Brief Reflections on our Reflect Learning Portfolio Awards and International Symposium

Launched in 2016, Reflect is DCU’s learning portfolio platform. Available to all DCU students and faculty, the portfolio makes learning visible through the creation of a personalised and reflective living showcase of academic, professional, and personal achievements.

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While it has taken a lot of work to embed Reflect in DCU’s digital learning ecology there are now over 10,000 regular users of our Learning Portfolio.

slide.pngBack in April students from all programmes using Reflect were invited to enter the Learning Portfolio Showcase and Awards. Eportfolio showcase competitions have been used across the globe from New Zealand and Hong Kong, to the U.S. and Ireland to promote eportfolio practice, recognise and reward student attainments, and celebrate the hard work that teachers and students have put into making eportfolios a success.

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In April, the second annual DCU Student Showcase Awards took place. A large number of student entries were received and evaluated by a panel of judges using the eportfolio rubric, collaboratively developed by the Eportfolio Ireland community of practice.

F51488D5-9292-4A26-B210-96EADEBA3FEE.JPGLisa Donaldson, our Reflect champion, reported that “the standard of entries was exceptionally high, with first year students in particular, proving to be very creative with their learning portfolios”.
Eight students were shortlisted for the top prizes of Beats headphones and gift vouchers.

Billy Kelly, Dean of Teaching & Learning, was present to recognise students in front of faculty and their peers and to present the awards.

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Building on this highly successful experience, which validated some of the excellent work taking place using Reflect, we were then delighted at the end of May 2018 for DCU to host an international symposium on the use of eportfolios in education. Jointly hosted by the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), and the Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA), “ePortfolios & More: The Developing Role of ePortfolios within the Digital Landscape” provided a valuable forum for educators from around the world to reflect on the implementation of eportfolios for promoting critical self-reflection, 21st Century skills, life-long learning, and more.

You can access many of the post event documents and slides from the symposium website and still get valuable insights and a strong sense of the rich and productive discussions over several days from reviewing the relevant hashtag:

#ePortfoliosandMoreDublin

 

 

 

Excellent Start to INTEGRITY Project at the University of Vienna

Dr Mark Glynn and Dr Laura Costelloe from the Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) were in Vienna last week to lead and contribute to a series of productive meetings and development workshops with project partners for the Erasmus+ funded INTEGRITY project.  

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INTEGRITY (Academic Integrity for Quality Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions in Georgia) is a two-year collaboration project with colleagues in partner institutions in Ilia State University (Georgia), University of Roehampton (UK), Uppsala Universitet (Sweden) and Universität Wien (Austria) as well as a range of associated HEIs in Georgia. This Erasmus+ project, funded under the KA2 strand, is aimed at enhancing the quality of teaching and learning processes that are based on the principles of academic integrity, supported by policies, mechanisms and tools that help prevent and detect cases of plagiarism in higher education institutions in Georgia. More specifically the project aims to support:

• the successful introduction of plagiarism prevention and detection electronic tools in Georgian HEIs;

• the design and launch of an information campaign in Georgian HEIs defining academic integrity and promoting best practice principles of academic integrity;

• the development of faculty in the area of effective assessment, teaching and learning to promote academic integrity.

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The main inputs from the TEU were centred around the provision of professional development for academic staff in Georgian partner institutions, with a particular focus on how various approaches to assessment and feedback can promote academic integrity, as well as examining how technology – including text-matching software – can play an important role in promoting academic integrity and detecting incidents of plagiarism. The TEU team led an interactive faculty development workshop on assessment design for academic integrity, complemented by a presentation on giving feedback to students on academic writing. Dr Mark Glynn also delivered a series of demonstrations highlighting the benefits of technology and text-matching tools such as as Urkund and Turnitin for both academic staff and students to promote academic integrity. 

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The next steps for the TEU in this project involve the development of a suite of resources for academic faculty and students, designed to promote academic integrity and reduce plagiarism. The TEU is currently building an assessment design ‘toolkit’ for higher education teachers; this will include resources (e.g. videos, guides, self-assessment activities and case studies) which can be used by individual academics when approaching the design of assessments; alternatively the toolkit might be used by programme leaders or academic developers to deliver a workshop on assessment design for academic integrity.

Vienna Academic Integrity 2.jpegContemporary literature suggests that effective assessment design can ensure more authentic assessments which reduce the opportunities for students to breach academic integrity standards and ‘outsource’ assignments to third parties or essay mills (see for example, Newton & Lang, 2016; Carroll & Appleton, 2001). It is expected that this toolkit will be launched in Autumn 2018 in time for the new academic year. The TEU team is also working with partners in the University of Roehampton to build on existing resources in the areas of academic writing, citation and referencing for students and this material will be freely shared with INTEGRITY project partners and other interested parties.

For more information on the INTEGRITY project please contact Dr Laura Costelloe (Laura.Costelloe@dcu.ie; @Lostelloe) or Dr Mark Glynn (Mark.Glynn@dcu.ie; @glynnmark).