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  • 2016AveryPhD

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e-Portfolio assessment in networked learning based communities

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Barry Avery
Publication date2016
Number of pages224
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


There is a substantial body of research suggesting the advantages of using e-
Portfolios in higher education assessment, where work is collated by individuals
to record their learning. The use of learning communities in this context is an
under-researched area, despite the number of e-Portfolios that implement a
social component.
This work develops an alternative e-Portfolio approach by using a networked
learning based pedagogy, which brings richer descriptions of both artifacts and
the structure of the underlying community. Action research and free/open
source development principles have been aligned over two cycles, where
students have participated as both co-researchers and co-developers. Evolving
the nature and presentation of assessment artifacts, participants have
determined how these are best shared and reused, and the ways in which larger
contextual information about the community can improve both the learning and
the knowledge of the learning taking place.
A multi-method research framework is used to show what artifacts are created,
who is interacting with whom and why participants act as they do. Data has been
collected using interviews, focus groups and from analytics from the e-Portfolio
The findings suggest that the types of artifacts created are influenced by both the
community and by the nature of the material being learnt. Artifacts reveal the
sources that students use for their work and although participants can be
reluctant to reveal incorrect or incomplete work to the community, this can be
encouraged by a carefully constructed induction, reinforcing the importance of
the role of teacher as tutor. Expertise is quickly associated with some
participants by the quality and regularity of their artifact construction, who
become more central and influential to the community, with their work
becoming increasingly visible through search activities.
This work presents the framework, an analysis of the results, conclusions and
recommendations along with a reference implementation.