Enhancing student reflection and creativity

Kanerva Matveinen, University of Helsinki

Kanerva Matveinen, eLearning Specialist from University of Helsinki on ‘Enhancing student reflection and creativity by non-structured portfolios.’ This recording is from our 2023 MiniBash community event which was hosted in Birmingham, England. Videos are for educational personnel only and require a live educational email to watch. You can read a small snippet of the video transcript below. 


Hello, everyone. My name is Kanerva Matveinen and I come from the University of Helsinki. If Kanerva is too difficult for you, please call me Heather. That is my English name.  

So I’m talking about enhancing the student reflection and creativity by non-structure portfolios and I’ll come to what that means in a second. 

First, a bit about how we use ePortfolios at our university, what the non-structured portfolios are, what is included in planning and assessment of our portfolios. 

And then we’ll take a look at our portfolio, and then a bit about what this means for the teacher. 

So, contrary to the two previous presentations on the slot. We do not use workbooks. I know. Shocking. 

So, at our university, when we use portfolios, there are two types of years. We either use the ePortfolios during the courses, which means that the students are discussing the topics, the themes of the course in their portfolios. Of course, reflecting and doing all the other stuff too. 

But then we also have working with portfolios where the students are focusing on their work, work life skills and so on. 

The course of how long the students are using the portfolios depends. Sometimes they’re only using it for one course and then we have programs where they are using it for 3 years. 

Usually, our ePortfolios are non-structured. And in this case, it means that the students are building and structuring the portfolios themselves. The teachers are not doing that work for them. 

We use PebblePad, but also allow students to use other forms like PowerPoint, word, etc. It just depends on what they personally want to use. Many prefer PebblePad, but the goal of ePortfolio work and non-structural ePortfolio work at our uni is that the students get to recognise their capabilities, their skills, the knowledge that you have already built and are building, and the creativity that they have inside them. 

So why non-structured portfolios? 

We believe those portfolios are for the students. They are not for the teacher. The students need to understand what is important for them. They need to start to think on their own, form their own questions and become problem solvers. If we’re always asking the same questions, how are they learning to ask the new questions? 

And generally, actually, non-structured portfolio work has been working better at our uni than structured workbooks and so on. 

And they are really thorough and reflective at all degree levels, and I will show you the example and what I mean by this. 

And one really big point is that we need to focus on the working life. When we are educating our students, we are educating them to be specialists. We are educating them to be researchers and they need to be able to work on their own. They need to recognise their skills. They need to be able to ask, does this matter? Is this relevant? Is this worth doing? They are not the ones who are only filling in the forms. They are the ones who are making the forms for others. 




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