Lifelong Oral Health e-Portfolio

This project developed and implemented an e-Portfolio that students could use for recording both student and professional education and learning. The aim was that the e-Portfolio could be used for meeting the ongoing annual practicing certificate competency requirements of the Dental Council.

Oral Health Portfolio

Who was involved?

The Dental expertise came from Rosemary Kardos, Jennifer Cook, and Tom Kardos of the Department of Oral Sciences, School of Dentistry; and Russell Butson from the Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC) provided the technology expertise.

Why did I / We develop this piece of eLearning?

In 2004 the full effects of the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (2003) (HPCAA) came into force. One of the effects of the HPCAA was to require the Dental Council to establish a method of ongoing competency assessment for dental practitioners, linked to their annual practicing certificate. The method chosen by the Dental Council was the presentation of a portfolio of practice.

The Department of Oral Sciences sought to introduce the concept and practice of a professional portfolio into the undergraduate training using a structure that could integrate with post-graduate professional practice and meet the Dental Council portfolio requirements, thus inculcating a life-long approach to portfolio development and maintenance.
The Department also made the e-Portfolio package available to the Dental Council registered staff to develop and maintain their professional portfolio.

The Challenges:

Finding that students were not as digitally literate as had been assumed and were not transferring, or not able to transfer, their familiarity with social networks to the ePortfolio activity.

Finding that students and staff were not as skilled or interested in engaging with reflective writing as had been assumed. Both groups were able to record descriptions of practice events and activities, but very few were engaged with recording their reflections and learning from their practice activities.

Tools / Resources used in this initiative:

The Sakai learning environment was used as the base for the ePortfolio with modifications to meet the specific needs of the Dental practitioners.

A University of Otago CALT grant funded the project.

See screenshots of the ePortfolio structure and forms here:

Publications and Other information about this project can be found here:

Kardos RL, Cook JM, Butson RJ, Kardos TB. The development of an e-Portfolio for lifelong reflective learning and auditable professional certification. European Journal of Dental Education 13(3):135-141 (2009). Get PDF via University Library.

Butson R, Cook JM, Kardos R. The Oral Health e-Portfolio: A three-year project. In The Learning Portfolio. Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning (2nd ed). Zubizarreta J. (Ed.) San Francisco, Jossey-Bass pp 97–108 (2009). Get the e-book from the University Library

Want to know more about this project?

Email Russell Butson (russell.butson at in HEDC, or Tom Kardos (tom.kardos at in the Department of Oral Sciences, School of Dentistry.

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