Core Activity 2.3: ePortfolio case study
Organisational transformation at Windesheim University (Netherlands) – 2001.
This project aimed to embed the use of ePortfolios as a ‘fundamental cornerstone for the pedagogical process . . . and the educational institute’s administrative processes’ (Aalderink, 2005), into both the student and faculty workflows across all courses.
It reported on a project piloting the role out of an ePortfolio tool and supporting process, in 5 out of 10 departments, with the ultimate aim of using ePortfolios for the primary course functions of counselling, assessing and planning.
- Improved management and administrative processes
- Enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of teaching and learning
- Better support for students in acquiring relevant competencies (use of technology, employment related etc)
- Students and faculty able to more easily reflect on their progress, needs and next steps – personal development planning (PDP)
- A more flexible and transparent workflow for all stakeholders
Similar to another case study in the same paper, the following issues were
- The need to manage different stakeholder expectations, keeping them aligned in the project (students, teachers, coaches, assessors)
- The sharing of information and feedback for an iterative process
- The need for management level input and strategic vision to support implementation
- The need for support from both IT and Education Development
- Technical issues – the ePortfolio was one technology in a larger technical configuration
The ePortfolio was intended to help the users by supporting the organisation, planning and management of learning, embedded into the existing educational and administrative processes. I saw it as providing one ‘go to place’ for access to prescribed learning activities, evidence of completion of these and enabling feedback, with a record of evidence of assessment and achievements.
The report provided no real detail of the pedagogical aspects and how this was supported e.g to what extent the learning products or the engagements with the processes around the use of the ePortfolio were supported and assessed.
Looking back to the earlier activity identifying the drivers behind ePortfolio implementation (Core activity 2.1), I can see this case study reflected a number of the drivers shown in figure 1.
Figure 1 – ‘Blue’ tutor group summary of key drivers for ePortfolio implementation
With regard to the issues raised, I could identify with several of these; managing stakeholder expectations and in particular being able to align these with the end deliverable without going out of scope. Also, I have often experienced a high level of senior management interest at the beginning and end of a project but ‘radio silence’ during the middle, just when the real issues begin to surface and need escalating!
This case study didn’t give the impression that the issues were insurmountable, it offered a list of key issues to be aware of when planning ePortfolio implementation. The article concluded that ‘folio thinking’ was a strong theme for the Netherlands and a part of the continued implementation of elearning and pedagogical change in education.
Aalderinck, W. and Veugelers, M. (2005) ‘E-portfolio’s [sic] in The Netherlands: stimulus for educational change and life long learning’ (online), paper presented at the EDEN 2005 conference in Helsinki,Finland, Portfolio Themasite. Available from: http://www.icto.ic.uva.nl/surf/nl_portfolio/Publicaties/Downloads/aalderink_veugelers_2005.pdf (last accessed 22 September 2011)