ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards 2018 – Finalists and Community Choice Voting

Annual Conference 201a8 - CatalystALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards 2018 are proudly sponsored by Catalyst IT Europe Ltd

Established in 2007, the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards celebrate and reward excellent practice and outstanding achievement in the Learning Technology field, and aim to promote intelligent use of Learning Technology on a national scale. The Awards are open to individuals and teams based anywhere in the world.

The expert panel of judges is chaired by Martin Weller, President of ALT. The panel represents expertise from different sectors and countries, bringing together a wealth of experience in Learning Technology. The 2018 judges are:

  • Sarah-Jane Crowson, Scholarship development manager, Hereford College of Arts
  • Dr Louise Drumm, Researcher
  • Farzana Latif, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Kulari Lokuge, Associate Director eLearning, Monash College
  • Alex Moseley, Head of Curriculum Enhancement, Leicester Learning Institute, University of Leicester
  • Joey Murison – General Manager, Catalyst IT – Open Source Technologists
  • Dr Chrissi Nerantzi, Principal Lecturer in Academic CPD, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Dr James Pickering, Associate Professor in Anatomy, Leeds Institute of Medical Education
  • Prof John Traxler, Professor of Digital Learning, University of Wolverhampton
  • Prof Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology, Open University

Vote for Community Choice award [voting has now closed]

The judges’ choices for individual and team awards will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Annual Conference on the 12th of September. We were also giving everyone the opportunity to vote from the judges shortlisted finalists to select this year’s Community Choice award.

How to vote

There were two ways to vote: via email and via Twitter. Voting is limited to one vote per account. Your account details (email addresses and Twitter screen names) will not be used for direct marketing or passed by ALT to third parties. All voting closed at noon (BST) on the 12th of September 2018.

Vote via email

Send a message to LTAwards-vote@alt.ac.uk with the tag of the person or team in the subject line. For example, to vote for “Lincoln’s Student Video Support Assistants (Team Award)” email to LTAwards-vote@alt.ac.uk with the subject line ‘#LTA1′. We have prepared links below labelled ‘email’ which should compose the message for you with your default email client.

Vote via Twitter

Tweet a message with the hashtag #altc and the tag of the person or team you wish to vote for. For example, to vote for “Gaming for Graduates (Research Project Award)” your tweet should include ‘#altc #LTA2’. You are allowed to include other text/links with your tweet. We have prepared the links below labelled ‘tweet’ which compose a suggested tweet for you to edit. Retweets will not be counted. Only publicly visible tweets will be counted. If a Twitter account tweets more than one vote, the last vote will only be counted.

This Year’s Finalists

  • Vote #LTA1 [email | tweet] – Lincoln’s Student Video Support Assistants (Team Award)
  • Vote #LTA2 [email | tweet] – Gaming for Graduates (Research Project Award)
  • Vote #LTA3 [email | tweet] – Ros Walker (Individual Award)
  • Vote #LTA4 [email | tweet] – Technology enhanced learning strategy documents in UK HEIs (Research Project Award)
  • Vote #LTA5 [email | tweet] – #VLEIreland Research Project (Research Project Award)
  • Vote #LTA6 [email | tweet] – Paul Driver (Individual Award)
  • Vote #LTA7 [email | tweet] – Derby’s Technology-Enhanced Learning Team (Team Award)
  • Vote #LTA8 [email | tweet] – Students’ Responses to Learner Dashboards (Research Project Award)
  • Vote #LTA9 [email | tweet] – A Survey of the Learning Behaviour of Open University Students (Research Project Award)
  • Vote #LTA10 [email | tweet] – Peter Shukie (Individual Award)
  • Vote #LTA11 [email | tweet] – Learning portfolio team (Team Award)

More information about each shortlisted finalist is given below.

Shortlisted Finalists

 

Lincoln’s Student Video Support Assistants (Team Award)

(Vote #LTA1 [email | tweet])

Photo of Lincoln's Video Support Assistants

Inspired by our ‘Students as Producer’ initiative, Lincoln’s Student Video Support Assistant (VSA) emphasizes the role of the student as academic collaborators in the production of new knowledge for staff and students alike. The VSAs work alongside staff to create relevant, appropriate and student-focussed resources whilst simultaneously developing professional skills and practical experience.

This collaboration has resulted in nearly 300 video projects to date (>16k hits), delivering a wide range of outputs, including:

  • as well as hands-on staff technical support.

The VSAs work within the Digital Education and Student Life team to partner with academics and professional staff to develop a brief and can take a creative lead on the production of original video content. The videos produced are subsequently used for learning and teaching within taught modules or for staff and student support and training. The VSAs have also led training sessions for other students on basic video editing and vlogging – part of an employability-focused series of training events organised by Careers; as well as contributing vlogs and other video content used in key student engagement initiatives aimed at easing the transition to University for new students and promoting events and services.

The collaborative nature of the VSAs work ensures the authentic student ‘voice’ is captured within all of the resources created. All work is credited as student-produced which helps underpin authenticity for the student audience and delivers a variety of tones and styles that are professional, dynamic and engaging for its intended audience: “The numerous projects worked on with the VSAs has meant that we have been able to provide students with video content relevant to their studies in a (relatively) timely manner, and to produce content contributing towards the student experience.” (Academic, Lincoln International Business School).

The VSA initiative underpins our digital engagement activities within Digital Education and Student Life and has helped deliver significant growth in the adoption of video across a wide range of teaching and learning and University activities. We wish to share the effectiveness of this partnership model beyond our existing social media channels and internal promotion. We believe validation and recognition through the ALT C awards will publicly demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach and hopefully encourage others to explore similar collaborations.

 

Gaming for Graduates (Research Project Award)

(Vote #LTA2 [email | tweet])

This project investigated the use of video games to develop sought-after ‘graduate attributes’. These attributes are the skills and competencies that employers are said to look for in our graduates, and include communication skill, resourcefulness, and adaptability. The idea that video games may offer a means of developing useful skills isn’t new, but there’s little in the way of empirical evidence for the efficacy of using games in higher education.

Here, students played selected commercial video games over the course of a semester and any gains in attribute attainment were measured. The games comprised eight commercial titles including the team-based shooter Team Fortress 2, co-operative puzzle-solver Portal 2, and story-driven mystery Gone Home. Emphasis was placed on games that involve collaboration and communication, while the range of games was intended to exercise students’ resourcefulness and adaptability by presenting an ever-changing variety of challenges. Intervention group students were invited to play the games in a lab on campus on a drop-in basis, logging two hours of play on most games (one hour on two shorter games) over approximately one semester.

The project was centred around a randomised controlled trial, which used previously-validated instruments to quantitatively measure students’ attribute attainment on a pre/post-test basis. Differences in attainment between the intervention group that played the games and the control group that did not were then calculated. We also collected qualitative data via interviews with student participants, designed to measure attitudes to the game-based intervention. This approach was intended to help answer the questions of ‘if’ and ‘why’ students involved in the study felt they had gained something from playing the games.

The randomised controlled design is relatively rare in game-based learning research, and the results were striking. Pre-/post-test results indicated significantly improved gains on the three measures (communication, adaptability and resourcefulness) for the game-playing intervention group versus the control, with differences of between 0.9 and 1.15 standard deviations in test scores. 95% confidence intervals calculated for the difference between mean scores for the control and intervention groups did not cross zero, supporting the idea that playing video games may be beneficial to students.

References

[1] Barr, M. (2017). Video games can develop graduate skills in higher education students: A randomised trial. Computers & Education, 113, 86–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.05.016

[2] Barr, M. (2018). Student attitudes to games-based skills development: Learning from video games in higher education. Computers in Human Behavior, 80, 283–294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.11.030

 

Ros Walker (Individual Award)

(Vote #LTA3 [email | tweet])

A photograph of Ros WalkerIt is often assumed that things are made easier by computers – But that isn’t true for everyone.

Over the last year, I have worked at Huddersfield University setting up a new service called HudStudy, available to all staff and students, offering support with technology for learning:

Hud Study IT to Help you learn

Some may need specialised software, such as screen-readers; others may need help using the technology they have in order to study better e.g. using Mind-mapping software or time-management tools.

I am based in Computing and library services but I sit in Disability and wellbeing services. This means I see the bigger picture and can respond to needs in a different way. For the last year, you will have found me in the HudStudy office in an accessible area of the University, door open, unless I was already with a student or staff member. Appointments are booked via our electronic booking system, allowing staff and students to choose their own days and times.

Inside the office, every appointment is different.

  • A blind student learning how to do referencing using JAWS,
  • a Masters student who has broken his arm on the ice and needs dictation software to complete an essay,
  • a dyslexic student who needs the screen read aloud,
  • a student with mental health problems who is struggling with organising her work and has 200 files on her desktop because no one ever told her about folders

Every student different, every student needing personalised support.

But HudStudy does more than that:

  • I run Staff development courses on Read&Write and MindView. This year I have trained more than 100 staff to use the software – for themselves and with their students
  • I write fully-accessible materials for all our software – paper-based, and online – text and video.
  • Digital  accessibility (voted #2 in the Educasue Learning Initiative 2018 survey)  As we move to Brightspace as a VLE, it has been essential to highlight that content needs to be accessible. I have done this through guidelines and an event for staff on digital accessibility.
  • Lecture capture and deaf students: I explored capturing the BSL interpreter and/or providing captions  (Walker & Whittles, 2017)
  • Supporting courses across the university by introducing all students to software they can use to help them study, especially through the University’s Flying Start initiative.

Please watch the video for more information! Thank you.

Walker, R., & Whittles, R. (2017). Lecture capture for disabled students: asset or additional hurdle? NADP(9.1), 63-76. Retrieved from https://nadp-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/JIPFHE.ISSUE-9.1-Winter-2017.pdf

 

Technology enhanced learning strategy documents in UK HEIs (Research Project Award)

(Vote #LTA4 [email | tweet])

Screen shot of an Article: UK higher institutions' technology-enhanced learning strategies from the perspective of disruptive innovationOur research project was a content analysis of technology-enhanced learning strategies. A total of forty-four were sampled, comprising 26.35% of UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The project exposed a faultline in many technology-enhanced learning strategies, because of the extent to which they are disengaged from practice.

Disruptive Innovation theory was used to analyse the strategies. Disruptive Innovation is most closely associated with the work of Clayton Christensen. Christensen (1997) constructs a dualism between technologies that enable us to do something we had already been doing a little better than before (indicative of sustaining innovation), and technologies that prompt new practices (indicative of disruptive innovation).

Our analysis exposed latent content, which is frequently more revealing of HEIs’ practices and intentions than headline statements. We argued HEIs are adopting a largely sustaining innovation approach to technology-enhanced learning, aiming to develop existing provision incrementally.

Universities are willing to adapt but disinclined to disrupt. Universities can describe themselves as innovative yet, in practice, they are often ameliorative. Notable verb choices in the strategies (e.g. ‘enhance’, ‘augment,’ ‘support’) suggest the aim of developing existing resources and practices along sustaining innovation lines, but not of disrupting them. The manifest content of the technology-enhanced learning strategies can advocate innovation, but the latent content indicates otherwise.

The project exposes a gap between proclamation and practice. Students and lecturers engage with Disruptive Innovation through the use of simple and convenient, non-institutional technologies, but institutional rhetoric adheres more closely to Sustaining Innovation, proposing the incremental enhancement of institutional technologies.

The project has made a significant contribution to learning technology because it argues for the production of technology-enhanced learning strategies based on practice rather than technologies, arguing that technologies have no inviolable, intrinsic purpose but acquire it through human agency, realising and releasing their disruptive potential through ground-up practice.

Our research was published in Research in Learning Technology (2018): http://dx.doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.1987 . The article is also being translated into Chinese, for publication in Distance Education in China (December 2018).

This project can help HEIs produce strategies rooted in practice, and can help them examine both the manifest and latent content of their strategies, to ensure they are aligned. As strategy documents give significant steerage to HEIs, it is important that technology-enhanced learning strategies are consistent and coherent.

 

#VLEIreland Research Project (Research Project Award)

(Vote #LTA5 [email | tweet])

#VLEIreland Research Project

Photos of the VLE GroupsVirtual learning environments (VLEs) remain pervasive in higher education institutions (HEIs) including those in Ireland. However, perhaps because VLEs are mainstreamed and no longer seen as novel, macro-level research into how students and staff use them has been scarce.

Since 2008, we have sought to address this as a multi-institutional group of educational developers in Ireland by tracing the adoption and impact of the VLE across Irish higher education. Our research has resulted in a database of over 25,000 responses from institutions of all sizes. Analysis of the data has made a substantive contribution to the debate around the student and staff experience with their institutionally-supported VLE, and also explored the experience of those at the coalface of supporting technology-enhanced learning.

Some key findings from #VLEIreland are:

  • That students use the VLE constantly but depend on staff to deploy it in educationally sound ways.
  • That use of the VLE on computers and laptops remains stable as access from mobile devices rises sharply.
  • That the benefits from VLE use, but also the challenges and barriers to effective use, are largely shared across the participating institutions irrespective of system chosen.
  • That the continuing professional development of staff is central to their use of the VLE and potentially other forms of technology-enhanced learning.

Recently, many HEIs have launched large-scale projects to evaluate their existing VLEs and potentially change to new platforms. #VLEIreland research has a key contribution to make to the sector in 2018 and has done this through a Special Issue of the Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning (IJTEL) (http://journal.ilta.ie/), the journal of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA) which is available in full text open access. This is the first time all of the key themes  and findings of the research have been fully explored and reflected in published research.

The #VLEIreland research project currently includes 12 of the 21 publicly funded HEIs in Ireland and operates under the auspices of ILTA. The group is a true community of practice, with no official project leader, and different team members have contributed in proportion to their interests and capabilities. We anticipate that the survey created by the #VLEIreland project, which is currently integrated in the research strategy of ILTA, will remain in use as long as VLEs remain a subject of interest. We welcome new participants both in Ireland and beyond to continue this longitudinal study. Find out more at http://vleireland.wordpress.com

 

Paul Driver (Individual Award)

(Vote #LTA6 [email | tweet])

Photo of Paul DriverWhen people ask what I do, I secretly hope that their curiosity will be satiated when I say “I’m a learning technologist”. Further enquiry as to what this means inevitably results in my spiralling through a string of other job titles that describe what I actually do in practice: I’m a web designer, coder, videographer, digital artist, teacher trainer, researcher, educational materials writer, innovator, game designer, sound engineer, motivator, influencer… it really depends on what day of the week it is. Above all though, I am a perpetual learner, picking up skills and knowledge on-the-fly to meet the everyday demands of working in such a dynamic field.

This year, I pioneered the creation of immersive 360-degree learning scenarios at ARU. This is having a significant influence on our faculty learning and teaching strategy through the building and embedding of virtual reality simulations in our social work, mental health & pre-registration nursing programmes. Leveraging our strong partner relationships, these scenarios are developed in authentic, real-world environments that students would otherwise not have access to.

On location, I record high-quality stereoscopic 360-degree video with spatial sound, alongside audio interviews, conventional “flat” video and dozens of notes and photographs, before adding an interactive overlay of navigation, didactic content and other instructional design elements directly within the scenario. Feedback from both academic staff and students has been extremely positive, with many highlighting the value of enabling students to “walk in the shoes” of patients, role play, develop empathy and actively engage in decision making. The strong sense of presence gained from using a VR headset helps to contextualise the complex, often abstract information students need to assimilate. In support of this initiative I am currently untangling the theoretical underpinnings that bind perceptual immersion, embodiment and learning.

These innovations have been facilitated by the support of our extremely progressive Director of Learning and Teaching, who has challenged me to grow professionally and acquire new skills. Just this week, I have illustrated an interactive HTML slider about sleep apnoea, created a kinetic typography video for a conference, recorded and produced a podcast on contraception research, helped a camera shy academic record a welcome video for a new MOOC I built, given a design overhaul to a VLE module, delivered a presentation on exploiting digital games for teaching and discovered a whole new list of things I need to learn. And it’s only Thursday.

 

Derby’s Technology-Enhanced Learning Team (Team Award)

(Vote #LTA7 [email | tweet])

UoD TEL Team 2018We are a diverse team full of creativity and passion to build on a sector-leading student experience at Derby. We provide excellence by harnessing our collective skill-set and determination that is essential for delivering our ambitious institutional strategy. We have a pedagogy first approach to implementing digital practice in the curriculum, combining our technology expertise with learning and teaching knowledge and have demonstrated and delivered excellence at an institutional and sector level, through our bold and future focused approach.

During this academic year, we have developed and are leading on the implementation of a new institutional TEL Strategy 2017-2021 delivering excellence across four key areas: Digital Practice, Digital Capability, Digital Infrastructure and a Data & Research informed approach.

The new Digital Practice Baseline is an example of us working at a strategic level to ensure that our expertise reaches all staff and students across the institution. The Baseline articulates to staff how effective use of learning technology embedded in the curriculum can provide an excellent student learning experience. Conscious of the need to support academic staff with a range of abilities and confidence we have also developed a Digital Practice Handbook. The handbook consists of case studies and creative support materials to assist staff to develop their digital practice and complete the baseline.

As part of our passion to develop student digital capabilities, this year we have produced an online Digital Capability Toolkit, which included a series of videos, developed through a co-creation project with students. The videos explain the key pillars of the Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework, which are a valuable internal resource, but have also been promoted externally via Jisc. Alongside this, we were central in Derby being selected as one of fourteen institutions chosen to collaborate with Jisc to pilot their Digital Capability Discovery Tool in 2017 and have participated again in 2018. During these two pilot stages we ‘processed’ over 470 completed audits from staff at the Institution. We have also collaborated with Jisc to pilot the student version of the discovery tool and the Jisc Student Digital Tracker. The development over the last year of the Digital Champions network has also expanded the reach of our impact in this area by including a stronger student voice, providing valuable insight and enabling students to share this knowledge to their peers.

Building on the successes of the last 12 months, we are now horizon scanning and shaping the future of the institution by leading research into the vision of digital learning at Derby.

 

Students’ Responses to Learner Dashboards (Research Project Award)

(Vote #LTA8 [email | tweet])

Photo of Liz BennettDr Liz Bennett’s project investigated Students’ learning responses to receiving dashboard data. The study was funded by a Scoping Award from Society for Research in Higher Education and provides a critical understanding of the emergent field of learning analytics from students’ point of view. The focus was on learner dashboards, the tools that take data from a range of sources (such as attendance at lecturers and seminars, the frequency of visits to the library, which books they take out, attainment, activity on the VLE etc) and present it to students in visual forms. Developers of dashboards and some parts of the learning analytic community claim that they will transform learning, improve retention and attainment and this study has provided a critical analysis that helps to go beyond the hype.

The study involved interviewing 24 final year students from across a whole cohort to understand how their individual dispositions and experiences shape their responses.

The findings show that there is potential for dashboards to be motivational but the way that dashboards are designed and implemented needs to be student centred. For instance, many wanted their performance to be compared to their peers, because they found it motivated them, but some found this upsetting and off-putting, so we argue dashboards should be customisable by students.

We theorised the data seeing them as socio-cultural artefacts and challenging the self-regulated learning model that dominates the learning analytics literature.

There are some practical recommendations that flow from our study;

Learner dashboard designs need to:

  • Be customisable by the student;
  • Enable students to choose what they see;
  • Enable students to trust and interrogate the sources of data by avoiding aggregating data;
  • Enable students to identify actionable insights.

Institutions and dashboard developers need to:

  • Develop descriptive rather than predictive dashboards;
  • Ensure that developments are driven by student centred values rather than by institutional priorities;
  • Embed use of learner dashboards in other supportive processes.

Find out more about the research at a workshop on Tuesday 11th September at ALT’s conference in Manchester.

The Project Report is available from the completed research area of the SRHE website:

https://www.srhe.ac.uk/downloads/reports-2016/LizBennet-scoping2016.pdf

 

A Survey of the Learning Behaviour of Open University Students (Research Project Award)

(Vote #LTA9 [email | tweet])

Photo of Alice Gallagher and Elizabeth EllisThis project is the culmination of 18 months’ work seeking to understand how best to utilise new technologies for the benefit of distance learning students at The Open University.

We are part of an innovation project team developing new ways to enable colleagues to design and collaboratively create digital distance learning experiences. As a natural extension of that work, we are now looking at ways to give our students the benefit of the same technologies.

This work began with a preliminary online ‘study habits and hacks’ survey in 2016 to gain greater insight into exactly how our students study. From the huge quantity of qualitative data the students shared with us we were able to conduct a thematic analysis and group the behaviours into 5 distinct ‘digital personas’. This was an important first step in understanding the different approaches students take to their study.

Having worked closely with colleagues and students in interpreting the results of this first survey, the project embarked on a follow-up validation survey in October 2017. This new online survey consisted of 55 behavioural and attitudinal statements on a 5-point Likert scale. The statements were chosen with great care, drawing on the literature in this area, to develop a robust measurement tool of learning behaviours. The data was analysed in two stages. Firstly, a principle component analysis (PCA) was carried out to establish the 7 key learning behaviours. Then a cluster analysis was carried out to look for groups and patterns in the data.

The overarching finding of the project is the arrival at the 7 key learning behaviours as a way of understanding how OU students currently study, and how we can utilise new technologies to encourage certain behaviours that lead to skills development. We have mapped these behaviours into a visualisation that instead of data, maps out the key behaviours between digital spaces. This is informing the development, testing and iteration of concepts for new approaches to digital learning.

This work is important because it brings together the best of what the OU does: robust, academic research into teaching and learning, and the development of new products using a human-centred design approach. These areas of work can happen in isolation from each other. We have huge technological potential on the horizon, but ensuring we know what will have the biggest impact on helping our students succeed is vital.

Full paper: oro.open.ac.uk/55590/

 

Peter Shukie (Individual Award)

(Vote #LTA10 [email | tweet])

Photo of Peter Shukie by BrandonThe emphasis of my application is on the ways I have developed approaches to technology that allow for learning to emerge in different places, and to make real differences in who owns and creates learning.

This application suggests a recognition that technology allows us to reimagine who creates learning and knowledge and rethink what teaching might be. As an educator in college-based Higher Education, I am aware of our position at the margins of much research and innovation.  We have a major role to play in bridging the gaps between institutions and community and it is through technology that we have done this. Rather than beginning by viewing students on college-based HE as non-traditional, we begin by recognising their values and experiences of students and create opportunities to engage based on their own lives, then merge and relate these with their academic lives. Technology allows them to generate multiple projects and learning spaces and address for real many issues of divide, access and diversity in teaching/ learning.

I have created modules in undergraduate provision that begin with critical appraisal of learning contexts and which begin with dialogue in communities, creating partnerships in the design and creation of learning.   This year we had 70 projects that included inter-generational learning using social-media and film-making, DEAF culture courses developing localised applications of sign language, phonics courses translated into Urdu for EAL parents (on DVDs, because parents have games consoles but not internet access at home), an art therapy course for a community group and a neighbourhood support group for a community facing a series of violent crimes.  These have been possible due to the development of the project networks, the scope of the technology modules and the integration of technology support, community groups and a Community Open Online Courses (COOCs) platform.

I see my role beyond that of learning technologist and begin with the relationship between people, learning and technology.  This has resulted in spaces to learn that move beyond enhancing of existing provision, to include COOCs, a platform created with the belief that ‘anyone can teach, anyone can learn’.  COOCs has over 1000 users worldwide and broadens evidence around possible ways we teach and who makes those decisions. I led a HEFCE project on Interactive Essays that utilise multi-media in their creation, and ask students to create networks and to share their work before submission.  I have linked to several other universities with this form of assessment and this has also been applied in youth work and private training agencies. Excellence comes from recognising possibilities and the promoting technology enhanced learning as integral to the philosophy of education, not simply the science of teaching.  The work we have done this year highlights the necessity of courage and innovation to be able to go beyond the familiar and to introduce new ways of thinking, designing and educating. My approach is that when moving into fresh landscapes we cannot always find firm ground but that it is OK to explore what we don’t already know.

 

Learning portfolio team (Team Award)

(Vote #LTA11 [email | tweet])

Photo of members of the DCU TEAMDublin City University (DCU) Learning Portfolio team is comprised of Mark Glynn (Head of Teaching Enhancement Unit), Lisa Donaldson (Learning Portfolio Lead), and Chloe Langan, Niamh Gurrin and Mirenda Rosenberg (student ambassadors). The student voice was key to championing the rollout and adoption of the Reflect Learning Portfolio platform to all students and faculty in DCU in 2017/2018, and our student ambassadors were a critical part of the team from the outset.

Through openness and collaboration that went beyond the confines of DCU, the team sought to improve eportfolio competencies and advance eportfolio technologies institutionally, nationally and internationally. Some of these initiatives included:

Institutionally:

The team has been wholly dedicated to the success of this initiative over the last year and epitomised a sincere desire to improve student learning outcomes through the affordances of learning portfolios. Supporting the adoption of the learning portfolio by 10,000 staff and students across almost 40 programmes which equates of over 50% of the DCU student population in just one year. This was achieved through presentations, drop in clinics, one to one support, innovative training programmes and student showcase awards. This showcase was used to promote eportfolio practice, recognise and reward student attainments, and celebrate the hard work that faculty and students put into making ePortfolios a success.

Nationally:

A community of practice (Eportfolio Ireland) was nurtured by the team to share information, support learning and enhance collaboration on eportfolios across institutions nationally. Whilst beyond the remit of the work for the team, this initiative resulted in face to face and online events that developed eportfolio competencies for DCU faculty as well as many other Irish higher education institutions. The team, through the COP, also instigated Ireland’s first eportfolio Unconference. Completely powered by technology, the unconference format supported a flexible and collaborative approach to CPD. The event sold out and the evaluations spoke to the creativity and value of the unconference format. Collaborative outputs from this event include an eportfolio assessment e-book to be published in September to benefit eportfolio practitioners nationally and internationally.

Internationally:

The team consulted both nationally and internationally to design specifications which improved the usability and functionality of the eportfolio platform. The technical developments undertaken by the team have been integrated into the core system and these improvements are now available to over 1.3 million users of the Mahara platform globally. The team including the student ambassadors have collaborated with institutions in the US and have presented on their experience as eportfolio student ambassadors at a recent conference.