Revitalising the student experience

ePortfolio has arrived at Leeds and PebblePad – a flexible, adaptable, aesthetically-pleasing, student-friendly and pedagogically holistic resource – is poised to revitalise student experience.

PebblePad is a welcome addition to our digital education ecosystem

A student works on their laptop in a quiet corner of the Laidlaw Library. August 2020

Alongside new Learning Analytics data, PebblePad will contribute directly to a completely refreshed approach to academic personal tutoring at Leeds and help us to address awarding gaps, student retention and student success.

PebblePad comes with two core components – a personal learning space and an institutional assessment space, where multiple tasks can be submitted and marked.

The application of the resource’s functionality is virtually endless, and it will contribute to activities undertaken by both staff and students across professional and personal roles. For students, this holistic view will enhance their academic independence and surface vital links between different facets of their activities.

Professor Neil Morris, Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Digital Education, said: “PebblePad is a very welcome addition to our digital education ecosystem and will fulfil a wide range of needs from staff and students in the student education space.”

Multiple functions and benefits

PebblePad is a portfolio and personal learning platform, designed to help students in recording – and reflecting on – their academic, personal and professional development.

It will enable them to engage with tools and activities provided by their school, as well as build academic and social communities.

The platform is designed to be flexible, with potential applications ranging from community development and research projects to professional development, study abroad placements, work placements and beyond.

It will be integrated with key University systems, and will be available directly to all students and staff via Minerva.

PebblePad will also be used for online assessments and examinations during the 2020-21 academic year, providing a viable alternative to closed-book physical exams.

Support and training

The implementation team, led by Dr Ruth Payne, Associate Professor in Linguistics and Phonetics (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies), is developing joined-up understanding of PebblePad’s flexibility and functionality across the institution, including the move to house all academic personal tutoring activity in PebblePad from September 2021.

There are currently a number of mini-showcases that demonstrate a range of applications for this excellent resource, and preparation is fully underway for a February 2021 roll-out of new academic personal tutoring resources in four schools that are pioneering the use of PebblePad.

Bespoke training is being designed to walk all students and staff through the processes they need in order to fully immerse their academic personal tutoring in PebblePad from next September, and this is fully integrated with crucial data on student activity collected via Learning Analytics.

Dr Payne said: “In a world of multiple new platforms, this new ePortfolio joins us in 2020 like a digital hug.”

Digital development

PebblePad is the latest valuable addition to the collection of digital education tools and systems available to colleagues to support teaching and learning activities, including Padlet, Top Hat, Gradescope, Collaborate Ultra, Blackboard Ally, Minerva, Turnitin, Mediasite, Office 365 and LinkedIn Learning.

We also recently relaunched the Digital Practice Website to make it easier to navigate, with new content added to help academic and support staff find the resources, assistance and advice they need.

Further information

All staff and students can access PebblePad using their credentials.

Support materials for getting started with PebblePad are also available, and please complete the MS Form if you would like to explore using PebblePad to support learning and teaching activities.

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