68 paper

Throwing a pebble into the pond: E-portfolios and student engagement

Hazel Willis, Phil Gravestock, Martin Jenkins
University of Gloucestershire

This paper reports on initial findings and implications of the use of e-portfolios for students’ planning, reflecting and recording elements of their learning; issues surrounding student engagement are also discussed.  A pilot study of the PebblePad e-portfolio software was conducted with a cross section of students: eight first year and six final year dissertation students.  First year students were using the e-portfolio for their Personal Development Planning.  Interviews were conducted with first year students mid semester and also at the end of their first year.  Interviews were also conducted with final year students upon submission of their dissertations.  Results revealed a higher level of engagement from final year than from first year students.  Overall, final year students appreciated the usefulness of PebblePad and engaged well with the e-portfolio in the early stages of the dissertation process; however, engagement after the initial stages of the dissertation declined with students reverting to regular e-mail for contact in addition to their regular face-to-face meetings.

Keywords: e-portfolios, personal development planning, student engagement, dissertation support