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  • Australian ePortfolio Project

    ePortfolio use by university students in Australia:

    Informing excellence in policy and practice

    Supplementary report: October 2010

  • Acknowledgements

    Support for the original Australian ePortfolio Project (AeP) was provided by the Australian

    Learning and Teaching Council, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of

    Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. The AeP PS Project was undertaken as a

    supplementary activity after the conclusion of the AeP Project.

    The AeP PS Project Team would like to thank the 96 individuals who responded to the 2010

    survey. Appreciation is also extended to Allison Miller and her colleagues at the Australian

    Flexible Learning Framework, Cher Schodel, Desley Gorle, Scott Hamilton and Mayumi Sui for

    their assistance and support.

    The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Learning

    and Teaching Council.

    This work is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-

    ShareAlike 2.5 Australia Licence. Under this Licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and

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    statement:

    Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, an

    initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

    Noncommercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

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    Teaching Council, PO Box 2375, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 or through the website:

    http://www.altc.edu.au

    Published by the QUT Department of eLearning Services, October 2010.

    Project team QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY Gillian Hallam (Project leader) Wendy Harper Lynn McAllister Kim Hauville Tracy Creagh

    Project team QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY Gillian Hallam (Project Leader) Wendy Harper Lynn McAllister Kim Hauville Tracy Creagh

  • Australian ePortfolio Project: Supplementary report

    Contents

    page

    1. Introduction 1

    1.1 Overview 1

    1.2 Scope of study 2

    1.3 Structure of the report 3

    2. Research methodology 5

    2.1 Overview 5

    2.2 Research objectives 5

    2.3 Ethical considerations 6

    2.4 Surveys 6

    2.5 Summary 7

    3. Research findings 9

    3.1 Overview 9

    3.2 The ePortfolio picture in Australia 9

    3.2.1 The respondents 9

    3.2.2 The understanding of ePortfolio 10

    3.2.3 The extent of ePortfolio practice 14

    3.2.4 The type of ePortfolio technology used 16

    3.2.5 The range of use of ePortfolios 18

    3.2.6 Responsibilities for ePortfolio practice 22

    3.2.7 The drivers and barriers for ePortfolio implementation 26

    3.2.8 The impacts of ePortfolio use on students and staff 29

    3.2.9 The evaluation of ePortfolio use 31

    3.2.10 The philosophies underpinning ePortfolio practice in

    Australian higher education and vocational education and

    training 31

    3.3 Summary 34

    4. Conclusion 35

    References 37

    * * * * *

  • i

    List of tables

    Table 1: Number of respondents by survey and by sector

    Table 2: Percentage of respondents by sector and by survey

    Table 3: ePortfolio software in use

    List of figures

    Figure 1: Word cloud Higher education respondents, Teaching and Learning survey

    Figure 2: Word cloud VET respondents, Teaching and Learning survey

    Figure 3: Word cloud Higher education respondents, Management survey

    Figure 4: Word cloud VET respondents, Management survey

    Figure 5: Word cloud All respondents, Human Resources survey

    Figure 6: Use of ePortfolios by coursework students/trainees: All respondents

    Figure 7: Use of ePortfolios by coursework students/trainees: Learning and Teaching survey

    respondents

    Figure 8: Use of ePortfolios by research students: Learning and Teaching survey respondents

    Figure 9: Type of technology used: All respondents

    Figure10: Type of technology used: Higher education and VET respondents

    Figure 11: Use of ePortfolios: All respondents, 2007 and 2010

    Figure 12: Use of ePortfolios: Higher education and VET respondents

    Figure 13: Review or assessment of ePortfolios: Learning and Teaching respondents, 2007

    and 2010

    Figure 14: Context of review or assessment of ePortfolios: Learning and Teaching respondents,

    2007 and 2010

    Figure 15: Responsibility for ePortfolio implementation: All respondents

    Figure 16: Responsibility for ePortfolio policy: All respondents

    Figure 17: Responsibility for ePortfolio strategic direction: All respondents

    Figure 18: Degree of importance of factors contributing to ePortfolio implementation: Learning

    and Teaching respondents Very important and Important

    Figure 19: Degree of importance of factors contributing to ePortfolio implementation:

    Management respondents Very important and Important

    Figure 20: Impacts resulting from ePortfolio use Students and staff: All respondents

    Figure 21: Philosophy underpinning ePortfolio use in institutions: All respondents

    Figure 22: Philosophy underpinning ePortfolio use in institutions: Higher education and VET

    respondents

  • Chapter 1: Introduction

    1

    1. INTRODUCTION

    1.1 Overview

    In April 2007, the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), formerly the

    Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, commissioned a study

    to examine the diverse approaches to ePortfolio use by students in Australian universities.

    The nominated research team for the Australian ePortfolio Project (AeP) comprised four

    universities: Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as lead institution, The

    University of Melbourne, University of New England and University of Wollongong. The

    goals were to consider the scope, penetration and reasons for use of ePortfolios, and to

    examine the issues associated with their implementation in higher education. One of the

    central research activities in the project was a national audit which sought to establish a

    picture of current and emerging ePortfolio activities in Australian academic institutions.

    The data collection activities took place in late 2007 and the findings were presented and

    discussed in the final project report, published in October 2008 (Hallam, Harper,

    McCowan, Hauville, McAllister & Creagh, 2008).

    The ALTC subsequently invited QUT to apply for further funding to progress two of the

    recommendations in the final report: to establish, facilitate and encourage an Australian

    community of practice for ePortfolio researchers and practitioners; and to introduce a

    regular Australasian conference to provide a forum in which to explore and discuss

    ePortfolio research and practice. The second stage of the project, commonly known as

    AeP2, concluded in late 2009 (Hallam, Harper, Hauville, Creagh & McAllister, 2009).

    In a summary of the AeP study, Hallam and Creagh (2010) reported that the national

    audit had revealed that there was a high level of interest in ePortfolios in the context of

    higher education. It was broadly acknowledged that ePortfolios had the potential to assist

    students become reflective learners, conscious of their personal and professional strengths

    and weaknesses, as well as to make their existing and developing skills more explicit,

    with an associated value apparent in the graduate recruitment process. In addition, there

    was a strong understanding about the need for interoperability across the different areas

    of education and employment, which resonated with the government policy focus on

    integration between vocational and higher education and the articulation of employability

    skills.

    However, the extent of ePortfolio use in Australias tertiary sector was found to be very

    patchy. Respondents were very aware of the concept of ePortfolios, reporting that there

    were plans in place at their institution for either the investigation into or implementation

    of ePortfolios for learners. Where already implemented, the principal use of ePortfolios

    was centred in coursework programs, ie subject-specific or program-based, rather than in

    faculty- or university-wide activity. Responsibility for the implementation of ePortfolios

    generally rested with the individual teaching units, sometimes supported by teaching and

    learning and/or ICT support areas or by careers and employment services. There was an

    emerging sense of collaboration, with ePortfolio projects regarded as a joint activity

    shared by a number of players, for example with combined committees of a