Abstract: Context: As part of each universities accreditation with Engineers Australia (EA) individual courses require documentation that demonstrates that each student on graduation has developed 16 elements of competency (Engineers Australia, 2016). This is usually achieved through constructive alignment, connecting the competencies with learning outcomes and assessment. However, this approach does not necessarily require the student to understand or engage with the EA Stage 1 competencies, thus missing many opportunities for learning through reflective practice and metacognition.
Purpose: This paper details the curriculum development of a whole of course approach to ePorfolios at Southern Cross University with the specific goals of developing a student's ability to understand their developed competencies in professionally relevant contexts and be able to articulate it in a variety of industry relevant mediums. The history and development of the engineering ePortfolio program is examined through reflections of the academic staff involved in the development and teaching of the program.
Approach: Based on the principle of making students explicitly aware of their developing competency and making them accountable for demonstrating it, the program focuses on developing the students' process and is strongly scaffolded in the first year. A competency development model was developed for the program and provides the basis for metacognitive awareness and the development of the students' reflective capacity. The ePortfolio program focuses on a fully integrated whole of course approach culminating in the final year capstone unit where student produce professionally relevant expressions of their developed competencies.
Reflections on the program: The program has been constantly redesigned and refined based on feedback from staff and students. Initially developed based on formal reflective writing, the program was refined to incorporate the competency development model as a better way to engage students with the program. The program was also originally design to mimic the process to gain chartered professional status, however, the student outputs were found to be poorly backed up by context and evidence. The process was subsequently modified to represent the process to have a Stage 1 EA qualification recognised (career episode report). This provided a much strong basis for students to express their competencies.
Conclusions: The significant achievements of this program were to fully integrate ePortfolios and reflective practice into a whole of course design in a way that makes students explicitly responsible for understanding, developing and expressing their engineering competencies in a professionally relevant way. Core to this achievement was the development of the competency development model and the collaborative academic team approach.
To cite this article: Lake, Neal; Holt, Julienne; Rose, Andrew; Padilla, Ricardo Vasquez and Lake, Maree. Whole of course approach to ePortfolios and engineering competency development [online]. In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 441-450.
[cited 27 Jun 17].