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A call to action for eProfessionalism: developing the use of ePortfolio with emerging health and education practitioners

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify educational, technological, and professional consequences of ePortfolio use that were intended, unintended, positive and negative. Ethical approval was obtained from seven universities in accordance with institutional guidelines established in accordance with Australia’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. A mixed methods design was employed to survey staff and invite them to participate in a focus group or interview. Online questionnaires were distributed across seven universities to 22 volunteer respondents drawn from academic teachers in both disciplines. Following completion and quantification of questionnaire data, respondents were invited to participate in a either a focus group or interview with one of the researchers. Merton’s sociological model was adopted in the study as it informed a conceptual framework used to examine the impact of unintended consequences that emerged when building a professional online presence. This theory was used to identify the full range of ePortfolio learning and teaching practices emerging as a multi-function, complex system, within domains and purpose of ePortfolios such as information systems, health or education disciplines. Results indicated a significant challenge, namely there is no single set of guidelines that would support teachers and students when engaging in learning and teaching activities to improve protection of private data relating to vulnerable people. Digital literacy of academics and students is variable and may impact on data privacy. Data gathered will be used to inform development of guidelines on the use and publication of information collected in ePortfolios to protect vulnerable people.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the many colleagues and students who have contributed to our study. We hope that our findings make a positive contribution to teaching and learning in higher education.

Funding

This research was supported by the in-kind work of all authors listed. Lead author was employed by Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia, for three years of this project.

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Correspondence to Misty M. Kirby.

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Kirby, M.M., Downer, T., Slade, C. et al. A call to action for eProfessionalism: developing the use of ePortfolio with emerging health and education practitioners. J Comput High Educ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09326-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09326-1

Keywords

  • Unintended consequences
  • ePortfolio
  • Digital ethics
  • eProfessionalism
  • Vulnerable population
  • Intended consequences