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ePortfolio Australia Forum 2012 - My take.

2012 ePortfolios Australia Forum 
 ~ Thursday 27 September 2012 (Australia Catholic University, North Sydney Campus), with;
Student ePortfolio Showcase (STePS)
 ~ Friday 28th September (Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney - pictured above).

Sessions attended:

  • Paul Seiler: ePortfolios in the New Zealand School Sector (Guest Speaker)
  • Jennifer Rowley + Team, University of Sydney: OLT ePortfolio Project (Guest Speaker)
  • Alison Poot (Pebble Pad): Making it fail - how to effectively mess-up an ePortfolio implementation (See image below). (Pair, Share, Present ideas, Discussion)
  • Kristina Hoeppner: Learning by doing and sharing: ways to collaborate on and for ePortfolios. (Discussion focused)
  • Poster sessions: UCPortfolio implementation.
  • 20x20 session: 
    • Ashley Jones & Margaret Granger, The use of eportfolios within professional development.
    • Matt Thompson, ePortfolios for assessment and moderation.
    • Julie White, Skills recognition in the rural sector - coming to a screen near you.
    • Kate Coleman, Curiouser and CuriouserL Celebrating the Curious, Creative and Capable learner at AAEEBL 2012
    • Christine Slade, ePortfolio Feasibility Project.
  • Facilitated conversations;
    • Terry Young, Learning from our mistakes to move forward
    • Leila Kasprzak & Julie Murray, Teacher Career Pathways and ePortfolios
    • Allison Miller, ePortfolios to support a life of learning
  • Where to from here.
  • Friday 28th: Student ePortfolio Showcase

 Things that fired my neurons

  • Student Showcase:
    • Students have found that ePortfolios are a great way of keeping assignments around for access and use/re-purposing later on. When assignments are paper based the returned paper is usually put away in a box never to be seen again, thrown out, or lost. 
    • The student panel expressed frustration that PebblePad had certain limitations, e.g. the inability for PebblePad to enable collaboration on Excel spreadsheets, given the students' supervisor was based in another city. I asked students if they had considered using a mix of technologies to address their needs, but they hadn't appeared to have looked outside PebblePad. At UC we have contributed to Mahara functionality such that in Mahara 1.6 students will be able to add content to their portfolio from any external service that supports iFrames and that we white-list.The next step is to promote this ability for students and staff to use a mash-up of technologies as part of their portfolios, and not be constrained by the limitations of a single platform.
  • Paul Seiler: New Zealand
    • Not all the pieces are in place yet
      • Funding a real issue
    • drove eportfolio adoption in NZ
    • Paul is across/has faced most issues.
    • Sandy Britton wrote a paper on LMS-PLE integration
    • Student difficulties identified
      • what to include in my portfolio
      • when to include it
      • what am I good at - NZ implements a lifestyle quiz to help students identify their strengths and talents - (ED: would help target appropriate career directions too.)
    •  :
      • for life
      • see examples
    • ePortfolios look at the whole of a person.
    • Students (and staff) should focus on the front pages of their portfolios. Anecdotal evidence suggests employers short list by the look of the front page. 
    • Employers want students who are willing to learn - (ED: someone from industry once commented to me in discussion that this is a strength of University of Canberra graduates. It should be promoted.)
    • ePortfolio audiences can extend beyond the lecturer.
    • Students network on behalf of each other - e.g. promoting each others portfolios.
    • Students need to develop an elevator pitch and turn into 3rd person = a capacity statement.
    • Fit career into self, not self into career - seeing a career like this seems to empower students.
    • One way to see ePortfolios is like this: "A moment in time is like a lone note on a music score. ePortfolios can be used by students to reveal the full score of themselves and to show them where they are heading." (ED: Thanks Paul for this wonderful and insightful analogy)
  • The session with Alison Poot was excellent, the pair and share worked really well, allowing everyone to have ideas but having only the best ones leave the table for the whole group to see. Rather than list all the outcomes here in bullet points I took a picture of the whiteboard:

    Link to larger image:

A thought in the days following:

  • The following week we went on holiday to Lake Eucumbene where a log fire was the only option for heat. Getting the fire started requires a certain process - that is getting kindling burning first and slowly adding bigger logs, leading to a larger fire. It struck me that the process of implementing UCPortfolio attached UC has been a lot like that. Initially only a small number of people adopted ePortfolios. They did this very quickly and easily because ePortfolios were a perfect match for what they were doing. Over time their outcomes convinced others to try ePortfolio practice and in turn this warmed others up to them. With careful attention, support, effort and time entire courses followed.

Additional Photos

STePS Presentations at the Conservatorium of Music:

Lunch before departing:
 (clockwise from 12: Allison Miller, Terry Young, Shane Nuessler, Kristina Hoeppner)


    1. Shane

      Thanks for sharing your experiences at the event. It sounds like a very helpful event.

      Best wishes


    2. Thanks very much Keith, they are fantastic for networking and keeping up with e-Portfolio news and activity. Keep an eye out for the 2013 event, it might be right in your backyard...


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