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’!
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.