Portfolio tools: learning and teaching strategies to facilitate development of graduate attributes

Jacquelyn Cranney, Michelle Kofod, Gail Huon, Lene Jensen, Kirsty Levin, Iain McAlpine, Michele Scoufis, Noel Whitaker

Abstract


Background and Aims: Based on previous developments at UNSW of an electronic Graduate Attributes Portfolio (Brawley et al. 2003), and the increasing body of evidence on the educational use of portfolios, this project embedded the Portfolio into a Bachelor of Psychology course, with a particular emphasis on professional development and employability skills of students. The primary aim of this project was to encourage and support students in taking responsibility for identifying their own goals, identifying the qualities required to achieve those goals, and reflecting upon and documenting their own career-relevant achievements. Method: The Portfolio required students to record anecdotal evidence of their academic, extracurricular, and employment-related activities relevant to each of the UNSW graduate attributes. Specific strategies were implemented to (a) assist students to become aware of their current level of achievement in each of the graduate attributes and how these attributes relate to the employability skills, (b) provide structured development of specific attributes within the course, and (c) encourage further development of these attributes prior to graduation and associated job interviews. Results and Conclusions: To date, the specific outcomes of this project have been (a) the development of learning and teaching strategies that enable students to see the relevance of documenting and further planning the development of graduate attributes and career-related achievements, (b) the development of a portfolio support website that can assist any current and future students in these activities, and (c) the development of teaching resources that can be implemented in assisting students develop these skills.

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