Are ePortfolios The Key To Boosting Employability?
Date posted: 16 June 2011
Don't fear emerging technologies - they can boost student employability. That's the message from University of Derby student Shevani Raichura to delegates at a national conference later this month.
Shevani and fellow students Ruth Stebbing and Alix Wylie are University student mentors who have helped many peers on their degree course to use the ePortfolio development platform PebblePad as part of a personal development planning module.
Students nationally who embrace the PebblePad system or similar platforms, can create eye-catching electronic portfolios to help land jobs both in the UK and abroad.
Shevani has been invited to speak at ePIC 2011, the 9th international ePortfolio and Identity Conference, from 11-13 July at Savoy Place, London.
The conference will explore the benefits of ePortfolios for lifelong learning and employability and the limitations of such systems. The conference will attract policy-makers, researchers, teachers, human resource managers and technologists.
Shevani, 20, from Coventry, a second year student on the BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies (Music Pathway) course at Derby, said: "I am honoured to be invited to speak at this conference. Becoming a student mentor in teaching PebblePad has helped me develop valuable IT and business skills.
"I have aspirations to move abroad after my degree to train as a psychotherapist or set up my own company offering creative therapies - I think my ePortfolio will help me to effectively sell myself to prospective employers in the UK and internationally."
Shevani will also attend a national conference at the University of Wolverhampton, on June 21, around the launch of a new book, Pebblegogy, which explains what PebblePad is and what it does. The book will feature a number of case studies including the work at Derby.
Judie Taylor, the University of Derby's Assistant Subject Head for Mental Health and Therapeutic Practice, and her team were successful in landing internal research funding to work with colleagues Charlie Davis from Learning Technology Team, CeLT, Jon Walmsley's video team, Jo Sibson in the Career Development Centre and the students to create customised training materials to enhance their ePortfolios.
She said: "At the ePIC conference, Shevani will promote the value of what she has gained from developing her own eportfolio, and supporting other students by developing training materials along with her two fellow students Alix and Ruth.
"It is an excellent example of students and departments working together with the shared aim of boosting graduate employability."
Charlie Davis added: "We have been able to share our experiences as academics, learning technologists and students in a supportive learning community. This has enabled us to identify innovative and effective ways in which PebblePad can be embedded into key curricular areas to support student learning activities. In addition, it provided tutors with a safe environment to explore and create different digital identities."
Through their PebblePad mentoring role, Shevani and Alix have introduced the system to 60 first year students at Derby who will join the PDP module next year. The student ePortfolios could feature CVs, video and film content, art work, sound files, personal development plans and other key information about their motivations, attitudes and beliefs. The students have also been working with the Media team to create a series of videos, which demonstrates how to use Pebblepad to other students new to the software, view the video.
The ePortfolios can be tailored to meet the employer's requirements, and by sending a link via an email, prospective employers from around the world can access their student profile and read about their achievements, aptitudes and abilities.
Matthew Wheeler, ePortfolio Consultant for PebblePad said: "It is fantastic to have students' supporting their peers in using PebblePad and identifying innovative ways of presenting and highlighting their skills to potential employers, regardless of where they are in the world."
For more information contact Deputy Head of Corporate Relations Simon Redfern on 01332 591942 or 07748 920038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org