Creating opportunities for student self-reflection on the development of graduate capabilities in a large first year molecular biology subject

Kuit T and Skropeta D

University of Wollongong.

Every university aims to develop graduates that are highly sought after by industry. Programs of study aim for graduates to achieve a set of core learning outcomes that develop key skills such as communication and teamwork. These are often referred to as graduate capabilities. These skills are then typically demonstrated to employees through selection criteria. Currently, at UOW science undergraduate students have little opportunity to engage in self-reflection, which is key to effectively meeting these criteria. One way to effect this change is to encourage student e-Portfolio development and maintenance. E-Portfolios are a collection of digital evidence that validates learning and development through a process of self-reflection. This enhances the meaning of students’ work and encourages insight and higher learning. Thus, a peer-assessed e-Portfolio component was designed and successfully implemented in a molecular biology subject to a large cohort of first-year science students (700+) with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. We successfully introduced the necessary skill foundations to students who inturn gained a greater understanding into their own learning, particularly through the guided peer review process. In this presentation I will share the outcomes of this project and key lessons learnt along the way with a chance for discussion on how others are supporting students to evidence the development of graduate capabilities.