Work Integrated Learning and ePortfolios for Developing Research Identity and Practice in the Medical Sciences and beyond at UNSW Australia
1School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Medicine, UNSW Australia; 2Prince of Wales Clinical School, UNSW Medicine, UNSW Australia; 3School of Education, University of Notre Dame Australia; 4Faculty of Engineering, UNSW Australia; 5Faculty of Health, School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; 6Adult Cancer Program and School of Women's and Children's Health, UNSW Medicine, UNSW Australia; 7Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia
The warranty of co-curricular professional skills and capabilities attained by undergraduates that are linked to formal academic, curricular learning is a challenge at the institutional level. ePortfolios embedded within university courses and programs provide an interesting solution to this issue. In undergraduate courses and to some degree in post-graduate courses, integration of learning and learner-centered tools such as an ePortfolio requires scaffolding of folio thinking. This mechanism supports students in reflection, metacognition and digital literacy, to develop skills and experience in reflective practice, career awareness, knowledge of graduate employability and professional identity. Importantly, ePortfolios assist students in higher education to reflect upon and evidence their learning and development of their academic/curricular and co-curricular/professional skills that are life-long and life-wide. As students develop deep reflective and evaluative thinking they can then become owners of their professional identity and navigate their way towards future employment.
In the Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSci) degree program at UNSW Australia, our approach has infused ePortfolio pedagogy and folio thinking into courses that are aligned within the program to engage the learner in recognising their academic and professional skills development as part of their work integrated learning (WIL). Reflective practice is incorporated as part of various course assessment tasks to provide a space for personalised learning and awareness of identify development as part of attaining skills and graduate capabilities. In addition to reflection on skills development, career development learning (CDL) was has also been integrated into the ePortfolio pedagogy within capstone year 3 courses. Through this unique approach, an “apprenticeship”- model was developed to make explicit professional knowledge and skills through modelling in the learning design. The final instructional strategy included a career intervention, to capture ways of knowing through further reflection in a personalised student-centered ePortfolio. At the end of the courses involved, the students were significantly more confident with career-associated self-efficacy and demonstrated autonomy.
Explicit alignment of course assessment with learning outcomes encourages students to evidence their learning and consider how assessment tasks develop their professional skills beyond their study program. Two strategies for ePortfolio use have been piloted and implemented within the Medical Science program at UNSW. A longitudinal program-wide approach has been initiated across courses, from years 1-4, encouraging students to develop reflective practice over time. A transverse, cross-context, cross-discipline approach has been used in year 3 courses to develop professional skills and career capabilities and awareness. Therefore, ePortfolios were used to address professional skills building and career preparedness for Medical Science undergraduates at UNSW Australia. Examples included Processes in Disease (year 2, foundational) and Molecular Basis of Inflammation and Infection (year 3, specialist) Pathology courses that ePortfolio linked to assessment tasks that build authentic written research communication skills: an annotated bibliography (2nd yr) and a research laboratory report (year 3). We measured changes seen upon student engagement with an ePortfolio using: a) two sets of marking criteria assessing the writing and associated co-curricular reflection tasks and b) skills and career ability surveys capturing improved student confidence, acquired skills and perceptions of themselves as professionals. Student reflective practice and professional skills in research thinking and writing were observed through and with ePortfolio use. Furthermore, at UNSW Australia, the School of Medical Sciences Research Internship and the postgraduate course, for Continuing Education for Exercise Physiologists, represent interesting courses with work integrated learning scenarios where use of ePortfolio supports student development as reflective practitioners.
In this presentation, ‘the how, the what and the why’ behind what we do when engaging students for co-curricular, professional skills building, experiences and knowledge using ePortfolios as well as improving our own team understanding of ePortfolio pedagogy at UNSW Australia will be discussed. The successes from implementation to future employability through the stories of graduates and teachers and the role that creative thinking, teaching and collaboration have played in developing self-efficacy and self-determination will be presented.
Digital badges, skills and social learning in Living Labs and Fab Labs
The use of digital certificates (micro credential) and badges (digital badge) is an emerging practice for assessing and enhancing the skills acquired in formal and informal context of co-design and improve digital literacy and collaborative intelligence for researchers, practitioners and citizens. Communautique as a Living Lab, dedicated to social innovation, located in the heart of the Innovation Square of Montreal, Canada, develop an action research program with LCA UQAM to design and implement a digital badge system to facilitate the recognition of skills acquired and developed by participants in its training activities and codesign events within échoFab, first Fab Lab approved by MIT in Canada. The originality of the action research is that it is in the context of democratization of access to advanced technologies in a Fab Lab, based on the emerging culture of "makers". The initiative draws strength from this movement that is part of an international network of Fab Labs supported by MIT, and also in different initiatives such as the project "Cities of learning." Digital manufacturing workshops Fab Lab used to become familiar with the theory, knowledge, observations and approaches through learning workshops 2D and 3D modelling, machining custom machine tools digital (3D printing, laser cutting, etc.), use of materials and electronics, in the context of digital manufacturing in Fab Lab.
The research team was involved in this project as an expert in the development of a system of digital badges. The research component intervention helped to support the development and instructional design of the architecture of digital badges to deploy in connection with the standards of science and technology skills present in the digital manufacturing workshops Fab Lab to model skills and acquired relevant to value in the form of badges. Our work was also meant to ensure a certain quality processes based on best practices. To do this, we used the Communautique Design (Harvey, 2014) which is a new field of applied communication proposing an original approach (methodology) in the field of co-design, and that, in the context of learning organizations and smart cities (e-service, online applications, platforms, virtual communities, innovation ecosystems) to the intentional social change. This is a generic methodology to analyze and designer of digital and social systems. In this field of action, digital social systems are complex communicational spaces in which various types of sub-spaces are created and evolve. It is a way to model the new collaborative spaces and socio-technical systems. For example, communities of practice, Living Lab, MOOC, Fab Lab, creative hubs, enterprise portal, collaborative social networks, sociocultural segments, coworking space and tele-work, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, DAO (Decentralized autonomous organization), etc. Thus the digital badge system was analyzed and designed as a digital social system.
Thus, we will make a feedback and present the results of this experiment pedagogically, technological and organizational. For example, we will discuss the creative processes of 21st century skills reference, experimentation of new educational design (STEM to STEAM) technology assessment of digital badges management systems, the use standard "Open Badge" developed by Mozilla, and the impacts of this project on the organization internally and in its ecosystem in the valuation of emerging practices of citizen ownership of collaborative technologies and the role of researchers in this type of initiative.
Empowering First-Year Students to Thrive in University through a Self-Regulated Career oriented ePortfolio
University of Piraeus, Greece
Higher Education (HE) institutions provide a new landscape for first-year undergraduate students and should assist them in acquiring a set of skills for thriving in the interconnected world. First-year students are challenged to succeed in the new social and academic environment but they may often struggle to set goals, organize their activities, manage time and use a repertoire of learning strategies. Studies further indicate that students experience a decrease in their self-efficacy beliefs, which leads to ineffective use of strategies and a high attrition rate during their first year in university. This means that HE institutions are challenged to design and implement flexible and authentic educational programs that assist students with defining, managing and improving their self and skills. Research also indicates the importance of intervening in early academic years to encourage students to bolster their self-regulation, a key skill for being successful in education, career and life. HE should deliver learner-centered experiences like ePortfolios so as to prompt students to assume responsibility for their own learning processes.
On such grounds, a Self-Regulated Career oriented ePortfolio as a dynamic social networking tool and orchestrated along the processes of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) with career management skills was designed. The vision is to empower first-year students to regulate their learning process and to promote academic achievement. Participants followed a structured process and got involved in specific activities, such as setting meaningful goals, adopting dynamic strategies for managing these goals, monitoring the learning process, managing time, attributing meaning to outcomes, self-evaluating the learning path followed. The study aims to examine whether the use of a Self-Regulated Career oriented ePortfolio enhances first-year students’ self-regulated learning. Furthermore, this study attempts to explore the relationship between the use of SRL processes and achievement in ePortfolio use.
We conducted an experimental research (one group only) within a computer science university department. The research question was: “Is there any significant change in the mean scores of students’ SRL skills after the use of Self-Regulated Career oriented ePortfolio?”. The data gathered were subjected to quantitative and qualitative statistical analysis. The findings revealed that a significant increase on the means across students’ processes of SRL (cognitive, affective, behavior and context processes) after the completion of the ePortfolio. Conclusively, the potential of developing ePortfolios should be further studied in order to enable students to become active learners and enhance their hard and soft skills, problem solving and time management skills.