An Example Of Paper Based Collaborative Portfolios2
Dr Merilyn Childs
A/Prof of Higher Education
Charles Sturt University, May 2009.
E-portfolios for academic development
In 2009 I began to embed e-portfolios into academic professional
development in the field of university learning and teaching. I have
found that the language of eportfolios can alienate some people.
In this presentation, I give examples of a paper-based portfolio I used
as a learning and assessment tool in 2001 . I hope they help give a
concrete “feel” to portfolios of evidence & reflection, whether they are
paper based or virtual.
A retrospective look at my use of collaborative paper-
based portfolios (2001)
In 2001 I wrote and then offered a course called the Graduate Diploma
of Social Sciences (Adult Education) at the University of Western
Sydney, NSW Australia.
A key learning and assessment tool was the use of collaborative
reflection, represented through group owned and developed paper-
Collaborative groups were handed A5 art portfolios
Participants developed their collaborative portfolio manually.
[On this page, participants talked about theory as well as time pressure. This is a quote from Van
Manen (1999) used in one portfolio.]
Here the group develops evidence of their focus and
approach to analysis…
Here the group collaboratively explored epistemology -
“where do you sit as an educator?”
Social context formed part of the analysis – “where do you
work and learn?” One collaborator taught computer skills.
Another collaborator was an outdoor educator. Together
they interrogated a diversity of contexts.
What makes a community of practice?
The next example shows two pages developed by 4
members of the second group. Visually, they explored
the idea – what factors shape a community of practice?
Example 2 – here a group explores how their community
is shaped (geographically and ideologically)
Here the group used humour to explore aspects of their
collaboration in a junk food learning space.
Collaboratively groups worked to construct meaning of
their learning, and used theory and practice to do so.
New technologies help us develop greater opportunities for using
portfolios with our students, and for our own professional
development and careers.
Evidence-based portfolios have been used by educators interested in
learning outcomes for a long time.
In the past, they usually took the form of books, made up of cut-outs,
reflective writing, bits and pieces, evidence. The paper-based
portfolios I’ve had the pleasure of helping develop have provided fertile
grounds for learning and reflexivity.
E-portfolios provide a new way of doing the same thing. Only it is so
much more dynamic, interactive, editable, moveable, shareable….
The challenge remains to encourage educators to align the use of e-
portfolios with social learning theory and to create ways of engaging
users in collaborative learning.
Instead of the paper based A5 art portfolio, here is a
YouTube video about using eportfolios for academics.
Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B3tujXlbdk
Many thanks to the students of the class of 2001, who gave me
permission all those years ago to use parts of their portfolios should the
need arise. Your creativity, deep understanding and enthusiasm still