Critical thinking and e portfolios orna farrell final
Critical thinking and ePortfolios
(with a Mahara focus)
• What is an eportfolio?
• Pedagogy vs. technology
• Eportfolio based learning
• Critical thinking
• What now? Where next?
Academic Co-ordinator/Digital Learning
Specialist- Humanities Programmes, Open
Education Unit, NIDL, DCU
Phd candidate TCD- dissertation title “An
exploration of criticality, reflective learning
and eportfolios among third level learners”
My first eportfolio-May 2009
What is an eportfolio?
• Port - to move
• Folio - papers or artefacts
• A portable collection of papers and/or
artefacts presented in a variety of formats
• A place to assemble records and products of
learning and work to help an individual gain
new work opportunities
• Old idea or new presentation method?
• “An e-portfolio is a purposeful
aggregation of digital artefacts
created by the learner articulating
and evidencing experiences,
achievements and learning” (JISC,
• “eportfolios are student-owned
dynamic digital workspaces wherein
students can capture their learning
and their ideas, access their
collections of work, reflect on their
learning, share it, set goals, seek
feedback and showcase their learning
achievements.” (EUFOLIO, 2015)
The Irish/HE context
• Slow pace of adoption of eportfolios in Irish
• Horizon report (2015) “The global trend in higher
education of the adoption and integration of
technology into teaching and learning has gained
pace over the last five years”
• among the top 10 key trends accelerating
technology adoption identified by the Horizon
report is the increase in eportfolios created by
• EUfolio- second level
Pedagogy vs. technology
• It’s a whole curriculum approach not just a tool-
has to included in institutional strategies
• “Learning is the desired outcome and
technology is the enabler or enhancer” (Kinash,
Knight, McClean, 2015)
• “It is a fallacious deterministic notion to state
that technology can enable learning” (Selwyn,
• If the e-portfolio is seen as “external to the core
curriculum” the uptake by students may not be
as extensive compared to an embedded
approach (Simatele, 2014)
• “trying to create pedagogy anew- we should be
in the business of locating the new technologies
within proven practices and models of
teaching.” (Beetham & Sharpe, 2014)
Eportfolio based learning
• Eportfolio based learning is the “process of planning,
compiling, sharing, discussing, reflecting, giving and
receiving feedback” (Hartnell-Young & Moriss, 2007)
• Process vs. product/ process and product?
• An eportfolio as a product can provide learners with
a personal space to evidence their experiences,
collect digital artefacts and articulate their learning
• An eportfolio as a process enables learners to move
beyond what they have learned to thinking about
how they learned (Hallam & Creagh, 2010)
• Reflection is a critical process which supports the
creation of an e-portfolio
• Dialogic nature
• My Phd project “An exploration of
criticality, reflective learning and
eportfolios among third level
• Follow (n=20) BA Humanities (online)
students-mature flexible non
traditional over one academic year
for their final year project module
• Using the Facione & Facione (2008) &
the Delphi models for critical thinking
• Tracking evidence (text analysis,
audio/visual data from eportfolio) for
features of development of criticality
critical thinking is a
judgement process. Its
goal is to decide what to
believe and/or what to do
in relation to the available
methods and evaluated by
• Engage and motivate learners
• Personalise learning/ownership of learning
• Promotes reflective practice
• Make progress and attainment more obvious
• Promote personal development planning
• Support for learning and regular formative feedback
• widening participation for non-traditional/flexible learners
• Supports collaboration & collaborative learning
• Capture the wider student experience-volunteering, clubs,
(Grant, 2009) (JISC, 2008) (Beetham & Sharpe, 2014)(Hallam & Creagh, 2010) (O'Keeffe & Donnelly, 2013)
How can you use an eportfolio?
• Assessment: formative or
• Personal development planning
• Develop and evidence skills
• Work based learning
• Career development &
• Record progress & set goals
• Giving feedback
“collect, select, reflect,
publish” (Penn State)
• Open source
• Integrates with Moodle
• Straight forward to use
• Visually pleasing
• Similar to popular social
• Can upload movies, files,
• Resume builder
• Major scope to personalise https://mahara.org/
My Mahara experiences
1. 2010 BA1 Business (n=7) PDP assessment
2. 2010 Social Studies (n=25) Formative
3. 2011 US study Abroad (n=11) Learning journal
4. 2011 Social Science & Social Studies (n=60) PDP
5. 2013 MBA (n=50) PDP assessment
6. 2013 Business School Employability modules
(n=500) Career development
“I thought I had an interesting story
to tell, it was something different,
everybody's will be different but I
thought there was a fair bit of
unique stuff in my little story.”
“It helped me analyse the type
of learner that I am, it gave me
new perspective on how to go
about studying or doing
“It was a lot of fun, I learned as I was
doing it and was amazed by the whole
I love just tinkering with it (eportfolio)
even when I wasn’t sitting down to do
a specific job on it…I was thinking I
wonder if I can do this?
Did you enjoy the
experience of creating an
Which areas did you improve?
Designing and assessing eportfolios
• What is the purpose of the eportfolio?
• what does it assess?
• How does it align with the module learning outcomes?
• What are we assessing – is it the product or the process?
• How does it fit in with our existing approach to
• Is an eportfolio the right assessment for this module?
• How big/how many artefacts will it contain?
• How long should audio/video be?
• How should it be layed out and structured?
Race(2008) Values for assessment- valid, reliable, transparent, authentic,
motivate learning, fair, timely, incremental, demanding, formative and
summative, efficient and manageable
PROs and CONs
Tell more about students than exam
They take a lot of time to mark!
Reflect development &
progression/other assessments are
They are difficult to mark objectively
Can reflect attitudes and values, as
well as skills knowledge
Ownership of evidence
• Personal biography
• Study schedule
• Reflective writing piece
• Summary of a journal article
• First person video diary (vlog)
• Word cloud
• Self assessment quiz
• Photo diary/essay
• Padlet- brainstorm
• An annotated bibliography
• A screen cast/ short film
• Reflect on a group project
• Reflect on a work placement
1. Are systems sufficiently robust to handle a large number of online
submissions of e-portfolios?
2. How will Lecturers comment on online portfolios and return them
to students in line with current institutional assessment policies?
3. Will all awarding bodies accept online e-portfolios?
4. Will external examiners, moderators be able to access the e-
5. How will Lecturers know if the digital evidence is authentic?
6. Who is allowed access to the e-portfolio? (Security, data,
7. Does your system support anonymous marking?
8. Do learners have the necessary ICT skills to produce an
Implementation Toolkits: JISC, EUFOLIO, Australian
eportfolio project, NZ MyPortfolio
• Go to https://kahoot.it/#/
• Game pin:
• JISC (2008) Effective Practice with e-portfolios:
Supporting 21st Century Learning.
• EUFOLIO. (2015). EU ePortfolio Pilot Project 2013-2015.
Summary Report Ireland.
• Jonson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V.,
& Freeman, A. (2015). 2015 NMC Technology Outlook
for Higher Education in Ireland: A Horizon Project
Regional Report. Austin: The New Media Consortium.
• Simatele, M. (2015). Enhancing the portability of
employability skills using eportfolios. Journal of Further
and Higher Education, 39(6), 862-874.