Sunday, February 24, 2008

Reasons for developing my ePortfolio

Yesterday I made a start on a project that has been on my mind for some time which I have a feeling is going to be just as time consuming and challenging as the 31 Day Blog Challenge: developing my ePortfolio.

There are a number of reasons I have started this project.

1. I am required to have a portfolio as part of my professional requirements as a midwife in New Zealand.
  • I have had a 'paper' portfolio for some years but I have not updated it properly for some time. So I think I will put my energy into developing an electronic version because that will suit my purposes as midwife, teacher and researcher far better than a paper one.
  • I am due to be audited by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand any time soon so I need to be prepared for that - a random selection of midwives is chosen each year to be audited to ensure they are fulfilling their professional requirements - odds are that it is me soon.
2. I am coordinating two papers (undergraduate and postgraduate) where I am requiring students to develop their portfolios and write reflections on how they went about it.
  • It is not a requirement that the portfolios are electronic and I suspect no one will go that way. However, I want to be able to show them what an ePortfolio can look like and how it functions.
  • As our midwifery program at Otago Polytechnic develops into a blended delivery program, ePortfolios have been mentioned in passing. This is my opportunity to explore the concept so I am a lot more knowledgeable when the time comes to discuss where they fit into our curriculum and teaching.
3. An ePortfolio will connect well with my blog.
  • One of my aims for developing this blog is to use it as a means of getting my name known in professional midwifery and education circles. So I started off putting a lot of professional details on it. But as I have worked through the 31 Day Blog Challenge I have decided that I need an additional place other than my blog to publish my professional details such as my publications.
  • My blog can continue to be the place where I reflect on the activities I put in my ePortfolio, but what I suspect will happen is that the two things will intertwine.
4. I need a decent portfolio for my career development and advancement.
  • Having an electronic version will be so convenient as many of the things I have to do to maintain and advance my teaching career is electronically based eg yearly performance review and PBRF portfolio.
This is the beginning of a series of posts as I work my way through the issues of developing an ePortfolio and using it for both teaching and professional purposes. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who either has an ePortfolio, uses them in teaching or has any suggestions about how I can develop mine.


Stewart, S. 1999. Midwifery standards review in New Zealand; a personal review. British Journal of Midwifery, August, 7 (8): 511-514.

Stewart, S. 2000. Professional Portfolios: a necessary evil? New Zealand College of

Midwives Journal, June, 22: 23-24.


Kate said...

That is such a great idea.. I think I would find that a lot easier to update too. Being a nurse we need to have an up to date portfolio at all times too.. I was quite tempted to go back to work one day a week when my daughter got old enough.. but quite frankly.. one day is not really enough to sustain a portfolio really. I think portfolios are a PAIN!! LOL.. I can see their purpose.. and it's great looking through them, having some concrete proof of your skills and knowledge. I will definitely consider an e-portfolio when I do finally go back to work. Thanks for the idea, I'm looking forward to watching yours develop.

Sarah Stewart said...

I don't think it will be long, Kate, before the various health councils, like midwifery and nursing, have their own ePortfolio platforms that we will have to use - like they are doing in NZ dentistry.

shauneboy said...

great idea sarah - you could develop a generic one for mid council? so we can all tap our stuff into it?
Will be great to be able to watch your progress on this online - thanks

Sarah Stewart said...

I think it is important not to re-invent the wheel as I know there are people doing lots of work in this area already eg Russel Butson at the University of Otago.

However, I don't want to have to wait so here I am with my less sophisticated effort. Please feel free to feedback as I go. Cheers

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah--This is a great blog post in terms of listing all the reasons to create an e-portfolio, as well as a great start on your portfolio!

You bring up a good point with your comment on health councils coming up with their own platforms. I personally think that you should always keep your own portfolio on your own open platform so that you will always be able to get into it and can maintain as you want. When someone else starts to "own" what you put in there, then it's no longer your portfolio to reflect on and manage as you wish, which I think is a really important component of a portfolio.

One thought I had when I checked out your portfolio--I love your inclusion of reflections on the items, which is a really critical aspect of a portfolio. You might want to think about incorporating those reflections right into the wiki page next to the item you're reflecting on so that people will see those two things connected and will be more likely to take a look at the reflections. You could even consider inviting people to leave feedback in the discussion tabs--that feedback might actually be helpful to you in constructing the portfolio. Just a thought. . .

Great work and I'm so glad that you're showing how to do this!

Carolyn said...

I found you on the International edubloggers web site.
Much deserved fame and fortune await you. I am so impressed with this blog now Sarah, you are definitely a star. I know this has taken and lot of time and effort but it is definitely paying off.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you, Carolyn, for all your support.

InfoMidwife said...

An interesting idea, I suppose with the computerised world it would be the next step. I do maintain a professional portfolio which is updated on my computer. The Nurses & Midwives Board of WA has a generic portfolio online which can be accessed by nurses and midwives. This system allows you to update your portfolio either online or paper. It will only be a matter of time before we move into a paperless society. I will be very interested to see how you go, if I come across any information I will forward it to you.

Sarah Stewart said...

infomidwife: I am sure the NZ Midwifery Council will come up with the same thing in the next few years. What I like about building my own portfolio using wikispaces is that I have complete control over what/where/why I write.

Is your generic portfolio public or password controlled only?

InfoMidwife said...

Sarah, I have attached the link to the NWBWA, no passwords needed, good luck.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you very much for that link, infomidwife.

The link leads you to a portfolio in a 'word' document. So you can download it and continue with it. This is a good resources for my 3rd year students who I have asked to submit their portfolio for an assessment.