Jisc case studies wiki Case studies / Interactive Work-based Learning Environment (iWoBLE)
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Interactive Work-based Learning Environment (iWoBLE)

Lead Contact: Prof. Gunter Saunders

JISC Programme: JISC Institutional Innovation Programme - Life Long Learning and Workforce Development (LLLWFD)

Lead Institution and Partners: University of Westminster

 

Project Dates: April 2009 - March 2011

 

Case study tags: online learninge-portfolios,university of westminster

 

Background & Context

 

What is the background to the e-portfolio initiative?

 

The e-portfolio initiative was introduced as part of the IWoBLE project at Westminster which aimed to introduce online tools into established student work experience/personal development programmes.

 

Learner environment: work based placements include:

 

  • an optional 12 month placement year open to all Westminster Business School (WBS) undergraduate students. All students undertake a placement project
  • Optional 3 month mentoring support for international students. Students are paired with an experienced employer who can help them better understand working in the UK
  • For study abroad students from the US and Japan to to combine their academic studies with a voluntary placement in a field related to their skills, experience and interests. Duration 6-12 weeks

 

Groups involved were:

  • the undergraduate placement programme (~50 students per year)
  • the postgraduate mentoring and internship programmes (~10-20 students each per year)
  • Academic tutors and workplace employer mentors

 

What were the aims and objectives of the initiative?

 

The project aimed to replace the existing system of paperbased programme management, face to face meetings and academic support in established student work experience/personal development programmes with online tools.

 

Development of the use of e-portfolios for students within the mentoring programme was in order that mentees could showcase their development and get feedback from mentors and for there to be a permanent record of mentee development students on the mentoring programme.

 

How was the initiative implemented?

 

Mentees were asked to construct e-portfolios, shared with their mentor and the programme director, detailing their learning journey through the programme.

 

For employers, using the university VLE, Blackboard, was going to be a steeper learning curve but given that the original proposal had a significant component around solving the access to university.

 

In order to include employers within the institutional intranet and VLE the university's identity management process was re-engineered to allow selective access to online systems.

 

Ongoing evaluation elicited mixed reaction with students on the mentoring programme enthusiastic about the opportunity to showcase their achievements to their mentors for comment. The current round of the mentoring programme is still to complete but initial observation suggests that an e-portfolio may prove to be an effective way to encourage online interaction between mentee and mentor.

 

Mentors however found university online systems irritating and were not familiar with the Blackboard system preferring to communicate via more familiar systems.

 

Technology Used

 

What technologies and/or e-tools were available to you or did you seek to develop?

 

The project exploited the institutional virtual learning environment (VLE, Blackboard) to establish simple models for the development of communities of support and guidance and to manage and administer the programmes.

 

However e-portfolio creation and access made use of Google sites.

 

In order to include employers within the institutional intranet and VLE the university's identity management process was re-engineered to allow selective access to online systems.

 

There was general agreement that the communication and support work should proceed using Blackboard as the students were familiar with it.

 

For employers, using Blackboard was going to be a steeper learning curve. In order to include employers within the institutional intranet and VLE the university's identity management process was re-engineered to allow selective access to online systems.

 

Further Resources

 

Project website

Online guides to the creation and sharing of e-portfolios using Google sites as follows:

Guide for students to use Google sites to produce an e-portfolio

Guide for staff - how to access a student's e-portfolio created in Google sites