Evaluating a new e-PDP tool and its relationship with personal tutoring

Jane Rowe

Abstract


The University of Exeter has used electronic tools to support the PDP process for students since well before the 2005 implementation of Progress Files. However, in 2007 high priority was given to the launch of a new e-PDP system to all staff and students through the long-established mechanism of the universityââ¬â¢s personal tutor system.
This paper explores, in the context of one academic school, the attempted integration between face-to-face ââ¬Ëdevelopmental conversationsââ¬â¢ between tutors and tutees, and online recording of experiences and action plans by students. Whilst a fundamental change in the role of the personal tutor appears to have been accepted, the extent to which electronic tools are seen as an important part of the process is shown to be very much a live issue, centred on perceptions about ownership and responsibility.
The paper concludes that staff support for, and positive engagement among students with the principles of Personal Development Planning (PDP) do not necessarily translate into motivation to use online resources. Moreover, the findings of our project seem to confirm Richardson and Wardââ¬â¢s (2005) observation that the terms ââ¬Ëe-Portfolioââ¬â¢ or ââ¬Ëe-PDPââ¬â¢, ââ¬ËPDPââ¬â¢ and ââ¬ËProgress Filesââ¬â¢ are often used interchangeably and that implementation of online tools, particularly in personal tutor-led PDP programmes, must be managed carefully to avoid confusion between process and output.

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ISSN: 1759-667X