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Jo 2018

E-Portfolios – A Career Finder? Increasing employability – A guide for students to use their e-portfolio as an open and networked professional

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Edited by Jo Jones, Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020, 09:12

H818 Online Conference 2020
http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/OU-H818/

If you are unable to access the Introduction video in my poster you can click on the link below:

https://tool.animaker.com/animo/cquLQIVL049U

E-Portfolios – A Career Finder?

Increasing employability – A guide for students to use their e-portfolio as an open and networked professional 

There has been a rapid shift over recent years to use e-portfolios which allows students to collect and present their portfolio evidence online (Stefani et al., 2007). There is also strong evidence that in a rapidly changing world, employability is increasingly important for students and employers are demanding applicants are better prepared for work (Jisc, 2015)

Studies show that although students can engage successfully with e-portfolios as part of their study on a qualification, they can be less engaged when it comes to taking ownership of their e-portfolio outside of their study for personal development planning (PDP) (Pérez Cavana and Lowe, 2018). This is despite evidence that students using an e-portfolio are usually already capturing their abilities through skills and reflection which is what employers are often looking for (Bolliger and Shepherd, 2010).

Reasons for not using e-portfolios for PDP could be:

·         Lack of awareness of the role of e-portfolios for personal development

·         Students may need to develop new skills or knowledge to help them develop an online professional digital identity (Cambridge, 2008)

Hush (2012) showed that although students may not always engage with PDP when using e-portfolios, employers welcomed a PDP focus within study. This has led me to consider ways in which PDP engagement can be developed and help students use their existing skills to increase their employability prospects. E-Portfolios lend themselves to be the best tool for students to show these skills. The process of developing a skill can be showcased within an e-portfolio, as well as the skill itself adding to a student’s employability.  A map or diagram of how e-portfolio-based tasks connect can provide evidence to students of the centrality of e-portfolio practice as studies show that students need to fully comprehend the reasons for using their e-portfolio in order to invest their time (Jisc, 2019).

I have developed a web resource to help students develop a professional identity using their e-portfolios. The web resource is for both students and educators to use to assist them in this development. The objectives of the web-resource are:

·         Show students the advantages to using their e-portfolios for PDP

·         Provide guidance on what employers want to see from students

·         Show examples of students successfully using their e-portfolios for PDP

·         Provide technical and skills support

In my conference session I will be exploring the resource I have created, the reasons for developing this resource and consider some of the issues that need to be addressed to use this resource openly.

My initial outcome is to encourage students within my own institution – The Open University as we move towards full e-portfolio implementation across qualifications however a potential future outcome would be to consider would be opening out the resource across different institutions.

The web resource is hosted on Google sites allowing open access.  It will be shared under a Creative Commons Attribution licence to ensure it is an open resource and meets the idea of this conference.

References

Bolliger, D. & Shepherd, C. (2011) Student perceptions of ePortfolio integration in online courses. Distance Education, v31 pp295-314

Cambridge, D. (2008) Audience, integrity, and the living document: eFolio Minnesota and lifelong and lifewide learning with ePortfolio, Computers & Education vol. 51, pp. 1227–46

Hush, M. (2012). Reflection at work: making a positive difference to PDP modules. In: EE 2012 International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Conference Proceedings, 18-20 Sep 2012, Coventry University, Loughborough University. http://oro.open.ac.uk/38704/2/Hush%20EE2012%20final.pdf (last accessed 2/1/2020)

Jisc (2015) Report: Technology for Employability Study into the role of technology in developing student employability [Online] Available at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6249/3/Technology_for_employability_-_full_report.PDF (last accessed 2/1/2020)

Jisc (2019) How to enhance student learning, progression and employability with e-portfolios [Online] Available at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/7455/1/enhance-student-progression-and-employability-with-e-portfolios.pdf (last accessed 2/1/2020)

Pérez Cavana, M. L. and Lowe, S. (2018) Personal Development Planning (PDP) and ePortfolios: Arranged marriage or true love? In: Ballweg, S. and Kühn, B. eds. Portfolios in the Foreign Language Classroom. Materialien Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache (MatDaF). Göttingen: Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, (In Press)

Stefani, L., Mason, R. and Pegler, C. (2007), The educational potential of e-portfolios. Routledge: London


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Picture of Simon Ball

Questions from the Conference

Hi Jo

Here are the questions and comments from your conference presentation - please respond in whatever way you wish!

Best wishes
Simon

  • well done for getting some responses to your twitter poll.
  • Might regular and consistently adding to an ePortfolio be a bit like keeping a work blog? ;)
  • Canvas had their own eportfolio, recognised the improtance of them and took over a company that had developed an in improvement on their eportfolio.
  • There's an increasing focus on employability skills on the OU Level 3 (final year equivalent) UG STEM modules I tutor but I get the impression that many students view them as a 'tick box exercise' - a way of making this more 'useful' to them in the future definitely a good idea
  • Is the ePortfolio likely to supercede the CV?
  • I love the idea of e-portfolios and using them for transferable skills...have you asked employers what they want to see? Are employers aware of them as a 'thing'?
  • Is the guide planned to be accessed as an internal  insitutional document?
  • Could using LinkedIn be used as an eportfolio tool and CV combined?
  • very interesting and innovative - wondering what kind of feedback or surveys exists from employers and esp if smes incldor just large corporarates 
  • What is the balance between helping with content vs helping with the tech?
  • The difficulty for our school is how students access the eportfolio after leaving the school and therfore their access to the LMS and their eportfolio
  • love the design and your website looks amazing
  • my CV changes significantly and routinely, but I suppose online CVs/portfolios enable regular updating or streaming? Jo?
  • I found students perspective on portfolio use different from faculty. Do you notive this while gathering information?
  • Do you think online badges ie Mozilla / Badgr can be tied in with this sort of tool?

 

Jo 2018

Responses to Conference Comments

Hi everyone,

Thanks to Simon for sharing the comments and questions posted in the conference and thank you to everyone that contributed and shared my experience!

  • well done for getting some responses to your twitter poll.

Thank you! I mainly have my fellow H818 students and tutors to thank for that as they shared it which really helped as I still have quite a small number of followers.

  • Might regular and consistently adding to an ePortfolio be a bit like keeping a work blog? ;)

Absolutely and I don't see why the two couldn't be linked if someone did keep a regular work blog especially if they use it to reflect which I know is one of the benefits of keeping a blog. Depending on the tools people use, I don't see why they couldn't link their e-portfolio to their work blog or even integrate them.

  • Canvas had their own eportfolio, recognised the improtance of them and took over a company that had developed an in improvement on their eportfolio.

Thank you for sharing that - something I wasn't aware of but does highlight the importance of eportfolio systems. I have just had a look and you can export the eportfolios  which is great. It also mentions this on their website 'Users can keep ePortfolios private or share with other students, instructors, and/or future employers' so I am really pleased to see the ability to openly share.

  • There's an increasing focus on employability skills on the OU Level 3 (final year equivalent) UG STEM modules I tutor but I get the impression that many students view them as a 'tick box exercise' - a way of making this more 'useful' to them in the future definitely a good idea

That is exactly one of the reasons I wanted to develop a guide – to help them see the benefits for themselves and not just the tick box exercise I think they can often see it as. I think it is easy to lose focus of employment during studies so I hope producing something that can be open for use after studying can give students further opportunity.

  • Is the ePortfolio likely to supercede the CV?

This one is a bit unknown to be honest. Of the little research there is into the employer perspectives of eportfolios there seems to be a common theme that they expect CVs to be part of an eportfolio rather than is be superceded by one. I do wonder though if this is more to do with transition as the CV is the most traditional document that employers are used to seeing. I think there would be a long way to go before eportfolios could completely replace CVs however research so far suggests that they will certainly enhance applications.  (eportfolio hub, 2016)

  • I love the idea of e-portfolios and using them for transferable skills...have you asked employers what they want to see? Are employers aware of them as a 'thing'?

I haven't asked employers myself in all honesty but I think this could be a separate area of research certainly as there isn't actually that much around in this field. Following on from my comments above, in the same research employers identified that they didn't really look at eportfolios in the main because of they were not aware of them but they also stated that they feel it would enhance the recruitment processes if they were able to review them. (eportfolio hub, 2016) I personally would be really interested in some further research around this area so my interest has been sparked!

  • Is the guide planned to be accessed as an internal  institutional document?

Initially it will be used internally for existing students as they prepare to think about their employment but I would also want them to be able to keep the link to refer back to at any time after their studies which is why I hosted it on an open website source rather than integrating it with any modules.

  • Could using LinkedIn be used as an eportfolio tool and CV combined?

There is certainly an option to upload eportfolios onto LinkedIn if anyone felt that was a way they wanted to communicate with employers yes. I think this depends on how people are searching for jobs and what industry they are in. If they want to be scouted by recruiters for example it would be an advantage to have everything combined with LinkedIn.

  • very interesting and innovative - wondering what kind of feedback or surveys exists from employers and esp if smes incldor just large corporarates 

The survey I have referred to above didn’t refer to any actual company names but most of the respondents were in Hospitality, Tourism, Entertainment and IT. Certainly an area that needs to be explored further.

  • What is the balance between helping with content vs helping with the tech?

The focus of the guide is to provide help with the content so I would say that around 75% of the site will be content focused. The tech support will be mainly the forum and possible links to external support for certain tools.

  • The difficulty for our school is how students access the eportfolio after leaving the school and herefore their access to the LMS and their eportfolio

Yes, this is certainly a challenge that I have seen across a few places. As employability becomes a greater focus some areas are realising the potential in having an open sourced eportfolio tool but certainly still work to be done in this area. I also think there are issues for students who may use different eportfolio tools at different stages of their education. My focus has been primarily on higher education tools, but I think there is a whole other area to look at with regards to different education stages. I personally think there is scope (potentially in my resource) to help students find an alternative tool they can access for free and transfer the information before they lose their access completely.  

  • love the design and your website looks amazing

Thank you! Really appreciate any positive feedback as this is such a new world to me.

  • my CV changes significantly and routinely, but I suppose online CVs/portfolios enable regular updating or streaming? Jo?

Yes the idea of the eportfolio will be that it can be updated throughout someone’s professional journey but of course this relies on the tool they are using being open to them without any time restrictions from their education establishment. (e.g. log in details only being valid for so long).

  • I found students perspective on portfolio use different from faculty. Do you notive this while gathering information?

I did yes, there is certainly a different perspective based on people’s experiences but also between students and educators. I think students’ perspectives can also change depending on which stage of their study they are at. Time constraints are a common issue when it comes to student perspectives and I think they need to see the benefit of investing their time. For educators, I think the perspectives can be linked to their own familiarity and confidence with the tools.

  • Do you think online badges ie Mozilla / Badgr can be tied in with this sort of tool?

There are certainly ways to integrate online badges with eportfolios yes although I believe this entails using plug ins so this might actually be an area that I could consider adding to the technical support section of my website. Online Badges are something I am not very experienced with so certainly some more research to do in this area but great to think about as they seem to be getting more popular.

References

eportfolio hub (2016) Using ePortfolios for Recruitment: Employers’ Perspectives  - http://eportfoliohub.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Survey-Employer-Report.pdf


Picture of Simon Ball

H818 Presentation Star

Congratulations Jo!
Your presentation at the H818 Online Conference 2020 has been voted by audience members as one of the most effective presentations, and you are one of the winners of this year's Presentation Star awards!
You may download your award certificate from https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Gj9VQAkfcda8b85-Dy30qUnPMt93j1jd

Well done and many Congratulations!

Simon Ball
H818 Conference Organiser


Jo 2018

Thank you!

Thank you to those that fed back about my presentation! I’m over the moon to receive this recognition and very surprised!!

There were so many great presentations over the conference

Jo