Enhancing work readiness and developing professional identity through personalised, standards-based digital portfolios

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 39: The Shape of Higher Education

July, 2016, 391 pages
Published by
Melissa Davis & Allan Goody

The developmental and career benefits of amassing a professional portfolio during higher education study are well documented; however, three problematic aspects of current ePortfolio platforms: cost, specificity and lifelong access remain a concern across the sector. This paper showcases a project that trialed an innovative web-based template with which educators and students customised an evidence-based, professional digital portfolio specific to their field. Initial teacher education students were supported to build their portfolio web-site (using Weebly) referred to as the “tool” and were guided in a “process” (collect, critique and curate) to map evidence of their capabilities against the Australian Professional Standards for Graduate Teachers (AITSL). The digital portfolio (tool and process) has the potential to overcome the limitations of institutionally housed ePortfolios, commercial platform costs, limited graduate access, and lack of alignment with professional standards. The project used Weebly so that the students’ digital portfolios were not dependent upon and or restricted by the university’s Learning Management System (Blackboard), and they would be able to continue to own and access their websites post-graduation. Technical seminars were delivered to the students by the project team to assist with: the web-site construction, the crafting of their capacity statements to preface their curriculum vitae, the revision of their philosophy of teaching statements, and the process by which they would curate their evidence. This rethinking and reshaping of the “portfolio” will potentially result in graduates who are prepared for the 21st century workforce, and will increase their retention and progression in the profession.

Keywords: digital portfolios, employability, pre-service teachers