared with the Doctoral Training Centre administrators and their supervisor from the start of the course. The facility of being able to create associate users enables all those involved with the students, e.g., supervisors from the partner institution and work place mentors, to have access to Mahara.


Lesson learnt during the pilot/future plans: 

  • Use is variable and so there is a need to share e-portfolio practice within the student group for the current cohort and to develop an approach for sharing this for future cohorts. 
  • There is also a need to engage supervisors fully in the process and share practice 
  • There is a need to consider potential engagement in use by work placement mentors in year 2 of the course 
  • Continued familiarity with Mahara and its functionality is revealing ways it can be used more extensively for a range of course related activities, for example, as part of governance there is a student group that reports to Management Board and they could use a Mahara group as a means of doing this.  


Key staff involved: Rebekah Smith-McGloin, Susanna Ison


Susanna Ison - DTP (Doctoral Training Programme) project officer

The DTP needed a tool through which we could administer the evaluation and progression of three cohorts of students and Mahara provided the platform for this.  I heard about Mahara from ClePD and attending a Jisc conference.  Engagement with it has been greater with the second cohort of students than the first; this is due in part to my increasing confidence in using and promoting the system.  I have recently demonstrated how the DTP use Mahara to all Graduate School staff and as a result been asked to give the same demonstration to a group in the Engineering Faculty and to the DTC Managers network.



Personal development planning portfolio use within the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Doctoral Training Centre.


Example pages BBSRC




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