Monday, November 3, 2008

Developmental ideas and implementation plan CCEL)

Hi there

I've come quite a long way with my thinking...Here is the final plan...

One of the exciting things I have learnt while doing this teaching certificate is about constructivism (learners constructing their knowledge) and applying this to my course. It is very easy for me as the ‘expert’ to think I have the knowledge to teach the students everything they need to know. But the more I’ve thought about this, the more I realize how limiting this is for the student. I admit my specialty is neurology and I could teach for ever around this topic. Recently I’ve spent a lot of time on cardiac wards with the students and have had to facilitate the students learning due to my limited knowledge in this area. This has helped me to grasp how in clinical settings there is so much contextual learning going on, and it is so much better to help the students make sense of this learning rather than me teach them what I think they should know.

As I’ve thought about this I’ve began to imagine how much more the students can learn by sharing experiences with each from their situational/contextual learning while on clinical placement. We do this already in our tutorials but this only reaches a limited number of students (about 8 in the tutorial). If the students were able to put this learning on line and also utilize reflection to expand on their learning then this could be accessible to all the 96 students enrolled in BN 233 throughout the year (96 students).

This is where the theory of connectivism, described as the learning theory of the new digital age (Siemens, 2004), has sparked my interest. Also an article Mereana talked about titled ‘using technology to foster reflection in higher education’ has been helpful. Connectivism is about learning as a process where people share a variety of opinions and viewpoints via connections that may include networking via technology.
Individuals feed information into the network, which then feeds information back to individuals as part of a cycle.
This is beneficial because information is always changing. This is very evident in healthcare. Connectivism allows people to connect with new information that is generated on an ongoing basis. Siemens (2004) is quoted as saying ‘while there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision”.
This theory has led me on to exploring the use of e portfolios. We already ask the students to construct a portfolio to evidence their learning as this is really the only way we have to assess them at present, i.e. looking at the portfolio they hand in, listen to what they tell us and to a small extent preceptor/ward feedback. The reason preceptor feedback is not given high priority is because the RN is often assessing different things from us (technical skills and relating well to patients and staff is what they often comment on). The RN may not understand what we as a nursing school are trying to assess in the way of knowledge and meeting nursing council competencies.
The development of e portfolio’s has been driven by the changing forms of learning such as; more student centred, greater emphasis on lifelong learning, flexible delivery and more emphasis on competency based assessment, (very evident in nursing). Our student population has also changed, many having been bought up with technology and a lot of students very use to social networking….New learning is also often described as been experiential, networked and facilitated by mentors. Another interesting fact I have learnt is that formal learning only accounts for about 15% whereas informal learning account for about 85%. Therefore it is important that we facilitate this informal learning to help students increase their knowledge in our course.
Issues of e portfolios…
Who owns the portfolio…i.e student not teacher..this means they decide what goes in it…closed or open system…in our course we would have it closed due to potential confidentiality issues with patients
Interestingly enough I asked my students the other day if they liked having to do a portfolio considering so much work was involved. They responded with a resounding YES it was essential for them to 'make' them learn the work.
June 2004 from Using technology to foster reflection in higher education

My Course (This is in smaller font to differentiate from the new course)

Following satisfactory completion of this course, students will be able to:

1 Safely demonstrate clinical practice in the medical surgical care settings. This includes social, physical, intellectual, cultural, emotional and spiritual safety, and making safe informed professional judgements within their scope of practice;

2 Demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of nursing practice. This will include participation in the inter-professional process and taking responsibility for the direction of their learning needs;

3 Recognise and articulate legal and ethical issues that impact on their practice;

4 Demonstrate the development and utilisation of therapeutic relationships with patients in the medical/surgical care settings. This will include the use of effective communication skills and respect for the boundaries of a professional relationship;

5 Recognise and utilise opportunities for patient teaching and learning incorporating the principles of rehabilitation and recovery;

6 Utilise an appropriate framework for the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of medical/surgical nursing care, including aspects of rehabilitation and recovery;

7 Demonstrate the use of reflection to uncover the meaning of illness/hospitalisation experience in the medical/surgical setting for patients and implications for the student’s practice. This will include the uncovering of theory embedded in practice.

The 33 theory and laboratory hours will be met in this course by the student attending 6 hours a week in each theory week (30 hours) plus 3 hours from the year two introductory week. The 17 self directed hours are allocated to allow the student to complete a portfolio, assessment and care plan while in the clinical setting. Students meet the 190 clinical hours by working in the acute care medical/ surgical setting with a Registered Nurse (RN) as a preceptor and with a lecturer from Otago Polytechnic providing supervision. Tutorials are included in the clinical hours.

Clinical assessment will be collaborative between the student, lecturer and registered nurse preceptor/s. Clinical assessment will be formative and summative, and result in an overall grade that reflects both the medical and surgical placement. A case study and care plan will be developed on either the student’s first or second placement and will include the assessment of a patient and the planning of nursing care. The case study and care plan will be assessed and graded by the lecturer and will contribute to the students overall clinical grade. The case study and care plan must be submitted to achieve outcomes of this course. A clinical portfolio will be developed by the student during their clinical placements that will support and evidence the meeting of outcomes of this course. The portfolio is also graded and contributes to the overall clinical grade of the course

My Revised Course

My Outcomes will not change because this is a curriculum issue; it is my learning strategies that I intend to change to meet outcome 2 and 7. Instead of compiling a hard copy portfolio, I intend to change this to compiling an e-portfolio. The reason I am changing this is because of the connectivism theory; this will allow students to connect with each others learning and construct new knowledge.


The purpose of this is for the students to construct their own knowledge from their clinical learning experiences. By commenting and reading other students work it will help them to increase their knowledge for the area they are working in.

A course wiki has been set up http:/ Each student needs to enrol themselves as a participant in BN 233. Each clinical placement has it own wiki set up. If a student is placed in ward 4A then they will need to access this wiki. In this site they will need to make at least two contributions (they are welcome to make more) with at least one link to an interesting related article. There contributions can be about anything they have learnt during the 3 weeks. The more thought and effort they put into this, the more it will show us they are critically thinking and will impact on their grade. There will also be another page set up titled reflections. They need to place at least one reflection (utilising a framework such as Gibbs or de Bono) for each placement on this site. They will also be required to comment on at least one other reflection they have read.

They will not need to put there name on any of the work they submit however it is essential that they let the lecturer know in some way which is there work.

The e-portfolio learning activity links with outcome 2 and 7.

Learner analysis

In my learner analysis I talked about older, male and international students sometimes struggling with compiling a portfolio, because of the writing involved. I’m hoping that these students will benefit from seeing other peoples work, as it may help them to see how to write or how to lay things out. I also think that for the students who are struggling, the information that other students provide may be more at their level and will help them. Also the school leavers will probably enjoy been able to use technology because they are quite comfortable with it.
Our professional body, the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) expects students and Registered Nurses to be able to articulate how they are meeting the NCNZ competencies in the form of a portfolio. This is one way of students learning from each other, how they can demonstrate these competencies.


I have already spent some time with Terry Marler and have the site set up. I also have a book titled “Using Moodle’ (Cole & Foster, 2008) borrowed from the university library which I’m finding very helpful. I will need more time with Terry when I am ready to put more things online. Ruth Wilson-Salt one of the lecturers is very experienced in blackboard and is keen to help me set up this site.

I will allow one of my early lectures to teach the students the basics of navigating the BN 233 course sites and explain things such as how to hyperlink. Before lectures start the lecturers will get together to make sure they can understand how to use the site.


September 2008 Contact Terry and get a site set up on blackboard and attach
videos of OSCES and links to helpful sites for students.

October 2008 Finish my plan and assignments completed for course

November 2008 Begin to set up site with clinical wiki’s, titles and links

December 2008 Reflect changes in new course outline and present to year two
team to go over and make suggestions

February 2009 Get together with lecturers to learn about moodle site, seek help
with any difficulties

March 2009 Be ready to go

May 2009 Meeting with lecturers to evaluate if things are going okay

July 2009 Evaluate semester one course and determine if changes need to
be made for semester 2.

November 2009 Evaluate semester 2 and present to nursing school a summary of
how the changes went

Cole, J. & Foster, H. (2nd ed.) (2008) Using Moodle Teaching with the Popular Open Source Course Management System. OReilly Community Press: California


David McQuillan said...

Hi Raewyn,

Leigh's pointed me in your direction through the networked learning group (which you should join btw).

It's great to read about your process. I've been thinking quite a bit about e-portfolios of late. The model that I've decided on is mainly blog-based. I'm going to get all of our students using a feed reader, reflecting on their learning process through their blogs (& perhaps google docs for more personal reflections that they're not comfortable sharing, or are related to confidentiality issues).

The reason I like this model is that the student's e-portfolio is not bound in time by the period of the course.

I'm looking forward to following your process with all of this, and learning from your learning. :-)

I'm blogging about our process over at if you're interested.

Carolyn said...

Hi Raewyn, I have been keeping and interest in your blog and have been watching what you have been up to but was also informed of this post, as was David through the networked learning group.
I agree with you about the value of students being able to connect with one another and share their learning experience. Supporting each other reflecting. I think E-portfolios have a great role to p[lay in this and also to meet the portfolio requirements of the profession.
I have also been blogging recently on a similar topic and was directed to some good resources about Eportfolios by a reader, can't seem to put a link here so if you are interested will need to look at my post "Bringing to together some key points"

Carolyn said...

David, who is a such a great help and support with all of this stuff for me, came down and showed me how to put in a hyperlink, so here is the link to that post,(I hope :))
Bringing together some key points in blended, distance and online education

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn said...

Try that again
Bringing together some key points in blended, distance and online education

Bronwyn hegarty said...

hello Raewyn
you have posted about some great ideas for your implementation plan. I really like the idea of e-portfolios. I have looked into this area a lot in the past few years and attended several workshops to see what products are available and what other institutions are doing.
As you are probably aware in my Doctorate I am looking at the development of reflective writing for e-portfolios.

I really like the set up which sarah Stewart has for her e-portfolio - a blog and a wiki. Leigh has this set up as well and I have started mine like this.

On the blog we can write our day to day reflections and in the wiki we store material relating to professional development. The combination of the two platforms is very powerful. The beauty of this approach is that you can combine global networking with the e-portfolio.

I investigated Mahara as a template for e-portfolios and found it clumsy and very limiting. it does not enable networking opportunities and is not as intuitive to use as a wiki and a blog. also users are reliant on the organisation to continue to give them access.

Hence the individual has less independence for their personal learning environment.

I too will be disappointed if OP purchases another proprietary product and does not encourage staff to make use of existing web 2 tools. also learning how to write reflectively is key as well rather than just gathering information and presenting it which a proprietary product promotes as the emphasis becomes the product and on creating and storing items in it.

Helen Barrett has done a lot of work on e-portfolios - see:

Carolyn said...

I too have been muddling over the different ways that e-portfolios can be developed. I think the term e-portfolio in itself creates confusion with the concept that this is one thing, where in fact it is a collection or interrelated items. Having pondered this I believe that there are huge disadvantages with a proprietary resource. The benefit in using a proprietary resource is probably that everything is stored on one place and that the resource itself will come with some instructions and ideas about how it can be constructed and what might be included, how parts of it can be made available for assessment purposes or for job application. The disadvantages are that students will not gain the skills in using non proprietary tools for this purpose. Being tied into this will limit their ability to create the resource to best meet their needs. There is also the problem of long term storage. E-portfilios should be records of life time learning, if they are stored in an institution, which they need to be for a proprietary brand such as Mahara, the institution will be committed to hosing the portfolio for the rest of that persons lifetime, that is a huge commitment and will eventually be an inconvenience for the person who owns the portfolio I believe. There are plenty of fee online resources, principally blogs and wikis which can be used for e-portfolios and can fulfill all of the purposes of an e-portfolio but, probably better than any proprietary package. I recently discovered that Wetpaint wiki will allow advert free wikis for education purposes. I have commenced part of my own e-portfolio there and applied for ad free status which has been granted. Students can also apply for this. Some students will be aware of the possibilities of using these resources but others will not. If students are to create e-portfolios outside a proprietary brand I believe they will need a lot of support and guidance and ideas about how this can be done. This is a problem if we as lecturers are not using these things ourselves and therefore do not have this knowledge to pass on I think. Sarah Stewart's free and open example of an eportfolio is invaluable for this purpose but I think to truly guide students we need to be doing this ourselves. I wonder how many polytech staff are doing this?

Ray Tolley said...

Hi, Raewyn,

I have just come across your blog through the provocative comments of Leigh Blackall.

I must say that there is a lot of GOOD thinking about e-Portfolios here but, as with many in academia, not so much thinking outside of one's own experience.

Firstly, if an e-Portfolio is supposed to be 'lifelong' and 'lifewide' it should not be used, as some institutions would have it, as a skills competency test or worse still, as an excuse for basic ICT training classes.
There is plenty of talk about 'in the sky' computing - but how does this sit with a 7yr-old or the elderly or those who are not of the top 10% of academia or those who have not got the time or skills to spend building their own e-Portfolio?

Secondly, it the whole concept of the purpose of an e-Portfolio that I think Leigh does not understand. As much as young professionals may want a medium for showcasing their work, this is only one small part of the whole list of capabilities of the e-Portfolio. On my website ( I identify some 15 distinct functions of an e-Portfolio.

Perhaps one of the most important points, for me, is that of the security of one's digital identity. Working in the schools sector it is essential that we provide an e-safe working environment where all the great things that an e-Portfolio can help students do without any fear of predation or offence.

Above all, a good e-Portfolio system allows the owner, apart from the normal organisational needs, to 'cosmeticise' the whole format in a style that shouts out 'This is ME!' Using a variety of templates, skins, fonts and avatars etc each individual e-Portfolio can look completely different but at the same time have all the functionality one needs.

Audience, is another important factor. A good e-Portfolio should be capable of presenting different 'faces' to different audiences all at the same time if need be. After one has been around for any length of time we pick up a variety of qualifications, interests, experiences and skills, all of which we might not want to present to different audiences. (Just think of applying for two very different jobs at the same time!)

Lastly, the point of longevity. It is obvious that an institutional portfolio cannot be hosted within that institution for ever. For several reasons it is therefore obvious that the e-Portfolio should be hosted externally, which, apart from anyting else, avoids problems of portability and degradation. My company offers a low-cost solution for all learners, which can be fully maintained 'between jobs' or periods of 'relaxation'.

Apologies if this looks like advertising - it is not (really). What I do want to help clarify is the vast amount of muddled thinking about e-Portfolios and how we can help all learners to benefit, whatever their abilities.

Kind Regards,

Ray Tolley