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Portfolio Artefacts

What is a Portfolio and Artefact?

Your portfolio is where you evidence your progress, learning and achievement. It is a place where students should become more self-aware, reflective and develop critical analysis skills around their own development, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and planing accordingly. In addition, it is used to help build confidence as you start to see how and what you are learning, and importantly, how to apply theory to practice. Portfolios allow students to reflect back on feelings, thoughts, and entire experiences over the degree.

A key focus of the Associate Degrees is reflective practice. In your portfolio you need to evidence engagement with the course material and reflective practice of work integrated learning experiences. This evidence of learning in your portfolio is represented through what we call 'artefacts' which include things such as reflections, blogs, notes, mind maps, etc. Basically anything that demonstrates your school, work and personal development; and, your understanding of applying discipline theory to practice.

A reflection is an excellent example of artefact as it demonstrates understanding and application of the course/subject material. However, there are many other types of artefacts that can also show your engagement and achievement of personal and professional goals.

Other types of artefacts include:

And....Photographic essays or collages, goal maps, timelines, postcards, field notes (from projects, industry site visits or fieldwork), interview panel questions, newspaper articles about topics relevant to the discipline

When it comes to artefacts they may have been created as part of an assessment or through your own initiative. Put simply, if it has contributed to your learning and development in some way, then you should include it in your portfolio.

Core Objective

The core objective of this module is that students will be able to:

Understand the purpose of artefacts as evidence of learning

Use relevant artefacts in connection with reflections.

Building my Portfolio

We recommend that students use PebblePad as a their eportfolio platform, which is user-friendly and mobile. You can access it through your unit's MyLO site (under Content). Even if you prefer to keep hard copy notebooks, diaries or journals or draw sketches and maps, these can be photographed or scanned and uploaded to PebblePad.

You can begin your portfolio today by clicking on the link below which will launch the Student Learning Plan workbook. This workbook will open up in PebblePad, although you may have to provide your University email address and password. Once opened, you will be able to work on your first artefact, the Student Learning Plan. The Student Learning Plan workbook has a number of tabs that provide an opportunity to audit what you know and what you need to development - have a look: Student Learning Plan workbook

For more information on Student Learning Plans (see module).

For more information and video tutorials on PebblePad refer to the P&P MyLO site - content -PebblePad & Portfolio

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.

Artefacts for the University College Associate Degrees

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 discipline material. 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!

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 Cherie or a member of the Practice and Portfolio Team.

Reflective Fieldnotes (Continued)

Alternatively, students can actually complete reflections and add photographs on the spot during fieldwork or excursions using phone applications. Below is an example of how this may look in WordPress (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 their ePortfolio 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 or Pebble Pad (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, 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 or Pebble Pad. 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. 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 dependent on the discipline and relevance). If students are not sure, we recommend you ask portfolio coaches, the portfolio developer, tutors, teachers or unit co-coordinators. 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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