USP serves a region of approximately 33 million square kilometres (Bolabola & Wah, 1995, p. 2) and spans five time zones. It is one of two regional universities in the world (the other being the University of the West Indies). The university is jointly ownedby the governments of twelve island countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue,Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa (Figure 1) and offers almost 400educational programmes through distance and flexible learning with a variety of media at fifteen campusesin the region. USP has been a worldwide pioneer in this area since the early 1970’s.USPNet, a satellite-based communications network, is used to reach over 10,000 students across the vastexpanse of the Pacific Ocean. Distance and flexible learning students are provided with a mix of printedmaterials audio and video cassettes, CDs and DVDs, the Internet and live access to lectures and tutorialstaking place at the main Suva Campus through video conferencing and broadcasting.
Within CFDL, the ePortfolio Working Group (ePWG) was formed in 2009, tasked to research and test available ePortfolio applications/systems with the view to selecting and adapting the system most suited to USP's context for implementation Members of the working group consisted of instructional designers, education technologists and UU100 course coordinator 3 ePortfolio systems were selected for testing. After an intensive evaluation, identification and selection process, the Mahara application was selected as USP’s ePortfolio system because it intgrated well with Moodle, our exisitng LMS and it was free and open source which means we can easily customise it. The Mahara ePortfolio system was piloted on USP’s UU100 course for Semester 2/2010.
UU100 is a communication and information literacy course. It is a generic/compulsory 100-level course. The course was offered for the first time in Semester 2/2010. The assessment breakdown were as follows.
There were weekly lab acitivities throughout the semester. 10 Mini assessments were there. These were based on the weekly lab activities and re-enforced the practical labs and the understanding of the course notes. Students needed to upload these mini assessments onto their ePortfolios together with a reflection of the process involved/lesson learned in the completion of the assessment. As an option, students were also asked to update their ePortfolios with the summaries of the weekly lab activities Students submitted the ePortfolio (with all the mini assessments, reflections and summaries) for marking on Week 15 of the semester.
The UU100 course was used because it was the first course (pilot) in which ePortfolio was incorporated as an assessment component at USP. Three main methods of evaluation: (a) End of semester survey on ePortfolio use (b) observation of student work on ePortfolios, and (c) analysis of the UU100 ePortfolio assessment summary.This presentation presents findings from the End of semester survey on ePortfolio use and analysis of the UU100 ePortfolio assessment summary only
The major survey questions were developed by members of USP’s ePortfolio Working Group. the purpose of the survey was to assess student experiences and attitudes towards ePortfolios in general and specifically towards its use as a learning and assessment tool The survey consisted of 39 statements and questions, 36 of which used Likert-scale in order to measure student agreement to statements. The five point Likert-scale consisted of the following components: strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree and strongly disagree. The survey was conducted online using the survey tool, SurveyMonkey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/. A link to the survey was placed on the UU100 course homepage on Moodle in the last week of the classes in Semester 2. The survey was optional for student to take and they were given 3 weeks to complete the survey. 1. Demographics: Three (3) questions were asked to determine the campus distribution, gender, previousexperience in computing courses and study status of the respondents with a view to observing anyrelationships these had with students attitudes to ePortfolios.2. Learning factor: Nine (9) questions were asked in this category to find out student attitude towards usingePortfolios as a learning tool.3. Assessment factor: Nine (9) questions used in this category were asked to determine student attitudestowards the use of ePortfolio as an assessment tool.4. Visibility factor: Nine (9) the questions asked in this section of the survey tried to draw out studentattitudes to the visibility of certain aspects of ePortfolios like staff feedback for example. In addition,questions under this category tried to determine student attitudes towards the possibility of usingePortfolios for entering the workforce.5. Support factor: Nine (9) questions under this category were used to determine student attitudes towardsthe support that was provided by UU100 teaching and support staff.
UU100 students were spread over the listed nine campuses/centres. All listed campuses and centres were represented in the survey The majority of the surveyed students (86%) came from USP’s main campus in Laucala who also made up the bulk of the enrolments for UU100However, Of the total 1815 students enrolled in the UU100 course for Semester 2, 2010 only 279 or 15% attempted the survey. Of the surveyed students, 60% were female and 40% were male.One of the reasons suggested for the poor response was the timing of the survey which was round about week 14 when students were busy completing their final e-portfolios. This is being addressed in the current offering where the survey will be conducted around week 10.
Similarly, 73% of respondents indicated that they felt comfortable with an e-portfolio being used as an assessment in a course. This was interesting in that these were students for whom e-portfolios was a new concept and was the major assessment worth 40% in this course.
With regards to the use of e-portfolios for assessment, a total of 73% of respondents felt that an e-portfolio was a better way for lecturers to assess their knowledge.
Similarly, 74% of respondents indicated that they felt an e-portfolio was better than an essay assessment. This is understandable considering that the majority are students for whom English is a second language with the issues people have with written English.
Overall, a total of 72% of students in the survey responded positively to the use of e-portfolios for assessment in their current courses and in future courses. This number was slightly less than the overall number of students who agreed with the use of e-portfolios for their own learning which was 78%. This positive attitude towards the use of e-portfolios for assessment was going to be illustrated in the results of the final 40% major e-portfolio assessment.
The results of the e-portfolio assessment seemed to confirm the student’s comfortability and positive attitudes towards e-portfolios as indicated in the survey results. Apart from Tonga and the Marshalls which had low pass rates of 35% and 57% respectively in this assessment, the rest of the campuses and centres seemed to do well with recorded pass rates ranging from of 82% in Labasa to 100% for UU100 students in the Solomon Is Campus.A total of 1597 e-portfolios or 88% were submitted for marking with a number of students dropping out or not submitting because they had not participated in the mandatory number of labs to be able to successfully complete their e-portfolios. The overall pass rate was 83% for this assessment and the average mark 26.7 out of a possible 40.
As indicated by the survey and results, a minority of students did not appreciate e-portfolios for various reasons which are currently being determined for resolving.The same survey and results showed that the majority of Students found ePortfolios to be a useful learning & assessment tool These positive attitudes and comfortability of our students with this instructional tool have implications for teaching and support staff and for learning and teaching at USP for 2012 and beyond.
Student attitudes towards the use of e-portfolios
Student attitudes towards the use of e-PortfoliosExperiences from the University of the South Pacific Javed Yusuf & Pita Tuisawau The Centre for Flexible & Distance Learning The University of the South Pacific
Overview Background ePortfolio system@USP Pilot course: UU100 (Semester 2-2010) ePortfolio attitudes evaluation in UU100 Evaluation of results Conclusion & Recommendations Q&A
University of the South Pacific (USP) Region of approximately 33 million km² 5 time zones Jointly owned by 12 countries
ePortfolio system @ USP Eportfolio Working Group
Training Introduction to ePortfolios/Mahara 2 week Online workshop 2 hour F2F training session Support staff & Teaching staff
UU100 – ePortfolio evaluation Student attitudes towards using ePortfolios for assessment and learning End of semester survey – ePortfolio use Observation of student ePortfolios UU100 ePortfolio Assessment Summary
Results – assessment factor I feel comfortable with an e-portfolio used as an assessment in a course 50 45 40 35 48% 30 25 20 25% 15 9% 10 14% 4% 5 0% Strongly Agree Not sure Disagree Strongly agree disagree
Results – assessment factor I feel that an e-portfolio is a better way for lecturers to assess my knowledge than a MCT 50 45 45% 40 35 30 25 28% 20 15 7% 10 15% 5% 5 0% Strongly Agree Not sure Disagree Strongly agree disagree
Results – assessment factor I feel that an e-portfolio is a better way for faculty to assess my knowledge than an essay test504540 4735302520 27 151510 7 4 5 0 Strongly Agree Not sure Disagree Strongly% agree disagree
Results: Visibility (Evaluation) Strongly disagree Disagree 3% 2% Neither 7% Strongly agree 30% Agree 58%I would be comfortable with faculty evaluations of my work posted to myePortfolio as long as only I could view them.
Results: Visibility Strongly Strongly disagree agree 13% Disagree 9% 13% Agree Neither 46% 19%I would feel comfortable with my teachers showing my e-portfolio to other teachers.
This week’s topic was very analytical and interesting. I wasable to develop my skills at using tables, charts…Poonam
Support from staff My faculty members were able to assist me when I had technical ePortfolio issues. 60% 51% 50% 40% 30% 22% 19% 20% 5% 10% 2% 0% Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly agree disagree
SupportMy faculty members were knowledgeable about the ePortfolio system. 60% 54% 50% 40% 30% 22% 20% 15% 10% 7% 2% 0% Strongly Agree Neither Disagree Strongly agree disagree
Support Please have teaching assistants and such learn the complexities of teaching students on ePortfolio layouts etc. There Was an Abundance [of] Help To us Students For OUR ePORTFOLIO e.g., conductin[g] eportfolio class on Saturday!! ..GREAT MAHN!!:)
Conclusion A minority of students did not understand or had issues with e-portfolios Majority of students consider the e-Portfolio a useful learning and assessment tool Conditions are ripe for more USP courses using ePortfolios in 2012
Some RecommendationsA total of 18 Recommendations Further deeper evaluation Send teaching and support staff to ePortfolio conferences A second workshop/training for teachers Enhance ePortfolio rubrics Enhance resources for reflective practice
References Visser, Penny S., Jon A. Krosnick, Jesse Marquette, and Michael Curtin. 1996. “Mail Surveys for Election Forecasting? An Evaluation of the Colombia Dispatch Poll.” Public Opinion Quarterly 60: 181-227.