Students' perceptions of the use of eportfolios in nursing and midwifery education
Birks, M, Hartin, P, Woods, C, Emmanuel, E & Hitchins, M 2016, 'Students' perceptions of the use of eportfolios in nursing and midwifery education', Nurse Education in Practice, vol. 18, pp. 46-51.
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ePortfolios have been introduced into many higher education degrees in the past decade in an effort to help students to link theory, practice and personal experiences. This pilot study used a survey to examine ePortfolio use from the perspective of undergraduate nursing and postgraduate midwifery students. Fifty-seven students from a regional Australian university completed an online questionnaire which contained questions about the following areas of ePortfolio use: understanding of the tool; psychological perceptions; challenges around use; assessment; outcomes of use; benefits; maintenance of the ePortfolio; and enhanced learning. The majority of respondents were female, undergraduate students, aged 21-30 years. Results indicated that many students found ePortfolio use frustrating; in particular, technological and logistical challenges in using ePortfolios were highlighted. Most students, however, noted ePortfolios could be useful repositories for documents, reflections and learning experiences. Undergraduate students were more likely than postgraduate students to see the positive potential of ePortfolio use. The findings, coupled with the literature, raise questions about the effectiveness of ePortfolio use in nursing and midwifery education and, particularly, whether ePortfolios have been implemented with misguided and misinformed good intention. Further research is required to better understand the logistical and technological aspects of successful implementation of ePortfolios and fully capitalise on their benefits for nursing and midwifery education.