• About E-Journal

    UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning is an annual publication for the educators of the Middle-East and Gulf region. The objective of the journal is to provide a platform for UAE educators to share their experiences, strategies and research findings in the areas of Educational Technology and eLearning. The sixth edition of the journal is scheduled for November 2015.

Recent Articles

From the Sr. Editor’s Desk

ePortfolios and Their Role in Today’s Learning Environments

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This special issue of the UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning delves into ePortfolios and their role and contribution to lifelong learning and learning by doing. The articles included in this edition discuss the value of reflection, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity in 21st Century learning and demonstrate how well-designed ePortfolios can contribute to student intellectual and personal growth, engaged learning, and alignment with curriculum and learning outcomes.

Although many universities today are implementing ePortfolios into curriculums, more research is required to provide evidence that ePortfolios can develop and measure an increase in student learning and success. The multi-faceted nature of ePortfolios means that teachers must determine how to align ePortfolio creation with pedagogies and curriculum, as well as determine assessment strategies. It is a challenge to capture the rich textures and layers of an ePortfolio and incorporate the multifaceted resulting product with specific learning outcomes and measurable assessment included in course design.

We hope that this collection of articles from within our region and from around the world, assists teachers in determining ePortfolio approaches, assessments, and implementation strategies within their own programs, and motivates them to include ePortfolios into their pedagogies and assessment strategies.

With very little international ePortfolio research to date, it was very exciting to see almost half of the articles included in this issue generated from UAE contributors. There are exciting projects underway within The Higher Colleges of Technology regarding ePortfolio implementation and assessment. Readers can assess ePortfolio initiatives worldwide and from within the specific context of Higher Education in the UAE.

The production of this special issue of the UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning requires a solid team effort. We thank our review board for their assistance and diligence. The effort of our contributors is much appreciated. It is a challenge to implement new strategies such as ePortfolios within your programs, and to make the time to also report on experiences of teachers and learners, requires exceptional dedication. We thank you! As Isaac Newton reflected, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.

Dr. Susan Bainbridge
Senior Editor
www.ejournal.hct.ac.ae

Implementing ePortfolios in a Multi-Disciplinary Tertiary Context in the UAE

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This paper will describe the ePortfolio implementation initiative at the Higher Colleges of Technology in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. Starting with a description of the project, involving the implementation of Blackboard Learn (BbLearn) ePortfolios for both students and staff, the paper will go on to evaluate the project and make recommendations for the implementation of a similar project in the future.

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ePortfolios in Post-Secondary Education: An Alternate Approach to Assessment

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Electronic portfolios (e-Portfolios) consist of set of digital objects capable of expressing ideas, information, arguments and documentation in graphic, text, audio and video formats, These can be tagged, searched, archived, syndicated and displayed in multiple formats. E-portfolios create the opportunity for peer, instructor or general public feedback and commentary and can be an effective tool for reflection on practice. Abrami and Barrett (2005) argue that e-Portfolios may even scaffold attempts at knowledge construction.

While an extensive body of research exists on the uses of e-portfolios (e.g., Abrami & Barrett, 2005; Abrami et al. 2008; Ayala, 2006; Brandes, 2008; Crichten & Kopp, 2008; Foti & Ring, 2008), the use of this technology in adult education and, especially, graduate-level education, has received comparably little attention (Butler, 2006). Moreover, the use of an e-portfolio for the final assessment activity of an online graduate program is a unique application of this technology.

This paper will discuss and illustrate how digital media can and have been used in the context of both a Masters in Education and professional development contexts to promote experiential learning, critical reflection (Pitts & Rugirello, 2012), transition from learning to practice (Cross, 2012), community cohesion (Ehiyazaryan_White, 2012) and lifelong learning in distance and open education (Batson, 2011). The mixed method on-going longitudinal study presented here reports on the usage of and reactions to the introduction of an e-portfolio as the culminating assessment activity in a Masters in Education program from 2008-2013. Results of a survey of student reactions, perceptions and recommendations will be presented, supplemented by analyses of student documents and recorded student discussions as well as interviews with faculty members.

The paper will conclude with guidelines and recommendations emerging from the study to date and a discussion of sometimes conflicting expectations and purposes of e-portfolios, assessment of e-portfolios, and the extension of e-portfolios into professional development in contexts outside of the university.

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Portfolios in a Bachelor of Education Programme

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Much of a 21st century approach to education is based around the concept of social interaction (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000; Crook, 1994; Ash & Clayton, 2009; Thatchenkery & Chowdry, 2007; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2010). The concept of a ‘portfolio approach to learning’ may offer a series of processes which can facilitate the sharing of ideas in a post-industrial learning environment (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2010, p. 18). Relational Constructionism offers a theoretical underpinning to portfolio learning by highlighting how knowledge is constructed. The Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) offers a clear framework within which learning processes may be facilitated.

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Exploring the Pedagogy and Impact of Technology on ePortfolio Creation for Arts Students in Australian Tertiary Study

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The creative application and development of an ePortfolio as a pedagogic innovation in learning and teaching in higher education lies in strategies acquired by students to select authentic evidence to document achievements and skills as a graduate. Many educators use ePortfolios as a learning tool and through the introduction of reflection, or reflective practice activities the ePortfolio has the potential to be a powerful tool for all learners. This paper reports the pedagogic and technological undertaking of ePortfolio development for creative and performing arts students at four tertiary institutions in Australia. It explores how the artist perceives her/himself and the choice of evidence selected to showcase development, thus highlighting aspects of artistic identity versus professional career identity.

ePortfolio development involves reflection, organisation and critical thinking by students developing a learning ‘story’ that accurately represents skills learnt and competencies developed during tertiary study. The creation of an ePortfolio often relies on a student’s ability to collect, reflect and select material that is appropriate; and to exercise the management of their knowledge in such a way that contributes to linking pedagogy and technology. It can also involve students exploring their known ICT skills and, at times, extending these beyond their expectation.

This paper will review literature, in addition to reporting initial experiences of academics and students where the ePortfolio has been implemented into curriculum for creative and performing arts degree programs. Results show ePortfolios allowed students to achieve a demonstration of artistic capabilities and revealed that students have increased their ability to plan, implement and assess their learning reflectively; and to understand documentation relevant to Arts careers. Students developed a greater competency in their educational beliefs, pedagogical skills, University generic attributes, technological expertise and ability to address employment parameters required by employer groups and such professional bodies.

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Agile Portfolios in a Connected World

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As students transition from college or university to career, the orientation of their portfolios changes from meeting internal course or institutional goals to evidencing competencies for employment and professional development. At
this stage an independent, accessible and dynamic portfolio system is needed.

An ‘agile portfolio’ approach addresses these needs using social media, web repositories and web tools or Apps to create a flexible, multimodal system. Agile portfolios are accessible on the web and on mobile devices, as well as on paper. A range of different tools can be used to produce agile portfolios, but the key components are a profile, a repository and a visual presentation or display.

In this article the agile portfolio model is presented and a number of tools are suggested. An agility checklist is presented to enable evaluation of existing portfolios or tools under consideration.

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Student Teachers’ Attitudes toward Collaboration in ePortfolios Built with Web 2.0 Tools

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This article presents the research carried out on student teachers’ attitudes towards collaboration in ePortfolios at the Ibiza campus of the University of the Balearic Islands. An on-going ePortfolio project was implemented in September 2009 throughout our different Teacher Education programmes. Changes have been introduced to the project design based on initial research findings. Data collection is carried out with the first and the last graduation classes that have worked on the ePortfolio project. This research allows us to observe any changes in student teachers’ attitudes towards collaboration in ePortfolios due to improved scaffolding as the project progresses.

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The times they are a-changing: A New Model for Senior Secondary Assessment

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When considering implementing educational change there are three important questions that must be addressed, regardless of what the proposed change may be. First, we must reflect on why change is needed and have a clear understanding of the issue. Then we must investigate the most appropriate innovation for addressing the identified problem and finally we must consider the actual process of change itself. The purpose of this paper is to examine each of these questions through the lens of system-wide assessment reform; exploring how a more future-focused rendition of an ePortfolio can provide an innovative answer to the challenges facing current assessment practice in senior secondary compulsory education.

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ePortfolios and Language Learning: Theory, Development and Use

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Learning a language is a long-term endeavor; one that can be frustrating for students since the development of language skill is not always visible on a daily basis. ePortfolios are a natural fit for language learning programs, offering educators in the field of language learning a powerful way to communicate and to monitor student learning. The asynchronous, distributed qualities of ePortfolios enable educators to guide and provide feedback for students within the flow of student-teacher and student-student interaction, increasing the amount of authentic language feedback that the learner experiences. ePortfolios also provide learners with the ability to assess accomplishments and learning goals autonomously in whole or in part, and within the authentic language environment. At the meta-level, ePortfolios can aid the development of multi-literacy and digital skills in language learners and newcomers to English speaking cultures. The Electronic Collaborative Language Portfolio Assessment (eCLPA) was designed in Manitoba, Canada especially for language learners, either soon to be arriving or new to Canada. Developed in reaction to provincial and federal policy, the eCLPA was created with an awareness of theoretical frameworks and pedagogy for language learning, adult education, and eLearning. Implemented by English Online Inc. (a provincially and federally funded Not-for-Profit Organization (NPO) with great success, the eCLPA serves the Manitoba Nurses’ Union and the University of Winnipeg, among other groups. In this paper, first the theory behind portfolios and ePortfolios will be explored, along with how these theoretical concepts fit in with the field of language learning. Next, the development and use of the eCLPA is described with respect to three major shaping forces. And finally, some future considerations for the eCLPA are discussed.

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Redefining Mobility: From eLearning to mLearning

Editorial Note

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The definition of mobility is changing: It is no more about owning a mobile device. It is about moving in a mobile-infused ecosystem that comprises highly efficient personal devices, ubiquitous special purpose clouds, lightning-fast internet and ‘Just in Time’ Apps which can be downloaded and used in a matter of seconds. Mobility is bringing disruptive innovations across businesses as well as in Education, transforming classrooms and teaching styles of educators. Most importantly for us, Mobility is engaging the students in the learning process and empowering them to become lifelong learners.

This edition of the journal is a collage of carefully selected articles from the leading educators of the region who are innovating the teaching and learning domain with their smart work and agile approach in technology integration with the curriculum.