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Capture your thinking

Explore a range of different online applications and tools in capturing your reflections.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
Before you start, let’s explore how to capture and reflect on your learning using an online portfolio and a personal learning log.

Your online portfolio

An online portfolio helps you to collect and showcase your work throughout your learning experience and is essential for formally recording your research, reflections and progress.

Get to know your tools

This program invites you to choose a third-party tool to build your portfolio. You’ll be asked to update it at set points throughout your study, so it’s important to understand how your chosen tool works.
There are a number of free portfolio tools available including PortfolioGen, PathBrite and FolioSpaces. These offer lots of functionality, including the ability to upload a variety of file types and multimedia, so it’s easy to capture and organise information effectively.

Your personal learning log

A learning log is a useful way of compiling your course notes, views and resources as you study. The aim is to regularly look back on what you have learned and articulate your thoughts and feelings about the experience.
Unlike the online portfolio, your learning log is informal and can be kept private. However, in the spirit of social learning, you’re encouraged to share as much of your work with your fellow learners as you feel comfortable.
You can record your log entries offline in a notebook or go digital with easy-to-use online tools (below) to build a more dynamic collection of resources and insight.

Build it with a blog

Blogging and journaling tools such as Blogger, Tumblr, Wix and WordPress can be updated regularly with text, images, videos, audio and more, so they’re ideal for keeping an engaging learning log.
You can usually choose to make blog posts public, keep them private, or share them only with select people. It’s a great way to develop your understanding and share your work week-by-week.
FutureLearn has even provided useful guidance on using blogging tools to support your reflective practice.

Take notes online

Online note-taking tools and apps act like digital notebooks, allowing you to edit, organise and share your notes flexibly.
They range in functionality from very simple tools, like Shrib, to those with more advanced features, like EverNote or Google Keep.
If you are a registered Coventry University student you will have access to Office 365 and you might like to explore using OneNote, which has a lot of additional functionality.
Some of these tools allow you to clip from websites, include images and collaborate with others to maintain a more comprehensive record of thoughts and information. How you use them is up to you.
Choosing and setting up an application for noting your reflections will enable you to share the contents of your portfolio with your lead educator and course hosts. This will support your assessment and feedback as you learn. It may also be used to provide evidence of a body of work to accrediting bodies that require ongoing proof of study. As such, it’s important that you keep it organised and up to date.
As a final note its always good practice as part of your personal development to either have an offline notebook to write up your reflections or to collate your thoughts in an online blogging platform. Whether you decide to update your portfolio on an ongoing basis or occasionally the choice is entirely up to you. You may find it easier to write up your responses and thoughts 2-3 times a week within your choice of note taking tool.

Your task

Take some time to explore the portfolio and learning log tools discussed above.
  • Do you have experience with these or others that may be useful?
  • Which will you be using and why?
Share your thoughts with your fellow learners.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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