Practice and Portfolio Portfolio Artefacts

Portfolio Artefacts

This module exposes students to the types of ‘artefacts’ we recommend they include in their portfolio’s as ‘evidence’ of achievement, and learning. Our core concern is that students’ complete reflections about their learning experiences, as these demonstrate understanding and application of the course/subject material. However, we also encourage students to upload a range of artefacts with these reflections to further demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes.

For students who are completing ZAP101 you may have seen in module one, that some examples of artefacts include:

However, there are numerous other examples of artefacts that can be created by students and uploaded, such as photographic essays, or collages, goal maps, timelines, postcards, fieldnotes (from projects, industry site visits or fieldwork), interview panel questions that you may have developed, newspaper articles about topics relevant to the discipline you’re studying and more.

There are also several technologies, including telephone and iPad applications that are in themselves artefacts or can be transformed into artefacts. Rather than provide too many examples now, this module concentrates first on exploring the basics around portfolio artefacts and how they add depth to reflections, or allow for reflection in different ways. The module provides concrete examples, some of which are relevant to the university college subjects. The focus is on providing students with ideas.

Objectives

The core objectives of this module are that students will be able to:

Understand how artefacts enhance reflections and act as additional evidence

Explore the range of artefacts that may be used to demonstrate understanding of the subject material

Use relevant artefacts in connection with reflections

Outcomes

Having completed this module, participants will be able to:

Demonstrate the application of the theory into practice i.e. create artefacts that accompany reflections

Understand how to select and create relevant artefacts

Portfolio Reflections and Artefacts

What, Why and How?

A key focus of the associate degrees is reflective practice. Students are expected to engage in reflective writing about their experiences, largely through blogging in WordPress, or keeping a journal or diary within their E-Portfolio (or that is uploaded as a file). To enhance reflection, and further demonstrate understanding, students can also create and upload artefacts as evidence.

Reflective portfolios typically including written pieces that enable students to become more familiar with how they learn, but they also tend to include work samples, photographs, and all kinds of evidence. What we recommend for the associate degree program is that students use their WordPress website as a reflective portfolio that additionally showcases achievement – using a range of items, not only written, as evidence.

Even if students prefer to keep hardcopy notebooks, diaries or journals or draw sketches and maps, these can be photographed or scanned and uploaded to WordPress.

In the practice and portfolio subjects in particular, we are looking for evidence of genuine engagement with the course material and the work integrated learning experiences. Such evidence may be in the form of reflections and artefacts that demonstrate your school, work and personal development; and, your understanding of applying discipline theory to practice.

We want to see reflections and evidence about tasks you’ve completed, the skills they helped you to develop, the situations you found challenging and moments of insight – sometimes called critical incidents. Critical incidents are written summaries that reflect on experiences that enhanced learning – these can be positive or negative.

The key concern of the portfolio is for students to become more self-aware and develop critical analysis skills around their own development; so as to identify strengths and weaknesses, and plan accordingly. In addition, it is to help build confidence as students start to see they are learning how to apply theory to practice. Portfolios allow students to reflect back on feelings, thoughts, and entire experiences over the degree.

Artefacts for the University College Associate Degrees

Students who are completing this module may be currently enrolled in the following discipline subjects: Business and Society in a Digital Age - The Business of Leisure -Professional Communication - Agribusiness Management - HR in Agribusiness

Students who are part-time, however, may only be enrolled in the core subjects (i.e. Business and Society in a Digital Age and Agribusiness Management) and not the ZAP102 subjects. To assist all students, at this moment in time, whether they are full-time or part-time, we have decided to grant access to this module as we believe it sheds further light on what we are looking for from all students at this particular time.

The following examples have been developed to assist students in understanding what we are looking for (generally) when we talk about ‘relevant artefacts’. They are by no means extensive or set in concrete i.e. we anticipate you will draw on your own skills, knowledge, or creativity. The artefacts are purely included for the purpose of providing examples to students that are somewhat connected to the discipline of study they may be engaged with.

Example One

Business and Society in a Digital Age – Mind Map

The slide below is of a mind map that was converted to a pdf from PowerPoint. This is one example of an artefact that students can include with an accompanying reflection of an experience. For any students who prefer coloured pens and paper for mind maps, sketches or diagrams – you can opt to do it like that if you prefer. Any artefacts that are hardcopies can be scanned or photographed and uploaded to WordPress anyway.

I have based this artefact on the video by Bill Gross that was included in the Business and Society module on technologies – in Week 3. For the sake of example, if the video had of actually been an industry expert guest speaker visit - we would hope to see students create artefacts about a key learning moment and accompany them with a reflection about that experience.

In short, the artefact is the mind map and a reflection must be included with it. How you do this exactly – is up to you! To assist students to understand what I mean - the following is a link to a PowerPoint example of how you may do this artefact with a reflection. Please keep in mind, however, that we encourage students to do this in their own way.

Example Two

HR in Agribusiness Management – Reflective Fieldnotes

As part of this discipline subject, students will learn about and have to develop a HR Management Plan (among many other things). The HR Management Plan was to be for an apple orchid called Core Farm. I created the following example of an artefact that could be relevant if a work integrated learning experience had been associated with that particular activity.

For example, if the HR Plan had included an industry site visit and been informed through doing fieldwork of some kind; the following artefact would be suitable to upload as a blog with a photograph (or as a document) to your WordPress website.

Please note, this is for example purposes only. Therefore, in the event that fieldwork or an industry visit is part of a future experience – this is only one kind of artefact that may come from that. There are multiple other options.

A Taste of Fieldwork - Core Farm Apple Orchard

Our class recently had a site visit to Core Farm, one of Tasmania’s apple orchids in the Huon region. During the field trip, we observed some operational matters and talked with the farm managers about the upcoming picking season. Prior to our class visiting Core Farm, we had to develop a set of questions to ask the farm managers about human resources. One of the farm managers, Susie, said they needed a HR management plan for the 2017-2018 season (i.e. harvest to farm gate) to ensure the team reached their hoped-for performance targets.

I asked questions about the size of the workforce at Core Farm, the work expectation of the apple pickers and what the optimal performance targets were that they had in mind for 2017-2018. In hindsight, I wish I had prepared questions about what strategies they employ at the orchid to help them achieve the targets. I also think I should have thought about asking Susie or one of the other farm managers, how they reward staff for reaching the acceptable outputs or exceeding them. Some of the other students, had prepared questions about how to attract, train and retain staff, including for example, apple pickers, leading hands, and tractor drivers and how the chain of command worked.

In future, I think I need to prepare more questions. Perhaps I should consider recording some of the things I learn from the tutorials and readings to help me do this. Also, I didn’t have a notebook or think to use the notes application or google docs on my phone. If I had thought of these things, then I wouldn’t have to rely so much on recall now.

On a positive, I completed some fieldnotes as soon as I got home from the fieldtrip, and I went back and reviewed some of the course material. Then I talked to other students and looked at discussion board posts. So, I had enough to prepare a draft HR Management Plan for Core Farm’s 2017-2018 picking season. On the fieldtrip, I had also taken a few photographs that jogged my memory. One that was really useful was a photograph of the apple crates that they used (see above on page one) because it reminded me of what Don, one of the farm managers, said about how many of those crates they hope to sell on average per day. It was good I did that because it helped me remember what I heard about performance targets.

Ideally, to ensure I really understand the real world of work at Core Farm and the HR, it would be good to visit when the apple pickers start. Then I could observe how it all works, and have a deeper understanding of whether my HR management plan that I drafted would have worked (had they used it); or, at least asked them to show me what plan they did end up putting in place and how that was going. I might talk to one of my lecturers, Stephen, about that, or Mark or Cherie who are in the Practice (WIL) and Portfolio area.

Reflective Fieldnotes (Continued)

Alternatively, students can actually complete reflections and add photographs on the spot during fieldwork or excursions using the WordPress phone application. This can be downloaded for an iPhone and Samsung free of charge. Below is an example of how this may look (Please note that the detail is not included in the blog as this is just to show you another way to add an artefact to a reflection – and do so ‘on the spot’. The photograph is relevant in that it reminds the student of the number of crates to be sold to reach performance targets and the blog needs to be extended as per the example above (written as fieldnotes/reflections from the field).

We also encourage students to upload work such as their HR Management Plan (in this case) to showcase achievement but also accompanied with a critical analysis of such a plan – once receiving feedback from teachers, work colleagues and college peers. For instance, if the teacher or a work colleague or peer notes something you didn’t include or something you did particularly well, we want to see you critically analysing this and talking about what you would do differently in the future (or the same) and why.

Example Three

The Business of Leisure – Timetable, Photograph and Blog

As part of this discipline subject, students are asked to map out their week of leisure. I created a timetable as an example of how students might approach this in terms of having an artefact to upload to WordPress on completion of the task, that can be accompanied by a reflection. So, the artefact is the timetable (see below – not fully completed), with highlighted or analysed sections to demonstrate students are thinking about the task and looking for patterns/trends. Alternatively, you can do a daily timetable and compare trends that way (it probably depends on the number of activities you have for each day).

The timetable is simply an example of how you might create an ‘artefact’ for this particular activity. But then you must reflect on what that means for you i.e. analyse it. How meaningful are these activities to you? What makes them so enjoyable? Are the activities that you highlighted as priorities the ones that are most enjoyable to you or not? If not, why did you highlight them? Are they all leisure? If not, why not? If yes, what makes them so? And, what does it all mean in terms of your time, future goal setting and so forth.

I worked out that the most hours I spend engaged in leisure is at my children’s sporting events (not all shown above), which is, at the moment, cricket. And then I later read in the Business of Leisure assessment task 3 to be announced soon…. that students are asked about potential opportunities for business developments in the leisure industry and if so, is there a way that they participate in leisure that might help a business? So, I started a blog on WordPress:

What I would do, is include a personalised photograph (see above), upload the timetable (as evidence I engaged in the activity of mapping my leisure), and continue in the blog on WordPress (see I have said, ‘watch this space’ rather than give students a complete example). When you continue in the blog, you might think about extending on how your participation in leisure actually might help a business. For instance, I notice at the cricket, some clubs don’t have canteens operating but there is a demand/market for it. So, I would probably talk about that in the blog.

Example 4

Agribusiness Management – Mind Map

In the Agribusiness Management subject, one area that students explore is the key reasons for developing a business plan. To demonstrate the kind of artefact that may be relevant I have included a mind map below of what I learned. Without a reflection on the key reasons for a business plan, however, the artefact in it’s own right is less meaningful. So, a reflection would need to accompany the mind map. Also, you would not cut and paste straight from the course notes – this is just an example!

This mind map artefact would have more meaning if it was based on an actual case study (local or international) and accompanied by a reflection. Or, is it really the right kind of artefact to choose? Would a business plan with an accompanying reflection be better suited? Or a flow chart? Another diagram? What do you think? These are important things to consider, and discuss with your portfolio coach, portfolio developer, tutors and/or teachers.

Example 5

Professional Communications

One of the tasks that has been set for students is to develop a professional communications portfolio which includes the creation of a LinkedIn profile, a professional email, a video recording of answering interview questions and so forth. All of these are artefacts in their own right (i.e. the email, the LinkedIn profile, and the video). A suggestion is that students upload evidence in the form of a screen shot or photograph of any of the items they developed (or upload the document/electronic file or a link) to their WordPress site with a reflection on that activity i.e. how you planned and developed that professional communications portfolio and what you might do differently in the future.

For example, you could include a screenshot or link to your LinkedIn profile and then write a reflection about how you prepared for that activity, whether it was difficult/easy/already done, but also, how and why is it important to have a profile? What is the point of the practice itself? So, the benefits to you professionally, personally, academically?

It’s important that you select the artefact that is well suited to the reflection that is asked of you in the assessment task or the learning activity. Alternatively, it may be an artefact that well illustrates your understanding of applying theory to practice, or genuine engagement in the coursework.

A Suite of Artefacts

In conclusion, there are an unlimited number of artefacts that students may opt to include on their WordPress sites. The above are simply some examples to get students to start thinking about what they can do.

Please see below a more comprehensive list of other options that may or may not be suitable – depending on the discipline subject you are enrolled in. And, remember, they have less meaning if they are not accompanied with a reflection on the activity (i.e. use the reflective spiral as a guide).

An example of coursework or group work on behaviours such as developing own employability skills checklist that is suitable to a workplace or preferred career (and routinely completing it and reflecting on it)

Module Summary

The module has concentrated on providing some concrete examples of what we would like to see students do for the associate degree program with the university college, in terms of reflections and artefacts on WordPress (for the first term core subjects and some electives). It discusses some of the rationale behind why it is important and a provides a further more extensive list of other artefacts that students may choose to include (all dependant on the discipline and relevance). If students are not sure, we recommend you ask portfolio coaches, the portfolio developer, tutors, teachers or unit co-ordinators. This is only the beginning in terms of what is possible. There are also a range of mobile device applications that can be used as artefacts and enable for blogging on the spot. These will be included in another module.

References

Credits:

Created with images by Alexas_Fotos - "yoschi figure funny" • Alexas_Fotos - "mario luigi yoschi" • ErikaWittlieb - "superhero robin hero" • dimitrisvetsikas1969 - "ball pink cartoon" • DWilliams - "bear teddy toy" • Stone_WLP - "music toy dinosaurs dinosaur cartoon music light" • sardenacarlo - "fantasia cardboard baseball" • ErikaWittlieb - "upset sad confused" • ErikaWittlieb - "wonder woman superhero superheroes" • Dossi - "toys cartoon tractor" • sierratds - "snowman retro characters" • JeongGuHyeok - "maple leaf book reading"

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