Dublin City University (2017) DCU launches new online learning portfolio to enhance student employability 24 May

I have been neglecting my blog because I have been really busy with two major projects: a national survey of online and distance education in Canadian post-secondary education; and Contact North’s Pockets of Innovation.

However I came across this news item from Dublin City University, Ireland, which I though was well worth a mention. 

DCU has … launched an online tool [called Reflect] which will allow its students to create a ‘virtual portfolio’ of their academic, professional and personal achievements.  The new platform will provide a lifelong support to DCU students in securing meaningful employment on graduation and remaining employable for the rest of their careers….. 

It is centred around the 6 key graduate attributes (Creative & Enterprising, Solution-Oriented, Effective Communicators, Globally Engaged, Active Leaders, Committed to Continuous Learning) DCU has identified in partnership with employers as being critical to future employability. 

You can get a very brief idea of what the Reflect platform looks like in this video of the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMznIkTPUIc&feature=youtu.be


I will be very interested to see how employers take to this use of e-portfolios. It appears that DCU has gone to some length to consult with employers before launching the platform.

If this is successful, it could really shake up the higher education system of assessment. As an employer I think I would be more impressed with an e-portfolio than a transcript of courses and grades, although of course the two can be used together.

Do you know of any similar use of e-portfolios by post-secondary institutions in North America? And if so, how are they working out?


  1. Actually, most universities see their role principally as providing tertiary education to their students, not acting as social workers. The best way to get a job is to get a relevant degree from a university that is trusted for its educational standards

  2. I honestly think that this is another layer to finding a job which could easily be discovered during the recruitment phase.

    More and more is being asked of employees. It is now not enough to have a degree or even two or more degrees. You must now have several related skills and abilities which are additional to the main crux of the role. In other words employers expect so much more from an employee now than before.

    As most employers in Ireland ask for at least three years experience plus extra skills to add value in there eyes and tick boxes off to fit the robotic match they require it is becoming more and more difficult to “fit” into the image of the ideal employee which the employer has.

    A portfolio such as the DCU format is done by all universities these days – each student has a portfolio or reflexive learning journal written up, they just don’t publish it. It is nothing new as such.

    The constant demands of employers to employ the “perfect” employee has grown exponentially since the recession in Ireland it is becoming impossible to meet the excessive aspirations of some employers.

    The key issue is training and in Ireland, companies often say training costs too much money. We spend less than 4% of GDP training staff. This shows how little employers really want to invest in their employees anyway wanting them to rock up fully trained (usually from working abroad) so they will have less investment in their employees overall or have already paid for their own training as the likes of Ryanair have done.

    So all in all, the attitude of many employers is the more it costs to train you in, the less they want to engage or employ you anyway!


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