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Research project looking at e-Portfolios, assessment practice and ethics.

Project aim: “To compare ethical issues that exist in various disciplines, and associated procedures/guidelines, with documented perspectives from other contexts in order to better inform university practices”

This pilot project, conducted by me as part of a Master of Higher Education, attempts to better understand the ethical issues involved in the teaching and learning process as they relate to the use of e-Portfolios in assessment. In this context students are asked to provide various kinds of evidence against numerous criteria given to them and are essentially being asked to provide artifacts by the university. We seek to understand the contexts in which this happens, and what issues if any the university should be aware of and/or be proactive in managing. Data were gathered from literature, looking at existing ethical frameworks, and focused interviews involving two volunteer academics from two different disciplines. Discussion ranged across topics such as context for use of e-Portfolios, advantages and disadvantages of e-Portfolio use, and perceived challenges that might arise in the future in relation to e-Portfolios. The report concludes that although the reviewed existing ethical frameworks and guidelines provide a solid foundation for the future they will need revising for a digital teaching and learning context that, among other aspects, involves publicly available student generated content.

Australasian Evaluation Society Inc. (2006a). Guidelines for the ethical conduct of evaluations.

University of Canberra. (2008). A Code of Professional Ethics for Staff at the University of Canberra.

In the project report I acknowledge the input, mentorship, support and expertise of Dr Coralie McCormack, Teaching and Learning Centre, University of Canberra.


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