Postgraduate Students’ Perception of the Use of E-portfolios as a Teaching Tool to Support their Learning in an Open and Distance Education Institution
Keywords:student support, e-portfolio, Mahara, e-learning, Open Distance Learning (ODL), Community of Inquiry (CoI), COVID-19
E-portfolios have been used for decades in education; however, it is still a new trend in some developing countries as they continue to adopt e-learning practices. The study investigated postgraduate students’ experiences and perceptions of using an e-portfolio as a teaching tool to support their learning in an open and distance e-learning (ODeL) university in South Africa. A sample of 74 students registered for an online module were selected and an online questionnaire administered via Lime Survey. The results show that more than half of the respondents (71%) were using the e-portfolio for the first time. The study also revealed the contrasting views of the support received from the lecturer and institution for the e-portfolio platform, especially with technical issues. This study suggests that distance education institutions that are using e-portfolios need to strategically choose user-friendly technology tools and design appropriate student support strategies for delivering online modules. Higher education institutions that are planning to implement e-portfolios may find the results of this paper useful; however, further investigation of the learners’ needs, and available tools may assist with creative and appropriate designs of support strategies for their contexts.
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