In order to develop students with professional skills and the key competence of being all-round graduates, academics can employ a variety of learning challenges in their teaching. In addition to conventional campus programmes, some programmes have a well-established structured practicum for students to start a professional apprenticeship during their years of university study. It is desirable to introduce such authentic learning challenges to other programmes that focus primarily on theoretical concepts and allow their participants to experience the dynamics of the ever-changing modern world. In addition, students can broaden the scope of their learning by experiencing social interactions in a real-life situation.
There are a variety of methods to maintain support for students when they are ‘learning’ in such a placement. When they have their first placement, the use of an online forum can allow students to share anxieties encountered on their first day in the workplace. However, students need ongoing support with peers and their mentors when they encounter complex situations through the networked environment. The next stage, therefore, is to develop competence in working independently and interdependently once they have overcome the initial challenges.
This paper aims to explore the use of weblogs and portfolios as learning tools to engage students in self-reflection and self-assessment of their professional performance during such placements.