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Title: The social construction of knowledge in healthcare students' electronic portfolios
Author: Dew, Niall Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 8001
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis set out to describe how electronic portfolios support the social construction of knowledge by healthcare students. It will do this by drawing on the various forms and functions of the students’ electronic portfolios', their associated socially constructive processes and artefacts, and healthcare students’ views on how electronic portfolios are used on their courses. These factors are also considered alongside the impact of the sociohistorical and socio technical developments of electronic portfolios and healthcare course requirements. A broad grounded theory approach was used to generate substantive theory grounded in data gathered from a sample of UK and North American students (n=82). Data was gathered through an analysis of electronic portfolios (n=25), an online questionnaire (n=52), and in-depth interviews with students (n=16). The research found a limited number of socially constructive processes and artefacts that are used within healthcare courses. These processes and artefacts supported the social construction of knowledge within the students’ electronic portfolios. Even though healthcare students were not at ease with the limitations of their electronic portfolios they found that the pedagogical use of the electronic portfolio defined the range and extent of the learning they were required to demonstrate. A range of factors, internal and external to the electronic portfolio, determined the use of the electronic portfolios. This included the student’s confidence with using technology, the requirements of the professional bodies and the healthcare courses that incorporated them, and the skills of academics in using the electronic portfolios. The students found the electronic portfolios format allowed them to use a wider range of digital artefacts (i.e. images, video and audio) that were not available in paper portfolios. They also thought the integration of the Internet into their electronic portfolios meant that their portfolio was safe in a digital cloud based repository. The research found that despite the widespread use of Web 2.0 by most of the students in their personal lives, this was not incorporated into students’ electronic portfolios. This appears to be because of the lack of Web 2.0 functionality in the electronic portfolio software, and the lack of Web 2.0 knowledge in those implementing the electronic portfolios in the healthcare courses. This impact of limited processes and artefacts, and failure to use the potential of the Internet and Web 2.0 has a negative impact on the students’ abilities to socially construct their knowledge within electronic portfolios. Recommendations are made that future research identifies additional developments in software and hardware that can increase the socially constructive processes and artefacts that are incorporated into electronic portfolios. These developments must be done by consulting student users, software developers, educational technicians and academics. Finally, recommendations are made that the theory generated in the research is applied to larger samples across a wider range of healthcare student professions. The ongoing research will ensure that the theory continues to respond to ongoing hardware and software developments within the socio-historical and socio-technical student environment.
Supervisor: Gibbs, Graham ; Hargreaves, Janet Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; R Medicine (General)