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This article explores the potential for eportfolios to contribute to the development of student critical awareness of social justice, including the role of the university as a social justice actor, through module assessment. It will critically address how eportfolios were introduced in 2019-20 to assess student reflection on social justice in a first year law module ‘Critical Approaches to Law’ at DCU. To date, there has been a slow adoption of eportfolios in Irish higher education (Farrell 2018). Although there is some evidence of reflective assessment in comparative legal education, especially in schools with an emphasis on socio-legal approaches to law, and in clinical legal education, there is limited analysis of eportfolio assessment in classroom-based or blended legal education, (Waye and Faulkner 2012) and none in the Irish context.
The article will discuss the motivation to use eportfolios; the benefits, challenges and lessons learned in the design of the assessment, and the first time experience for the educator of marking and student experience of eportfolios. It assesses eportfolios as a mechanism for prompting student reflection and the development of critical thinking, (Farrell 2019) with a particular reflective focus on social justice and university education as a social justice experience. (Connell 2019). It queries the extent to which eportfolios enable students to incorporate prior learning experiences to their reflection, (Chen and Black 2010) and for students self-determine the parameters of their personal interaction with social justice questions raised by the experience in the module and their lived experience. (Brooman and Stirk 2020)
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