Exploring Professional Development Needs and Strategies for Instructors/Faculty Facilitating ePortfolios Online
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This qualitative study sampled 30 university websites across Canada to identify which Canadian universities offer ePortfolio activities to students and faculty members. The researchers from Athabasca University identified eight institutions as offering ePortfolio activities and aimed to explore how faculty or instructors of such ePortfolio activities were selected and what professional development (PD) opportunities were available to them. The study included 11 participants from the eight Canadian universities identified during our search of university websites mentioning ePortfolios. Through a descriptive and interpretive process in a series of 60–90-minute interviews with faculty, educational developers, and instructional designers at the identified universities, the four researchers explored the type of professional development offered to faculty members who are involved or will be involved in ePortfolio use and program integration. The main focus of their interviews was on 1) the nature and type of development offered; 2) how it has been organized; 3) to what extent it has been effective; 4) how faculty members are chosen to teach ePortfolio courses; 5) what lessons have been learned about these factors; and 6) what recommendations are offered or proposed by PD developers, facilitators, and faculty participants. Given that the use of ePortfolios is a rapidly emerging pedagogy in higher education, it is not surprising, perhaps, that faculty development has not kept pace with the practice of ePortfolio introduction. Preliminary results have revealed variations of ePortfolio use (or lack thereof) in higher education. The findings have also revealed the need for a Canadian ePortfolio community to enable practitioners, proponents, and researchers to build on each other’s knowledge, share experiences, and engage in the dissemination of open education resources housed in ePortfolio projects.
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