Joining the dots: using structured e-portfolio assignments to enhance reflection

Panos Vlachopoulos*, Anne Wheeler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Although there has been an increased interest in the use of electronic portfolios in higher education over the last five years, relatively little is known about the potential of such tools to support the development of higher order abilities for students, such as reflection, in a structured way that is suitable for assessment. This paper reports the findings from a small-scale research which sets out to compare the outcomes of reflective assignments in two cohorts of participants in a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Higher Education in the UK. Participants in the programme were asked to submit reflective accounts using an e-portfolio system as part of their formal assessment. One cohort completed the assessment using some generic guidelines of how to reflect and construct an e-portfolio page without a given template or structure, whereas another cohort was given a specific template with clear assessment criteria to gauge the assembly of their reflections. The authors, who are also tutors in the programme, analysed the submitted reflections following open coding procedures. The analysis found a tendency for the reflection in the first cohort to be merely descriptive without progressing to speculating objectively about answers to relevant analytical questions about the process involved in the ability under scrutiny. In contrast the assignments of cohort two were found to be more insightful in terms of assimilating random bits of materials, thoughts and self-questions into complete reflective accounts. These findings bring some evidence to support and indeed promote a more structured approach to reflective practice, which can be further enhanced through a carefully created e-portfolio template and associated assessment criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication30th ascilite conference 2013 proceedings
EditorsH. Carter, M. Gosper, J. Hedberg
Place of PublicationSydney (AU)
PublisherMacquarie University
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-1-74138-403-1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event30th annual conference on Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 1 Dec 20134 Dec 2013


Conference30th annual conference on Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
Abbreviated titleASCILITE 2013


  • assessment criteria
  • e-portfolios
  • reflective practice
  • templates


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