In Social Work, students are sent out on placement and are asked to demonstrate certain skills and competencies. These are checked by both external mentors from the placements and tutors here at the University. Previously, this was carried out using paper, meaning student progress was only seen once the portfolio was submitted. Postal copies were also large in size and were sometimes lost in the post.
What did you change?
We decided to adopt PebblePad into our teaching to enable students to submit their practice portfolios electronically and to give access to external markers. Previously, they were required to submit hard copies.
What benefits did PebblePad provide?
Hard copies were large and sometimes were lost in the post, especially when sending them out to external markers. Markers also had to wait until the deadline to see the students’ work. With PebblePad, we can now go in at any time and see how students are progressing.
PebblePad has eased access for markers and students, particularly as students are placed all over the South West region in practice placements.
What have we learned?
One challenge we experienced was educating new external users on how to use PebblePad. If we were to start from scratch, we would improve the information to external users and ensure that all staff at the University presented a positive view of PebblePad to students – those who found IT difficult sometimes did not ‘sell’ the use of PebblePad to students. It is important to present a positive attitude in the use of PebblePad; this then enables others to learn how to use it more effectively!
Our future plans
For now, we will continue to use PebblePad in the same way. I’m also waiting to see how the latest version of PebblePad feels to work with.
This case study has been captured by the Academic Development team and showcases current practice from Programmes in Social Work. We would like to thank Dr Julia Wheeler (School of Health Professions) for participating in this case study.