The Barcelona Multiplier Event, scheduled as a part of the Blearn Autonomy project, took place in Barcelona on 1st July, organised by the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) on the premises of the Elisava Faculty of Design and Engineering in Barcelona. Some 40 people attended, 33 representing observer universities and higher education agencies from throughout Catalonia. This strictly regional event was conducted in Catalan, without streaming and translation services.
The keynote speech of Dr Joan-Tomàs Pujolà, “The potential of digital portfolios in university teaching”, focused on the concept, use and management of digital portfolios. Pujolà recommends the cross-curricular undergraduate or master’s degree portfolios, giving students freedom in the choice of tools and content. Portfolios naturally enhance the digital competences of both students and teachers. Among other aspects, Pujolà emphasised the potential of portfolios to harness visual metaphors, such as a shoe cupboard, to categorise and construct reflective discourse. Portfolios should serve to showcase the discursive and reflective dialogue of students.
Following on, Xavier Rambla, of the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, outlined the Blearn Autonomy project. its general framework and some preliminary results, including data that support the notion that students value the potential of digital tools for monitoring and evaluating learning.
Marcos Cánovas and Lucrecia Keim (UVic-UCC) presented the Mahara portfolio platform, which was used in the project to encourage exchange of teaching experiences between the participating institutions. Some examples of these resources were showcased and commented on. This platform will soon be opened up to attendees and others who are interested in continuing this dialogue and exchange about teaching experiences with portfolios and other tools that enhance feedback, autonomy and evaluation processes.
Finally, Richard Samson (UVic-UCC) chaired a discussion on the adoption of EdTech in higher education courses in general, from the point of view of students, teachers and institutions. This debate pointed to the need for further training in digital skills for both students and teachers, and the importance of cross-curricular approaches within degree courses.
The active participation of representatives from a variety of institutions created an opportunity for fruitful conversations and networking, which continued in the coffee and lunch breaks. Overall, the day fulfilled expectations and met objectives, such as communicating the activities of the BLearn Autonomy to representatives of regional higher education bodies, stimulating debate and collecting feedback from participants with a view to continuing activity in this field.