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

 

 

 

Thinking of Going for Fellowship of SEDA? Reflections on the Experience

By Clare Gormley

Having recently completed the SEDA course Supporting and Leading Educational Change (snappily called SLEC), I thought I would share some reflections that might be of interest to those of you considering it. You might, for example, be actively involved in educational  development as a member of a central teaching and learning unit, you might offer postgraduate teaching-related programmes to academic staff, and/or you might lead a team that implements funded projects of a technological and pedagogical nature. If you are toying with the idea of gaining a professional qualification for this type of work, then read on to explore if this course might be a good fit for you.

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Course Description

First, some basic facts. This is a 12-week online course that as the website goes is “designed to accredit and advance your work in supporting and leading educational change in further or higher education”.  It is divided into two six-week blocks before and after the Christmas break. Successful completion of the course leads to Fellowship of SEDA (FSEDA).  SEDA is the UK-based Staff and Educational Development Association, a professional body that seeks to promote innovation and good practice in higher education.  Established in 1993, the overall mission of SEDA is to offer members professional learning opportunities, professional recognition, and practice-oriented publications with the ultimate goal of supporting student learning.

As someone who has worked in academic development for a number of years, but who did not have a qualification in that specific field, I felt it was time to give time to probe and more deeply reflect on the way I have been approaching my role. I wasn’t looking for CPD that focused primarily on the science and craft of teaching, I wanted something that was tailored to a role where you are supporting and hopefully enabling other staff to develop as teachers.  To my mind the distinction is important and the big questions for educational developers are very different: Are there better ways of evaluating the impact of various initiatives we are spending time and money on? How are other institutions designing and offering their CPD for maximum gain? Are we doing the right thing as regards the opportunities in place to support the sharing of teaching practice? Am I doing what I really should be doing in my job? These were the types of questions I wanted to explore and develop more confidence in through learning from an international community of peers.

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[You can read the remainder of Clare’s reflections on her SEDA Fellowship experience on her personal blog].