This paper reflects on the experiences of part time Higher Education students on a short course, who used e-portfolios (Mahara) to create ‘digital posters’ for summative assessment. Transforming Technologies: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, a 10-week, 20 credit course, aimed to provide students with a knowledge, understanding and practical experience of new technologies, along with the critical and evaluative skills demanded of Masters level study. Given this emphasis on critique, students were also invited to engage with the course design, delivery and assessment, giving them a strong sense of how pedagogy and technology can interface: a ‘meta-understanding’ of the curriculum. One of the novel ways to involve students was in the design of an e-portfolio assessment matrix, integrating both academic and digital skills, which would then be used by the students and tutor to mark the digital poster.
There is a growing interest and body of writing concerned with e-portfolios in education. However, their uptake as a means of assessment in HE is limited; perhaps, as Barr and Tagg, 1995 (in Khan: 2014) assert, it engenders a shift from ‘teacher led to student led’ assessment, which may be something HE is nervous of and might find difficult to administer. JISC (2015:35) claim there is a “growing body of evidence that highlights the active engagement of learners in assessment and feedback as the critical factor in enhancing learning.” Likewise, the HEA set out a framework for re-considering assessment with one of the key tenets described as ‘integrating assessment literacy into course design’ with the aim of increasing student understanding of standards (2015).
This paper will present a critical discussion of the co-creation of a marking matrix for e-portfolio assessment with students, from its inception, through integration into course design and finally as students use this tool for self and peer assessment. Students’ thoughts and feelings about the peer-assessment process and their use of this tool will be shared, as will the agreed assessment matrix, which will be distributed to colleagues at ALT-C for critical evaluation. These insights will be situated in a wider discussion around the use of e-portfolios as a form of assessment and the benefits and issues that this might bring.
Khan (2014) E-portfolios: A look at where we’ve been, where we are now and where we’re (possibly) going, Peer Review (E-portfolios for Reflection, Learning and Assessment) Winter 2014, Vol 16. No.1
JISC (2015) Digital Futures: Expert Briefings on Digital Technologies for Education and Research (eds: Martin Hall, Martyn Harrow and Lorraine Estelle), Chandos Publishing, Kidlington.
Higher Education Academy (2015) Framework for transforming assessment in Higher Education, The Higher Education Academy Framework series, HEA