A student, self-directed life-long and life-wide learning strategy (ISA model) was applied in a third year Cancer Sciences course. The innovative ISA model helps students with goal setting (Image of potential own career), ePortfolio learning (Self-directed life-long and life-wide learning) and reflection (Assessment and adjustment). Initially used for group learning, the Moodle Forum was used to create individual ePortfolios for each student. Group forums are still used within the course, allowing for feedback to be given to all students or to groups of students, but the ePortfolios enable feedback to be provided individually and privately to each student, creating a more personal experience. Although students have the choice to share or join the ePortfolios of their classmates, currently all students prefer to keep their ePortfolio and feedback private. Previously, Mahara ePortfolio system was used but students and teachers found it technically complicated, resulting in time wasted trying to submit posts and feedback. Moodle forums are much easier to use and do not present technical problems. Linking to external websites (eg. WordPress) is easy and can be shared across courses and carried on after graduation.
Through the course students learn integrative career knowledge and skills, which is delivered recorded and reflected upon through their learner centered ePortfolio. They are encouraged to take the opportunity to record and reflect frequently on their learning through lectures, tutorials, and in-/off-campus activities as well as regular feedback. They are not directed on the content of what to include in their ePortfolio, but are given the freedom to add reflections, transfer examples or learning examples through various means such as written text, images, diagrams, etc. This allows for the teacher to see the personal difference and individual identity of each student. Thus, ePortfolios are advantageous as they provide personal credentials, overcoming the shortcoming of traditional degrees which do not demonstrate individual differences. They also help students to learn, reflect and transfer ideas and knowledge whilst developing a digital identity and career and professional readiness as students are required to include cover letters and resumes and to write a 1500 word ePortfolio assessment summary, which are assessed against rubrics and credited. Assessment criteria are given for these as well as tutorials dedicated to giving instructions and providing help, for example 'ePortfolio: Practice and Assessment' and 'How to write a resume and cover letter for ePortfolio”.
This innovation can be very time consuming as students can post as often as they like and as many times as they like. Teachers must read and provide feedback for each post, in addition to assessing the personal ePortfolio assessment summaries and cover letter/resume for each student. Although students are encouraged to post something every two weeks, giving the teacher time to provide feedback, it is often the case that students upload a lot of work at once, resulting in delayed feedback.
In the future, a Moodle Blog might be tried and compared to the use of the forum as an ePortfolio. With the forum students have a choice of using one page or creating a new forum for each post whereas with a blog students would just have one page.
Here are some examples of what the ePortfolios look like:
1. Student reflection
2. Teacher reflection post lecture
Here is an example of knowledge transfer demonstrated by a student:
Here are some examples of the 1500 word ePortfolio assessment summary:
The 2015 Learning and Teaching poster for this exemplar can be found here: A Blended Learning Strategy Encouraging Active, Life-Long and Life-Wide Learning.