The Quality Assurance Agency for HE (QAA) have began Consultation on the Academic Infrastructure. The proposal is for the existing infrastructure is to be restructured as a Code of Practice for standards, quality and enhancement. The deadline to respond to the consultation is 1st March 2011.
The part of the proposal that is most relevant to e-learning is the new section (B3) ‘Guidance for learning and teaching as relating to issues of quality and enhancement (including
e-learning, learning and teaching strategies, staff development and supporting innovative practice)’.
In relation to ePortfolios: The QAA
Personal Development Planning: Guidance for institutional policy and practice (2009) are given as an example of the type of guidance that would be referred to in this new section (B3).
In my mind these PDP guidelines aren’t substantially different to the earlier 2001 PDP recommendations. However, their inclusion in this consultation document signals the ongoing commitment to PDP and its likely inclusion in QA institutional audit.
We have a new publication published in the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. This was a special issue of the journal incorporating studies from 16 HEIs produced as part of the National Action Research Network on Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio Practice (NARN). NARN was funded through the HE Academy NTFS scheme, with the aim of advancing our understanding of ePortfolios, personal tutoring and PDP pedagogies.
Our study in Newcastle investigated the use of blogs to support community dialogue, reflection and evidencing in education. Pedagogy and technologies were refined over a 3 year period and the blogs are now embedded in the PGCE programs. This also built on our previous JISC work and the blog, linked to structured outcomes, was used to update other portfolios in 2009/10, where students can now link blog entries to evidence multiple skills as part of their appraisal processes.
NARN was useful in furthering my understanding and practice of Action Research. Much of what we do with new technologies loosely falls into this category; where as practitioners we are often adjusting both pedagogy and technology in response to evaluation feedback (in this case focus groups, interviews, questionnaires and informal feedback). Action research suits this immature /fluid development stage in which the researcher is also a participant, whilst more structured and ‘independent’ research is more appropriate for the later, more mature implementation stage. The NARN community provided constructive criticism and a useful sounding board for new ideas at regional and national meetings. Publishing 16 studies was a big achievement for NARN, especially with many of us writing the papers mostly outside of the ‘day job’!
Further details about NARN
Cotterill SJ, Lowing K, Cain K, Lofthouse R, et al. Blogs and e-Portfolios: can they support reflection, evidencing and dialogue in teacher training. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 2, 2010.