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Friday, June 20 • 10:30am - 11:00am
CON11.02 – The Use of an Electronic Learning Portfolio as a Means to Promote Self-Awareness and Accountability for the Learning Process (Room A236)

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The fast-paced nature of university life promotes a climate where students pay little attention to a piece of work after it has been submitted, resulting in a missed opportunity for learning and skills development through self-analysis and reflection.  The electronic learning portfolio (Desire2Learn platform) was introduced into a third-year undergraduate science laboratory course (Winter 2014; 22 students) as a means to promote self-awareness and accountability for the learning process.  Students created a learning portfolio to document and reflect on their learning goals in the course, their in-class presentation, and the feedback they received on both past and present pieces of work.  The goal of the learning portfolio is to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and to develop effective strategies for improvement through reflective practice.  Science students have minimal, if any, experience with writing reflections, so students were provided with a series of questions to analyze and address within their reflections.  Statements and claims made within a reflection were supported by artifacts/evidence and uploaded to the learning portfolio, along with the reflection.  Students were required to critically analyze their past work and academic experiences for evidence that supported their identified strengths and weaknesses for a particular attribute (e.g., laboratory technical skills, oral and written communication skills).   The nature of the evidence could be quite diverse (e.g., a written comment on a marked piece of work, a solicited statement from a former supervisor or teaching assistant), and it was the responsibility of the student to ensure that their statements and claims were adequately supported by appropriate evidence.  Revisiting and analyzing past work promoted self-awareness and allowed students to develop their own personalized learning goals.  The use of a learning portfolio to organize and track learning and skills development and to transform passive students into active learners is not discipline-specific and can be adapted to a variety of courses and situations.  The work presented will provide a detailed overview of the initial use of an electronic learning portfolio and its advantages and disadvantages, followed by a discussion period with the audience.


Friday June 20, 2014 10:30am - 11:00am EDT
A236 McArthur Hall

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