Supporters and sceptics of Reflective ePortfolios in an undergraduate science course

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


In 2020/21, a Reflective ePortfolio was used to capture students’ experiential learning, and contributed to 25% of in-course marks for a core biology course (368 enrolled students). Students were asked to write weekly reflections around transferable skills development, and were supported through a reflective toolkit and an asynchronous discussion board, as well as weekly podcasts and live Q&A sessions. This paper reviews first-year students’ perceptions to date.

At the outset of the semester, the author was aware of scepticism among some students (and teaching staff) regarding a reflective course component, particularly around its relevance. A concerted effort was made to relate content to underpinning science (e.g. the neurobiology of resilience) and to structure reflections around typical interview questions. End-of-semester survey data demonstrate polarised views. While most respondents (55%) agreed the ePortfolio helped to identify areas to improve, 47% did not think that taking part improved their learning overall. Ninety-six percent of students (353/368) completed their Final Report, however, attributing marks to the ePortfolio was a point of contention: “Overall, I believe that the experiences that the portfolio provided were valuable. It also gave me opportunities to self-reflect in ways that I haven't before. That being said I don't think it should contribute - in any respect - to our final grade” (Year 1 student). A quote from a Personal Tutor implies that staff perhaps failed to endorse the portfolio “Most of my tutees only partially filled it out and all thought it was a waste of their time”. While sceptics may never become advocates of the portfolio, they should at least be supportive of students’ engagement. Further insights will be shared at the conference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021
Event University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference 2021 - Virtual
Duration: 15 Jun 202117 Jun 2021


Conference University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference 2021
Internet address


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