Digital scholarship and ePortfolios

Current online information environments and the associated social and pedagogical transactions within them create an important information ecosystem that can and should influence and shape the professional engagement and digital scholarship within our learning communities in the higher education sector.  Thanks to advances in technology, the powerful tools at our disposal to help students understand and learn in unique ways are enabling new ways of producing, searching and sharing information and knowledge. By leveraging technology, we have the opportunity to open new doors to scholarly inquiry for ourselves and our students. While practical recommendations for a wide variety of ways of working with current online technologies are easily marketed and readily adopted, there is insufficient connection to digital scholarship practices in the creation of meaning and knowledge through more traditional approaches to the ‘portfolio’.

Reflection on practice

A key area in the development of the professional practitioner is the ability to reflect on practice as the basis for learning, with the effectiveness of this practice having been confirmed through research to be linked to inquiry, reflection and continuous professional growth (Killeavy & Moloney, 2010). Reflection can be understood as a process of internal dialogue facilitated by thinking or writing and through an external dialogue and reflection together with others (Clarke, 2003). Reflective practice writing is creative, a way of gaining access to each practi­tioner’s deep well of experience not always accessible to everyday channels and is a valuable mode of expressing, sharing, assessing and developing professional experience (Bolton, 2005). By recognising and taking responsibility for personal and professional identity, values, action and feelings the student undertaking reflection within the constructs of subject and program requirements is demonstrating a willingness to stay with uncertainty, doubt and questioning in order to engage in spirited enquiry leading to constructive developmental change and personal and professional integrity based on deep understandings (Bolton, 2010, p. 7). Knowing what to reflect upon is as critical a part of the educative process as the reflection action itself, perhaps explaining why reflective practice has become a standard in initial and continuing professional education and development. This is a pedagogical approach that draws together reflective practice and reflexivity (finding strategies to question our own attitudes, values and limits of our knowledge –  Bolton, 2010) as a state of mind to empower the process of learning.

In professional programmes in particular, it is useful if students keep a reflective journal, in which they record any incidents or thoughts that help them reflect on the content of the course or programme. Such reflection is basic to proper professional functioning. The reflective journal is especially useful for assessing ILOs (intended learning outcomes)  relating to the application of content knowledge, professional judgment and reflection on past decisions and problem solving with a view to improving them.” (Biggs & Tang, 2011, p.261).

It is perhaps simplistic to migrate a pre-digital taxonomy to a digital environment and to ignore the function of and relationship to digital scholarship for the educator or higher education academic. When it comes to online learning, it is understood that interaction with others (peers and instructors) is a highly important variable in successful learning experiences within the online learning environment, particularly when coupled with the need for students to achieve self-regulation between their own knowledge/experiences and the content of a subject (Cho & Kim, 2013).  This reflective practice, which assists in assembling knowledge and experience in meaningful ways, can be facilitated by the use of an ePortfolio, and may facilitate independent learning, development of identity, a sense of empowerment, greater awareness of self, and promote active engagement in future oriented professional practice (Rowley & Munday, 2014).

The digital information environment in which an ePortfolio is situated is one that demands a new knowledge flow between content and digital connections. While academics may consider themselves to be pedagogically driven in their learning and teaching, the availability of technologies to support different models of learning strongly influences what kinds of pedagogies will now emerge in terms of course content, subject dialogue and conversation.  As McLuhan (1964) first argued, technologies also influence and define the usage, in this case the pedagogy instantiated in the learning and instructional designs (Anderson & Dron, 2010). Academics (as teachers) need to support and nurture learners to learn within connected and collaborative learning environments, to lead purposeful and corrective discourse in relation to multiple information environments as part of the construction of meaning and understanding (Garrison, 2015).


Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2010). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(3), 80–97.
Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university. Open university press.
Bolton, G.(2005). How to begin writing. In Reflective practice: writing and professional development (2nd ed.)(pp. 141-162). London, UK.:Sage.
Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective practice: Writing and professional development. Sage publications.
Cho, M. H., & Kim, B. J. (2013). Students’ self-regulation for interaction with others in online learning environments. The Internet and Higher Education, 17, 69-75.
Clarke, M. (2003). Reflections: Journals and reflective questions a strategy for professional learning, NZARE/AARE Conference. New Zealand.
Garrison, D.R. (2015). Thinking collaboratively: Learning in a community of enquiry. London: Taylor & Francis.
Killeavy, M., & Moloney, A. (2010). Reflection in a social space: Can blogging support reflective practice for beginning teachers?. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 1070-1076.
McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. New York: McGraw Hill.
Rowley, J., and Munday, J. (2014). A ‘Sense of self’ through reflective thinking in ePortfolios, International Journal of Humanities Social Sciences and Education, 1(7), 78-85.

Extract from

Digital scholarship powered by reflection and reflective practice through the use of an ePortfolio approach to course design in Higher Education. (Refereed publication)

World class education through OERu

Home___OERuOne of the delights of working at Charles Sturt University is being able to range across innovation opportunities – to make a difference!

A project that I have had some connection with has been the open university initiative branded as OERu. Check out what they are up to at It’s a very interesting project headed by Wayne McIntosh UNESCO / ICDE Chair in OER, Director of the OER Foundation, OERu thought leader.

The OERu makes education accessible to everyone. Coordinated by the OER Foundation, we are an independent, not-for-profit network that offers free online courses for students worldwide. We also provide affordable ways for learners to gain academic credit towards qualifications from recognised institutions.

In the traditions of open sharing, the OERu partners develop all OERu courses in WikiEducator.  This is a healthy relationship because 75% of the funding which keeps the WikiEducator website going is generated from OERu membership fees.  Without this support – we would not be able to fund the hosting of WikiEducator.

I need to ask for your help!  We need you to subscribe to the Youtube Channel.

One of the outputs of the communication’s project is a short video explaining what the OERu is and how it is designed to enable education opportunities around the globe.

As a charitable organisation, YouTube has approved a Youtube for non-profits account for the OERu. We have met all the requirements to qualify for a custom url for the new channel, expect that we need 100 hundred subscribers.

We need your help – please subscribe to the OERu Youtube channel so we can qualify for a custom url.

This will make it easier for learners to find more affordable options for higher education and higher education institutions to become more sustainable.

The winds of change!


Building 288 Biomedical Sciences

Winter is settled in, and with it has come a lot of change in my personal and professional life – hence my social media comment recently – “there’s a blog post in that!”

So what is going on?

First up, we sold our home of 27 years (yippee) and moved house to a brand new apartment in the inner west.  One complicated change- tick. How did that go??  One third of our possessions were either given away or disposed of, another third came to our apartment, and the last third was placed into storage ready for the house we are building in country Albury.  Another change underway – tick.

Albury /ˈɔːlbəri/ is a major regional city in New South Wales, Australia, located on the Hume Highway on the northern side of the Murray River. This is our tree change for 5-10 years, though we also have an apartment in Sydney of course.  It’s a quick flight from Albury to Sydney or Melbourne, so we will be back in Sydney a lot, or popping into Melbourne by way of a (shopping)  change.

I also heard that my teacher librarian team and I are to receive a Faculty of Education citation for academic excellence. I’ll travel to Bathurst in a couple of weeks for that, and am honoured to have gained this second award since being at CSU.    Yes, there has been a tremendous amount of work done, and some of it has had significant influence beyond our own team.  Good work – tick.

Finally, if you have been ‘reading between the lines’ on social media you will know that I officially commenced in a new position a week ago – moving completely our of the Faculty of Education after leaving the School of Information Studies earlier in the year.

I’ve moved into the Faculty of Science. #gasp Don’t worry – I’m not claiming to be a scientist, chemistry boffin or pharmacist. The focus of my new role is still on e-learning and/or online learning as part of a quality learning and teaching project from the u!magine Digital Learning Innovation Laboratory at Charles Sturt University. Here we are working on a range of things, including change and innovation in the elearning space which is also being shaped up at CSULX | Online Learning Exchange.

We have a new three-faculty structure at CSU as of July 2016 (another big change) and I’ve stepped into the Faculty of Science position, working with my #globaleducator friend and  Julie Lindsay in the Faculty of Arts and Education.  That has to be another  good tick!

Right now I am immersed in the Bachelor of Medical Science, soon to be followed with the Bachelor of Nursing for some intensive elearning design work. I’m glad that none of the scientific terminology is new to me at all, as my first ‘real’ professional work early in my career was as sub-editor of the Australian Medical Journal, followed by editorial assistant on the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery.

So curious how things have come full circle in a way – and how technology change has been at the heart of it in some practical ways. For example, it’s amazing to reflect on how complicated my editing work was  back then, because typesetting was pre-digital so pre- press work meant a need for extreme editing accuracy and quality presentation of content prior to typeset.  That was a real challenge I recall with some bemusement – particularly when I remember the editing the work of a noted Australian medical figure who also happened to be dyslexic.

So winter has really been a period of change – and one that I hope heralds a beautiful and calm spring ahead – oh and moving to our new home in Albury before Christmas.  Tick!

Good bye to all my students in the various degrees that I have worked with in the last 5 years.  Thank you for your friendship and passion for learning – please do stay in touch.  You know where to find me on social media🙂

flickr photo shared by simon.morris under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

Melting ice and faster internet


No question, we are getting more and more reliant on good quality internet access and online connectivity.  I remember a time when I would be able to go off to vacuum the house while I waited for a program to download from the mac bulletin board. What a slow but exhilarating time that was!

But today, we want speed – real speed.

So the reading about the possible advantages created by melting Arctic Ice for faster internet brought a wry smile to my face.

The internet might seem like an ethereal, invisible network that connects every laptop and smartphone on the planet, but in reality it is propped up by a very real, very large network of cables crisscrossing the ocean floor. For years, communications networks have relied on tens of thousands of fiber optic cables to establish connections between countries, with the shortest and most direct connections providing the fastest links to the internet. As the internet grew, so did this undersea network. But while crossing the Arctic Circle is the most direct path to lay cables to connect European and Asian networks, until recently Arctic ice has prevented installation.

As these new pathways are opening up in the Arctic, communications companies are jumping on the chance to lay new cables.
People in remote Alaskan communities will not only have access to services like online classes and medical data, but will be able to do things that most people take for granted, like streaming movies and television shows through services like Netflix.

via Melting Arctic Ice Might Mean Faster Internet for Some | Smart News | Smithsonian

Internet Of Things

IOT Large

Industry leaders have been looking toward and anticipating the Internet of Things for quite some time. EDUCAUSE Review asked five experts in the field to share their insights on lessons learned, on current problems solved and created, and on the possible future impact of the IoT.

Predictions for the growth of the IoT vary considerably: some experts forecast that about 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020; others put the number closer to 40 or 50 billion. What does all this mean for colleges and universities? Considering the key role being played by vendors in this market, we decided to ask some industry leaders in higher education a few questions.

How we can truly unpack the value of the IoT?

The contributors were all asked the following five questions:

  • The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
  • What game-changing IoT devices and uses do you expect we’ll be seeing on campuses within the next one to three years?
  • What are the most exciting academic and administrative benefits enabled by the IoT for higher education?
  • How will the demands of a more connected student and a more connected campus influence—positively and/or negatively—the systems, processes, and infrastructure of the current higher education landscape?
  • Will issues of privacy and data ownership stand in the way of a fully realized IoT? What other barriers or challenges will need to be addressed?

Great set of questions that lend themselves to a good discussion with your student cohort, as well as with industry experts! What does the average lecturer and/or student think or even understand about the IoT impact or potential?

To be honest, I haven’t seen very little impact yet in my day-to-day work on campus for administration or connection with students. I wouldn’t mind a few connected objects – would you?


Sharing Their Voices with the World: Helping our ESOL Students Self-Publish with Smashwords — The Unquiet Librarian

The Hooch Learning Studio, in conjunction with Ms. Balogh’s ESOL students, is delighted to announce the publication of Twelve Worlds, One Book. This book is an anthology of student writing created by Ms. Balogh’s students crafted as part of the work they crafted in Ms. Balogh’s writer’s workshop approach to composition instruction. The book contains […]

A brilliant piece of student online globally shared work! As always, Buffy Hamilton rocks!  Sharing Their Voices with the World: Helping our ESOL Students Self-Publish with Smashwords — The Unquiet Librarian

Information literacy refresher

In my previous post, I outlined the crisis of credibility that has beset scholarly information. In this post I present the first in a series of posts explaining the GeSTE windows model for the critical evaluation of information (Lupton 2008, Lupton & Bruce 2010). The GeSTE windows is a way of seeing information literacy as Generic, […]

I recommend reading the full post from Mandy Lupton at  Critical evaluation of information – Generic Window — inquiry learning & information literacy