With almost 40 colleagues participating face-to-face, and a further 50 colleagues joining remotely, including from the US and Australia, the first Open Seminar of the Europortfolio network held in Barcelona on 30th April demonstrated a strong level of interest from near and far. In addition to introducing the work of the Consortium to colleagues, including a shared statement of aims agreed by participants the previous day and an insight into the five local Chapters already established, the event featured three presentations offering perspectives on e-portfolio practice.
The contribution of Cristina Galván (University of Barcelona) on ‘Personal Learning Environment behind the e-portfolio system’ emphasised not only the skills required to make effective use of such a PLE, but also the importance of the meta-capacities of reflection and self-regulation among others (termed ‘hybrid PLE skills’). The educational vision which infused this contribution was on the importance of integration of learning across a range of contexts, and the presentation of such learning via the eportfolio system.
Subsequently Julie Hughes (University of Wolverhampton, UK) provided a remote presentation on ‘Supporting teachers’ CPD through e-portfolio based learning in REfLECT’. ‘REfLECT’, based upon the Pebblepad eportfolio platform, provides a secure Personal Learning Space (so more PLE!) enabling the recording of CPD and reflective practice for members of the Institute for Learning. Here the emphasis was also upon e-portfolio as providing the environment for ‘a developing narrative’, supporting critical reflection and collaboration over time and – given the distributed nature of the learners involved - over space too. Such collaboration - and conversation - supported reflective thinking and writing, a process modelled by Julie who provided access to her own portfolio for learners. There was an assessment element too, especially to support learners in critical engagement with sources at Masters level, a process led by learners themselves. Feedback from participants showed they valued the regular engagement with such source materials and the emphasis upon peer collaboration, supporting both individual development and criticality in practice.
Finally Jennifer Gordon (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, (a not-for-profit professional organisation that speaks for more than 44,000 medical and surgical specialists and resident physicians) presented the MAINPORT e-portfolio, and its use to support a continuing professional development programme. Participation in this ‘Maintenance of Certification’ Programme is a requirement for admission and renewal of Fellowship. The portfolio – interestingly identified as an ‘integrated learning space’ - allowed users to set practice goals (including plans and dates for completion), link future learning activities and track progress, enter completed CPD activities for credit (with associated details and learning outcomes) input partial information about a learning activity, save and then return later, print credit summaries, transcripts of CPD activities and certificates of completion for a MOC cycle. It combined learning (both self and subject-related) and presentation functions, with an ambition to move on to develop answers to key implementation research questions and improve practice. Interestingly the former, while presented in the context of medicine, were important in many eportfolio contexts, another agenda for Europortfolio in the months ahead perhaps?
If you could not make the event, or simply want to refresh your appreciation of the contributions made, you can access the slides used at http://www.slideshare.net/EPNET-Europortfolio. Recordings are now available on the Europortfolio portal – at https://www.youtube.com/user/europortfolio.
Europortfolio: a European Network of Eportfolio Experts and Practitioners (EPNET) is funded by the European Commission and seeks to establish a network of experts and practitioners from four sectors (Further and Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training, Employment and Lifelong Learning) in the field of ePortfolios. Through its Community Learning Portal it provides, or is developing for dissemination:
• Information on ePortfolio Practices and Models
• A series of National and Thematic Executive Reports
• A range of Open Educational Resources
• A series of ePortfolio Implementation Guides (good practice, policies, implementation strategies)
• An ePortfolio maturity matrix (supporting self-assessment, benchmarking, further development)
• An evidence-based framework that contributes to the recognition and accreditation of competencies.
Fifty counties are already represented with membership of the Portal, you can join – and make your voice heard - at www.europortfolio.org.