School of Pharmacy: ePortfolio for student development

Lecturer, Nadine Butler from School of Pharmacy consulted with the CIECT team on the creation of an ePortfolio template (Google Sites) and the distribution of it to her 3rd year students. It was recommended that she make use of a tool called siteMaestro, that will allow an educator to copy (bulk), share and manage Google Sites (ePortfolios) with a roster of students and ultimately spend less time managing the ePortfolio. Nadine therefore has more time to collaborate and reflect on the content and student development. Aguaded, López and Jaén (2013:203) also note that a potential weakness of ePortfolio use by students is that “too much time needs to be spent on building them”. Accordingly, Pink, Cadbury and Stanton (2008:1132-1133) reflect on the use of “templates to guide students through the stages of the reflective learning cycle and personal learning plans”.

The students are able to archive information collected of what has been learned and what has been achieved over a period of time. The evidence that can be embedded within an ePortfolio includes:
– Word, Powerpoint, PDF documents;
– Digital media (images, videos, podcasts); and
– Text
These 3rd year students will build on this years ePortfolio for the following year.

Benefits for students stem from Meeus, Questier and Derks’ (2006:136) observation that “The student wants to use [a] portfolio to show his/her competence”, and that “Working with competencies has a number of advantages. In the first place competencies are rooted in practical situations, also known as ‘authentic contexts’, and are linked to the professional practice for which the student is being trained”. Additionally, the use of ePortfolios “allows a lecturer to find out about learning processes, his/her class’s working methods, tutoring processes, the level of students’ competency acquisition and the problems that students encounter while working in teams, etc. In short, e-portfolios help to monitor the teaching-learning process” (Aguaded, López and Jaén; 2013:203).

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