108 paper

Online student portfolios for demonstration of engineering graduate attributes

Stuart Palmer
Institute of Teaching and Learning
Deakin University

Wayne Hall
School of Engineering
University of Plymouth

Engineers Australia is the Australian professional body that accredits undergraduate engineering programs. It espouses an ‘outcomes-based’ program accreditation philosophy, but imposes mandatory ‘process’ requirements for off-campus programs that are in addition to the requirements for conventional on-campus programs. The focus on off-campus engineering study raises the question: how can learning outcomes, regardless of mode of study, be effectively measured? The current answer appears to be ‘graduate attributes’. The literature reveals a range of sophistication in approach to graduate attributes from identifying desirable graduate attributes, through to evidence-based certification of individual student attainment of graduate attributes. Many engineering accrediting bodies around the world identify student portfolios as a strategy for demonstrating student attainment of graduate attributes. The increasing use of online technology by students and educators alike, including as part of assessment, means that many of the reported applications of student portfolios are online portfolios. The effectiveness of online student portfolios will depend on them being embedded in day-to-day educational practice, rather than being an optional extra given a low priority by busy students. This paper presents a survey of the related literature and briefly outlines a project in progress at Deakin University to trial an online student portfolio.

Keywords: graduate attributes, student portfolios, online portfolios