Post-graduate student: Audrey, distance student
Lecturer: Sophie, early-career faculty member who is experimenting with a new form of teaching both residential and distance students
Peers: The other residential and distance students in Audrey's class
External examiner: Ruth, the external examiner who is a senior professor at a university in another city and has to assess the portfolio electronically
Future employer: Sizwe, who needs to evaluate the portfolio for employment purposes
Audrey is a student of the French Department's Masters programme, Teaching French as a Foreign Language. She lives in Cameroon and is a distance student. In her class of seven students, there are three residential students and four distance students. In one of the course models Audrey's classmates are each required to develop a portfolio to document their learning journey creating on online learning activity to support the teaching of French grammar. It is also a way to supervise the design and reflection of Audrey's online learning activity, so advice can be given at early stages in the design.
From the start of the course Audrey tutors a group of French undergraduate students. She learns how online learning activities developed by the lecturer, Sophie, are used to support these undergraduate students. She gets to understand their learning difficulties and how to assist students. She adds this reflection to her learning portfolio.
In the more theory based part of her course Audrey reads articles on the design, development and evaluation of computer assisted language learning. She reads about the design of learning activities similar to those she might want to develop. She summarises the key aspects of the design cycle and includes these in her portfolio. She is also required to do a literature review of three published articles. This literature review is added to her learning portfolio.
Audrey gets feedback on what she has done from the lecturer, Sophie. Audrey uses this formative feedback to make improvements to her literature review before it is assessed. After her literature review is assesses, this component of her portfolio is shared with the rest of the class. The class can read each other's literature reviews and draw ideas from them that might be of use.
Audrey is then required to develop a proposal for an online learning activity that will be used by the students she tutors. She adds this design proposal to her portfolio. As a tutor Audrey had felt that the rules for the subjunctive were not laid down sufficiently clearly for students to understand wanted her online learning activity to address this perceived shortcoming. The lecturer gives feedback on the viability of the proposal and Audrey begins working on developing her online learning activity. Audrey has decided to develop a short quiz and writing tasks using a wiki. The quiz is intended to assess students understanding of the subjunctive, while the short writing task in the wiki required the use of the subjunctive in an authentic context. She extends to portfolio to describe the design, development and evaluation of the learning activity she developed and used with her students.
At the end of the semester, Audrey makes her portfolio available to an external examiner, Ruth who lives in another city and has to undertake the final summative assessment of Audrey's portfolio electronically. Audrey has to ensure that she has hyperlinked all the resources she used in designing, developing and implementing her online learning activity so that Ruth has a complete picture of Audrey's learning journey in which she created an online learning activity to support the teaching of undergraduate students.
Audrey graduates and applies for a job teaching French as a foreign language. To demonstrate her ability to design and develop online learning activities she shares her portfolio with her potential employer. This shows how she has been able to design a learning activity and by drawing on the literature motivate the teaching strategies and evaluate the outcomes.