Embedding reflection in the curriculum through MyPDP Fiona Smith, Ben Brock and Ed Hall Geography, University of Dundee
Background • University of Dundee • Blackboard Academic Suite ePortfolios adopted. • MyPDP = My Personal Development Portfolio AND/OR My Professional Development Portfolio • Developed through Careers and Learning Centre • Available to all students since 2005. • Pilot Projects in Disciplines under SHEEN Project (2007 onwards).
Home page of Dundee’s My PDP resource presented via Blackboard Academic Suiteand viewed within Microsoft Internet Explorer
Example of a life science student’s PDP portfolio constructed using templates provided within the My PDP resource
Motivations for piloting MyPDP in Geography Institution and outside university Discipline Personal pathway - Level 1 Vacation or Part-time work Fundamentals of Geography Personal Development Portfolio Written work Sports clubs Laboratory and field work Representation Level 2 Analysis, Presentation skills Career planning or Internship Module Geographical sub-disciplines Volunteering Level 3 Research skills Mentoring evaluation Specialist modules Placement or internship Societies Independent field work Level 4 Problem-solving Enterprise Gym Online professional portfolio Dissertation Attributes - teamwork, financial, empathy, problem solving, creative, ambitious, self-motivated, reliable, ethical, diligent Knowledge and skills – human geography, physical geography, communicate, laboratory skills, report writing, IT skills, research skills, analysis, critical thinking Graduation
PEG programme • Branded for Geography • Building on existing elements of Geography curriculum • 2007-08 innovation = use of MyPDP to develop student reflection on learning and personal development • Not assessed but is linked to curriculum activities
Using MyPDP… • In Level 1, semester 1 • Induction session • Two templates for workshop activities and related assessment • Writing skills • Data analysis skills • Workshop completing portfolio at end of module • In Level 3 • Careers induction and MyPDP induction in weeks 1-3 (part of overall level 3 induction) • Spain field trip – MyPDP template on field work and team working skills
Evaluation – Students • Level 1: • Activities are • ‘like school’; ‘don’t see the point’ • disconnected from Geography studies • C. 35% saw some use in the exercises • Otherwise very positive module evaluation • Around 50% completion • Some reflection, but can be limited • Level 3 Students: • Much more willing • Some elements of reflection, but can still be basic
Evaluation – Staff • Learning curve for staff • Technical issues • New software, new methods • Template design • Too much text, too many questions • Pedagogic issues • ‘Adding’ to an already full curriculum • Relevance to each year group • Moving from transition to university to careers; developing reflective learning over time • Does it actually promote professionalism and employability?
Evaluation – Generic • Problems with wider design and interface • Set up is often counter-intuitive. • Format options are limited – new work being done by School of Design on this. • How useful is MyPDP for reflective learning? • Good students versus weaker ones? • Compare to use of blogs or other activities • How to make it sustainable…?
Next steps for 2008-09 • Scale down demands on students (and staff) • Adjust focus in Level 1 to transition to University • MyPDP in Advising System • Getting started in Geography • Avoid ‘PEG’ branding – integrate into curriculum • MyPDP is only part of wider innovations in programme: • Placements and internships • Award-winning Level 3 Research in Human Geography module - real-world clients
Next steps… • Re-focus on what ‘professionalism and employability’ might mean for Geographers • MyPDP in itself is not ‘the’ solution to developing reflection – can we make it work better? • Does the format itself limit reflection and can it be improved? How can it be more student-centred? • relies on staff providing templates • Is Level 1 too early? • Are other formats (e.g. blogs) or in-class engagements more beneficial?