Student experience with e-Portfolio: exploring the roles of trust and creativity

Rachel Moule, Ethan Rhemahn

Abstract


Research and pedagogic design for e-Portfolios has tended to focus on optimising the environmental conditions and supportive structures for learners to benefit from more meaningful Personal Development Planning (PDP). Yet engaging students with e-Portfolio for PDP remains difficult.
An action research project was undertaken to investigate our learnersââ¬â¢ experiences with using their e-Portfolio for PDP and to identify what we could learn to inform future design. As part of the project, a focus group interview was undertaken with 8 members of a first year undergraduate cohort who were new to both e-Portfolio and to PDP.
Whilst thematic analysis confirmed other widely reported findings, two strong themes emerged from the focus groups that appear to be less well documented. Although students clearly enjoyed engaging with opportunities for creativity and play, they also expressed uncertainty over the purpose of, and audience, for their e-Portfolio, and thus its academic relevance. The emotional dimension of trust in relation to intended audience, ownership of content, and online space security and accessibility, also emerged as an important student concern and this appeared to act as a barrier to engagement with e-Portfolio.
These findings suggest that engagement with e-Portfolio be reframed to consider more explicit inclusion of the affective dimensions of trust and play as important elements that may encourage a deeper approach to personal learning, and to PDP, through this electronic medium. Ways are suggested for tutors to afford opportunities for students to be creative as part of initiation into their e-Portfolio space, and help them to cross an ââ¬Ëaffective trust thresholdââ¬â¢.

Keywords


e-Portfolio; PDP; trust; creativity; engagement

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ISSN: 1759-667X