Friday, January 16, 2009

ePortfolio Symposium Brisbane 2009

I am very pleased to hear I have just had an abstract accepted for presentation at the Australian ePortfolio Symposium 2009 being held at QUT, Brisbane 9-10th February.

I am really looking forward to it because it will give me my first chance to get out and network with people in Brisbane. My understanding is that there is a lot of good work going on in QUT, including the hosting of Creative Commons Australia. So it's going to be a very exciting few weeks for me.
The symposium will also complement the professional development presentation I am giving to Otago Polytechnic staff via Elluminate in early Feburary.

Here is my abstract:

Developing an open ePortfolio for health care practice, professional development and life-long learning

As a health professional I am required to have a professional portfolio which I must present for review every two years. I have chosen to develop an ePortfolio in an open wiki and blog. This allows me complete freedom to be innovative, as opposed to being restricted to the pre-determined structure of a proprietary ePortfolio platform. Combining blog and wiki not only enables me to store and record artifacts of past work, but also supports ongoing reflection and planning for the future. Developing my ePortfolio in an open online environment allows me to role model portfolio development to colleagues who are unfamiliar with the concept. It allows for continuous peer review, as well as increasing opportunities for further consultation and collaboration. In particular, health consumers have access to my work, which encourages ongoing conversations about health care practice.
The major issue with an ePortfolio in an open online environment is that I have to be very careful about what I write and how I write it. As a health professional I have to think carefully about how I present my clinical practice so I do not compromise my patients' privacy, and do not open myself up to charges of unprofessional disclosure and/or documentation. Thus, it is vital that I reflect in a meaningful manner that does no harm to my patients or my professional reputation. The challenge for health professions is to consider how ePortfolios can be integrated through undergraduate education and then into registered practice in a way that maintains continuity.

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of having an ePortfolio in an open online environment?

Image: 'the gritty city'


Sui Fai John Mak said...

Hi Sarah,
I am impressed with your enthusiasm in developing ePortfolio that relates to your profession. I could see that midwifery is a nobel professsion where one is helping the mum to give birth. What a great joy that this profession brings along - the new life! I could also realise the challenges you are facing with the development of such project - due to privacy and sensitivity issues. Relating to the ethical issue, will your main consideration be the risks that are related to privay of the clients? To some extent, I would reserve the confidentiality of some of the technical aspects that are too sensitive to clients and society, just as in any other profession. An example is: I wouldn't be disclosing any steps in the intervention with a student with mild "problems" in public, in order to ensure my integrity and professionalism. On the other hand, would private e-portfolio be a safer way especially in midwifery? What are your colleagues' reaction to open e-portfolio?
Finally, are you the first to publish e-portfolio in this area? I think that's fantastic.
Thanks again for this sharing, and I greatly appreciate your insights in this important profession. Please note that I don't know much about your profession, but your project plans provides an excellent project model for me to learn.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi John, thank you for your questions. I have written few posts about this, so feel free to have a look at the development of my ideas.

The main concern is being confidential about patient care & details. But there is an element of risk to oneself - I wouldn't want to broad cast to the world that I have made a serious medical mistake, for obvious reasons. There are a number of legal obligations that I must regard as to patient information, so I could be in breach of the law if I published patient details. If there are things I do not want to publish, I can put them in some sort of private space, like a restricted blog. The point about having a public eportfolio is that there is potential for peer review, and for potential employers to see what I have been doing.

I haven't really had much of a conversation with colleagues about the concept of eportfolio. There are some that don't like the idea, other who do not have the computer skills to do it, and some who are interested but that's all. I think it will be brought in via undergraduate courses, and then made become main stream via our regulatory bodies - I'm sure it will come in time. But I think it will look more like a closed platform, rather than being on a open blog/wiki like mine is.

I haven't come across many midwifery eportfolios, although there are some midwifery blogs, and a couple of my post=-grad students who are flying with the idea.

cheers Sarah

Buckeyebrit said...

As you might already have gathered I just think this is a great idea and the questions should be about how to make it work rather than whether it should be. If open to the general public then of course there has to be a level of holding back on major issues. On the plus side what a fantastic resource to share learning, network and collaborate with colleagues (including outside of the profession) and huge potential benefits to prospective students?

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Buckeyebrit (I really must get you to tell me whhere you get your name from!!) yes, I agree with you. What I would like to explore is the general public's view of health professionals eportfolios ie is a patient more likely to choose (or not) my midwifery services because of what she reads there? What do you think?

M-H said...

I thought I was going to the Symposium, but my boss is sending someone else instead. :( I would have enjoyed seeing you! Are you planning a trip to Sydney at any point? We have a spare bed.

Buckeyebrit said...

The "buckeyebrit" is from living in the US where my love all things football began and the "buckeyes" are the Ohio State Uni football team!

Re the general public reading and reacting to blogs it's hard to say as an "insider". I would be pleased to have a window into the transparancy and thinking of my health professional. It would help me get a general gut feeling about whether I wanted to be seen by that professional. I guess it plays into the idea of the "patient" as a consumer and offers more information on which to base choice.

Sarah Stewart said...

@M-H What a bummer - would have loved to have caught up with you. Hope to get down to Sydney at some stage, so would like to catch up then.

@buckeyebrit I have ahd a few clients come to me not just because they found me on the Internet but because I appeared to offer the service/philosophy they wanted.