Practice and Portfolio ZAA 101


Dr Cherie Hawkins | 5:06mins


The core objectives are that students will be able to:

  • Understand what portfolios are and why they are used
  • Create their own portfolio using the blogging platform WordPress
  • Regular updates to your blog including reflections and supporting evidence for ongoing improvement and assessment
  • Understand what we mean by ‘evidence’ and what is relevant


Having completed this module, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the practice and theory behind using e-portfolios
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to apply theory to practice

This Module

“Portfolios, in education and personal or professional development, are collections of documents and other objects that can be shown as evidence to support claims a person makes about what they know, what they have achieved and what they can do. As for e-portfolios, a common starting point is that they are simply electronic versions of physical portfolios that contain digital objects instead of physical objects.” [Stefani et al. 2007]

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to portfolios and provide some information to assist you to create, and start to manage your own blog/website. As part of the course, students will be creating electronic portfolios using WordPress. Portfolios are often described and referred to in different ways. For the Associate Degree Program, the below definition best captures what we see them to be.

The portfolios for the University College Associate Degrees are electronic collections of evidence that are web-based rather than paper-based, and there is a significant focus on reflective practice (see module 3). There is an emphasis on reflection within the portfolios to ensure students continually review their own experiences and development (personally, academically and professionally). It is anticipated that reflective practice will enhance learning outcomes and understanding.

The E-Portfolio is a way for students to track their learning and explore potential areas for improvement whist at the same time identifying their strengths.

For this course, students will additionally use the E-Portfolio to demonstrate achievement and progress against assessment criteria.

The E-Portfolio is therefore a platform for reflection on development, and for showcasing and demonstrating achievements for assessment purposes i.e. uploading documents as evidence. In the learning materials in this course e.g. video clips, readings, diagrams, the term ‘artefacts’ is sometimes used to mean ‘evidence’.

It is important to note, that in the Associate Degree Programs, the focus is on the process of reflection and developing the portfolio itself, including the selection of the most relevant items for evidence.

It is not on judging the overall presentation of the ‘end product’ i.e. The WordPress theme and design. The YouTube clip below talks about E-Portfolio’s and how they are reflective of the University College vision and reasoning for their use.

What is an ePortfolio | 2:27mins

Students’ E-Portfolios will ideally provide reflections around experiences, abilities, interests, values, and life aspirations (school, work and personal). They should contain reflections on learning progress as well as any plans for personal and professional development or changes in goals. Students are encouraged to embed artefacts (or evidence) to support the reflections.

Some examples of artefacts or ‘evidence’ to support your reflections include, but are not limited to:

  • Electronic files
  • Multimedia files, particularly video clips or podcasts
  • Images
  • Journal entries and blogs
  • Career and education documents (e.g. personal profiles, resumes, career and education plans, student learning plans, personalised business cards)
  • Screen shots or links to professional profiles
  • Diagrams Scans of various planning tools and techniques (e.g. business plans, SWOT’s, 5 WHY’s, Mind maps, Ven Diagrams, PowerPoints)

Any ‘evidence’ uploaded must be directly relevant to your learning, knowledge, skills and/or development and highlight ‘who you are, ‘where you feel you are currently at’, ‘where you are going’, and ‘how you plan to achieve your goals’.

In conclusion, the portfolio is for 1. Learning and Reflection and 2. Showcasing and Accountability as the Diagram below well illustrates.

But why is this important? What are the benefits of using portfolios? The advantage of using portfolios, as noted above, are that they are great platforms for reflective practice and continuously reviewing progress. However, in addition to this:

“They [Portfolios] may provide an ongoing basis for students’ planning and goal setting…They could enable and encourage professional learning and promote self-development….They can cater for a wide range of learning styles…they enable evidence from a number or different aspects of the curriculum and learning spaces to be brought together in the one space and can provide a framework for formative and summative assessment….[Stefani et al. p. 37]


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