Electronic Portfolio Approaches to Support Development of Contract Research Staff

Simon Cotterill *, Lesley Heseltine +, Paul Drummond *, Tony McDonald *

Abstract presented at SEDA 2004

There has been increasing recognition of the needs of contract research staff (CRS) within HE. At the University of Newcastle there are faculty-based programs to support CRS. To compliment these initiatives an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) approach is being tested by volunteers in a small-scale feasibility study within the Faculty of Medical Sciences. The ePortfolio has been designed to increase recognition and promote the development of generic research and other transferable skills, which are particularly important in the CRS context. It also aims to provide a facility for CRS to record and reflect on their achievements on an on-going basis to promote pro-active personal development and career planning. It may also help CRS in the preparation of their regular personal development review. The ePortfolio system, developed as part of an FDTL-4 project (http://www.eportfolios.ac.uk), can be customised to support learning outcomes, objectives and skills. In this case it was configured to incorporate the skills set developed in the Research Career Builder (http://www.shef.ac.uk/~gmpcrs/rcb.html). This covers generic research, transferable, and specialist skills. Users of the ePortfolio can record their achievements and keep reflective notes for these various skills. CRS can also record courses and conferences attended, including learning outcomes and statements on how they have applied their training. Records can then be cross-referenced with one or more skills to help build up a structured record learning and development. A CV tool is also included in the ePortfolio with sections on qualifications, employment, presentations, publications and teaching which can be cross-referenced with the skills framework. CRS can download their ePortfolio data as a template CV, which includes the skills-based information. Initial findings of the pilot study are discussed including feasibility, acceptability, and other issues which need to be addressed if the ePortfolio is to be made more widely available to CRS.

* School of Medical Education Development, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
+ Contract Research Staff Project, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

document icon Electronic Portfolio Approaches to Support Development of Contract Research Staff (presented at the SEDA Spring Conference, April 2004) 1MB