Mick Merrick, Assessor and Internal Verifier at Mid-Cheshire College talks about their use of ePortfolios for assessment.
Mick discusses the advantages of using an eportfolios, how they have been used at Mid-Cheshire College, as well as advice on choosing an eportfolio system.
This podcast was originally posted Feb 28, 2008 at http://www.gcast.com/u/JISC_RSC_NW/main
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00:00 KH: Hello and welcome to the JISC Regional Support Centre for the North West Best Practice Podcast. I’m here today talking to Mick Merrick, assessor and internal verifier at Mid-Cheshire College. Hi Mick, as I say, we’re here today talking about e-portfolios. So, first of all would you like to tell me what you think an e-portfolio is.
00:28 Mick Merrick: Yes. An e-portfolio is the standards for the course to whatever people are doing, which is actually an electronic form. This can either be stand alone or on a website. The stand alone would be particularly on the assessor’s own laptop whereas the web based one gives more ownership to the candidate. They can access it to their own website and put their own evidence on. It is available to people like IVs and EVs who can also access it remotely, so cutting down on EB visits and time for the EB travelling and of course the big thing is that e-portfolio can become condensed on to, well not condensed, download it on to a CD, which is just the size of a CD where the old paper portfolios where a file six inches thick or whatever carry a lot of weight, similarly technical with awarding bodies, coupled with students finding somewhere to keep them from getting lost etc. So, the e-portfolio is a handy way, a convenient way of compiling a portfolio.
01:55 KH: Okay. So, how have you used e-portfolios at the College?
01:59 MM: We set them up for each individual student on to that e-portfolio we call the course, the standards that the student is studying and a website would be set up for that student particularly. So, he or she could access that website and enter their own information on, their own evidence which would then be edited by the assessor. Therefore, cutting down on assessor visits and there is an interaction between the, a day to day interaction between the candidate and the assessor. Whereas previously with a paper portfolio, it was a case that the assessor might see the candidate once a month, so it’s a continual process with the student.
02:53 KH: Okay. You’ve already mentioned some of the advantages already the fact that it cuts down and can be downloaded. Is there any other advantage you can see in using e-portfolios over perhaps a paper portfolio.
03:06 KH: Yes, I think because students, now I deal especially with modern apprenticeships for the younger people and they are, obviously we’ve seen the growth of mobile phones, so they can interact between with a computer and electronic systems and find it more interesting. They enjoy the playing if you like attitude as against writing reams and reams of paper out to put into a portfolio that they struggle to find a use for. So, there is interest as well, keeping the student interested.
03:46 KH: And of course, as you mentioned before there is the ownership because they take ownership. Do you have any advice for anyone either using or looking to use an e-portfolio or perhaps choosing an e-portfolio for their college?
03:59 MM: Think carefully because when you get the system, there are a lot of systems out there. Get the system that you find suits your particular courses best. You know it’s very difficult if you’ve got say a builder who is working on a roof a take up your system if this necessitates him having a laptop. He’s not going to want to be on top of a roof with a laptop so make it a system that is just, works best with your courses. I don’t think that there is one that does everybody, its look for the one that fits your courses you are doing and certainly there is a lot of training. Make sure that your assessors understand what they are trying to get out of the student and explain correctly to the student, how he or she uses the system.
04:56 KH: Okay. Finally, the last question that we’ve got here is, do you have any ideas on how you think e-portfolios might be used in the future?
05:04 MM: Yes, I think that they can be used very much on, as I said earlier, I’m involved with modern apprenticeships, frameworks which involve the three elements, or might do, of key skills, a technical certificate for the underpinning knowledge and the NVQ which is the work based evidence gathering and it is quite easy to cross reference the various factors and criteria in each of those three elements. And that’s the big advantage I find that the candidates have not needed to do the same amount of work for key skills for instance which in my particular discipline which is motor vehicles they very tiring and not interesting. Whereas a lot of it can be cross referenced very easily through e-portfolio and that’s the big advantage I find.
06:02 KH: Well, thank you for speaking to us today. Thanks a lot.
This podcast was edited with audacity with music by Luksa which is used under the creative comments license.