Online Practice Assessment for Learning at Bournemouth University

OPALBU is the site used by all undergraduate students on health programmes at Bournemouth University who are required to create a portfolio of evidence of their professional practice.

The site is used by Nursing, Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Operating Department Practitioners, and Paramedics students. It’s also used by students on the Advanced Practice courses that the University delivers.

OPALBU student dashboard

OPALBU student dashboard

Comparing Paper Portfolios to Digital Portfolios

Prior to the development of OPALBU, the nursing team at Bournemouth University undertook research in which they compared digital and paper portfolios.

This research confirmed that the quality of the feedback which students received was significantly better when using a digital portfolio. The average word-count of final interviews more than doubled from approximately 68 words to 162 words. Additionally, 100% of interviews had comments from students and were accurately date and time stamped, compared to only around 32% of paper portfolios. Furthermore, 60% of mentors highlighted areas for future learning, compared to 24% when using paper documents. The areas highlighted were also more specific and directive. This suggests that both students and mentors find it easier to engage with digital portfolios than paper portfolios.