Keele University highlighted as an exemplar of good practice in e-portfolios

A Keele University scheme designed to help Pharmacy students develop the reflective skills required for professional practice has been included in the latest Jisc Guide, How to enhance student learning, progression and employability with e-portfolios.

The scheme at Keele works on students’ reflective skills from the first days of their degree course, in readiness for their assessment in their pre-registration year by a portfolio of evidence. Students use PebblePad workbooks, which provide a scaffolded programme of reflective activities, supported initially by face-to-face training sessions and eventually by e-mentorship as students progress through their degree. This careful, incremental approach to skills-building gives students a good grounding in the reflective practice required by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)’s revalidation framework for pharmacy professionals. It also provides insight into how to prepare students for reflective practice in e-portfolios.

The Keele case study is included in the new Jisc Guide, which contains case studies and guidance on e-portfolios for UK further and higher education, and highlights where e-portfolio practice is breaking new ground in UK universities and colleges.

Tracey Coppins, former Teaching Fellow in Pharmacy and now Head of Health Foundation Year at Keele University comments:

“We set up PebblePad accounts so mentors always have access to students’ portfolios. This way, they can monitor their students’ work, provide feedback and assess when required. Students do not leave portfolio evidence collection to the last minute and content is neater, more secure and much easier to manage. Who wouldn’t change to e-portfolios?”

Tracey pointed out that students are given plenty of face-to-face training and support to develop their reflective practice in e-portfolios:

“Despite the challenges posed by increasing student numbers, we know the best route to success with e-portfolios is through face-to-face training. We provide two hours of support on the role of e-portfolios and further IT induction support at the start of Year 1. This way, no student tackles their e-portfolio tasks unprepared.

“You can’t expect your students to become independent, competent learners capable of evaluative reflection on their own performance if you don’t show them how to get there!”

PebblePad has now been introduced in the Health Foundation Year, and the ‘Personal Development for Health Professionals’ portfolio is now done electronically rather than students handing in a folder of personal information. Not only does this improve sustainability by removing the need for printing, it also means that marking is quicker and easier. Other modules within the Foundation Year have also adopted the use of PebblePad as it is quick and easy to set up a number of template styles in a workbook, and feedback can be provided on students’ progress.

Read the full Keele University Jisc case study