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Using e-portfolios to engage students: Margaret Finch

Who are you and where do you teach?

Margaret Finch, Lecturer IT Tralee based in Dept of Social Sciences and work also teach in Adventure Tourism and Health and Leisure. I am a Applied Psychologist and I teach Core discipline modules and professional practice development modules. I am also Work Placement Co-ordinator.

What technology do you use for teaching and learning?

I use Blackboard, Social Media, E-portfolio, Power Point, phones, YouTube, Online Resources, Blogs, Discussion forums, Web site Development and Email

How do you use this technology with students?

Interactively, Submissions, dispersion of notes, in class discussion pieces. Out of class discussions, Posting and display.

I have used digital technology within my Teaching and Learning methods since 1996. In the old days it was called a TV and Projector. So transitioning since 2006 into the world of Social and Digital media has being an interesting personal and professional experience for me. By 2015 I felt a competent user of a number of aspects of digital technology. The power of the embedded link in a ppt to social engagement of sharing in Blog, Vlogs and Chat spaces. I began to wonder and talk with others about needing to enhance connectivity with students while they were off college campus on placement. How could I enhance their reflective practice skills, maintain their academic connectivity and tap into their digital skills all in view to enhancing their graduate skill set. I had piloted a number of options such as ‘companion workbooks’ , ‘increased reflective supervision space’, and ‘social justice reading initiatives’ by ay 2015/2016 I approached head of department, work placement subcommittee and edsu and the conversations led piloting to e-portfolios.

Pathbrite package allowed me to create assignment directions, students to regularly submit off site in a variety of mediums, and for me to engage with students in the moment of their reflections with timely prompts and feedback. Package was easy to engage in once set up by EDSU. The package guides you through set up of instructions and examples for students. However it is hard to get a real sense of students view. I would be interested in reviewing other portfolio packages to compare I have looked at pebble pad been used by nursing dept too.

There were some complications of method outside of package itself for example; blackboard access, marks allocation, quality of student interaction, time resourcing staffing to make engagement meaningful. Overall I was left wondering was the package really adding any more that one could do in blackboard. I also expanded my use and student use of tools such as Infomatics, Wordle, Video searchs, film, animation and storyboarding and screen shots. I will continue to pilot in dept more tools to meet my original goals for student and am happy to say that the dept is happy to support this with a view that by the end of AY 2016/17 we are able to embed online interraction for all undergraduates in professional practice stream. For my other areas I am interested in developing some filming and editing skills.

What are the main advantages to using this technology?

Variety of mediums, speed range of levels of access for learners. Sustainability of notes

What are the main drawbacks to using this technology?

Differing levels of skill can be problematic.

What advice would you have for someone looking to use this technology with students?

Do it just jump in and give it a go.

Related Course

Facilitating Student Peer Assessment using Eportfolios

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This project is funded by the National Forum (


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