ePortfolios: May 31-June 13, 2010

Focus Questions for the first week...

Focus Questions for the first week...

by Catherine Paul -
Number of replies: 27
Hello everyone,
To begin our conversation we'd like to focus on the following questions:

1. How are you using portfolios or eportfolios in your teaching?

2. What do program portfolios mean to you? How do you use them and/or what is your interest in them?

3. What are some of the benefits and challenges of using program portfolios?

4. How does your institution (if relevant) currently use program portfolios? What level of support is there for program portfolios?

Our web conference tomorrow will look more closely at two examples of eportfolios used in programs here at UBC (in Education and Nursing). We look forward to hearing about your experiences both in this discussion area and during the web conference.
Cheerio,
Catherine

( Edited by Sylvia Currie - original submission Monday, 31 May 2010, 11:48 AM Removed some MSO code )

In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by David Brear -
Catherine, in answer to your questions:

I started using the concept of ePortfolios with my Grade 2/3 class in 1997-98. We called it " My Year in Review". The students through a HyperStudio stack template that I created with their input, filled in the template talking about their school work, including scanned art work, journal entries and their voice recordings of a reading of their choice. Each student in each was sent home with their "Year in Review" on a disc with an IBM or Mac HyperStudio driver.

I used the idea again with my Grade 8's at Banting Middle School from 2000 - 2006. This time we used HyperStudio, iMovie and the Web page design to talk about their year.

I brought the concept to a course I taught at UBC in the Summer of 2004. Here is an example of what one student created for the course, Kevin McIntyre's Digital Portfolio, from UBC EDUC 490A, Summer, 2004, with permission.

I created an ePortfolio resource site in the Spring of 2005. You can take a look at "Developing Student Electronic Portfolios". I hope you find the information interesting and relevant.

The reason the above happened was that it was my belief then that my students would be creating electronic portfolios for university and job applications today. I feel I am right.

It is exciting to be able to share today what I was doing a few years ago. We are in an exciting age and I hope we will see the day when each child entering school will create a living portfolio that will grow with them as they continue their journey through school, university and into the work place.

Dave Brear
In reply to David Brear

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Catherine Paul -
Hi Dave,
Thanks for sharing so many resources about ePortfolios and your own experiences of using them in your teaching! What did you find most beneficial about using ePortfolios in your teaching?

I hope you can join us for the web conference tomorrow so you can see more about how Education at UBC has continued with the concept of ePortfolios.

I'll be perusing your resource list for a while!

Cheers,
Catherine
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by David Brear -
What I found most beneficial about using ePortfolios in my teaching was mainly getting to know my students better. I learned more about them and what was important to them. Their enthusiasm to share was contagious. Other students took interest in what others were doing. It was overall, a very positive experience.

I hope you find the resource I compiled interesting and beneficial,

Dave
In reply to David Brear

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers -
Dear Dave,
Thanks for sharing your inspiring eportfolio ideas and examples.

I am presently not teaching, but teach on contract and am doing a course re-write instead at the present time -- and I am a full time clinical psychologist in private practice.

In one of my GDDET courses with AU a couple of years ago, the students had to prepare an e-portfolio. The professors commented that they were all good -- and all very different. We had been directed to a site that gave some information on how to construct an e-portfolio, but really I think if I had had Dave's example -- I would have been clearer about what I might have focused upon. I really enjoyed doing it but as I am established in a career -- my interest is more about how to make an "excellent example" for students that I am likely to influence in the future -- including my son who starts university in the fall.

I like the idea of breaking up the e-portfolio into topic areas -- that can be easily labelled and accessed.

I'm looking forward to the Elluminate session today -- although I may be a few minutes late getting logged on as I have a client til 2:00 MST. Hope to hear more ideas to help me develop an effective example for future teaching.

Jo Ann


I hope to use the
In reply to David Brear

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Michael Griffith -
David you echo my own sentiments exactly, but with large groups I have been having difficulty keeping abreast with what everyone is doing. The way I have set up their ePortfolio work, is that students during the semester keep a weekly Literature Blog. In this they write creatively, critically -as they feel- and also develop a network of contacts within the group (typically the group is around 60-100 students). At the end of the semester they use this literature journal as the resource out of which they build a summative ePortfolio in which they critically evaluate their work over the semester. It is very labour intensive to be there, with them during this whole process and what I am finding as we speak is that I will really engage with them now at the end of the course as I mark their final ePortfolio. I am looking for a solution to this problem- the problem of how to manage large groups using this kind of teaching/learning activity. Thank you for your input.
Michael
In reply to David Brear

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Hi Dave,

Thank you for sharing the incredible work you did. I have never prepared my EFL high school students to develop electronic portfolios, but I plan to do it next year.

Warm wishes,
Nellie Deutsch
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by David Brear -
Nellie, thanks !! I enjoy sharing what I do. Your students will enjoy creating their own ePortfolios. Take care,

Dave

PS You might want to take a look at Mahara Eportfolio system from New Zealand. Here is a link for an Elluminate session, June 2nd.
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Derek Chirnside -
I'll probably just be a lurker here. I am an ePortfolio agnostic. It seems to me the concept is very simple, but the practice has been difficult.
It seems to be that we have at least three issues:
  1. Cheap
  2. Easy to use (from admin and user perspective)
  3. Does the job well enough to be useful
At present, it seems we can pick two.
[I am ignoring the issue of portability, longevity etc]

Be that as it may, my interest in in the health sector, managing records of workplace learning. What could be simpler?
-Derek
In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Catherine Paul -
Hi Derek,
Lurking and ePortfolio agnosticism is totally welcome! It's great to have you with us.

Managing records of workplace learning in the health sector is definitely a challenge. Can you share more about what you've tried?

The web conference tomorrow will touch on using ePortfolios in the Nursing program at UBC, you might want to check it out!

Cheers,
Catherine
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Derek Chirnside -
Catherine, I should have been more specific.
I wrote,

my interest in in the health sector, managing records of workplace learning. What could be simpler?

This is a new thing for me. I've just left my old role and have a part time contract to help with this, and I probably am not ready to speak public-ally much. I first got involved a little several years ago with a small project on re-certification, and changes in standards. But it didn't really go anywhere. In recent work in a similar health field in 2008 we came up against the attitude from several bosses "Why do these people (on my staff) need e-mail addresses for their courses - can't they just use mine?" and "We can save time by people doing things at home on the internet rather than in work time"
Now, I have relatively clean slate for this latest project. Embryonic stages.

My actual experience has been mainly in Teachers education, both here and with a number of international small groups studying here for workshops where there has been a strong focus on reflective practice.
Loved it. But I remain with the feeling we are in very very shallow waters, and not tapping much potential yet.
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Chrys Dean -

1. How are you using portfolios or eportfolios in your teaching?

I myself am not teaching at the moment, but I work with university faculty to create and support portfolios for academic programs. This is a pilot project at the moment.

2. What do program portfolios mean to you? How do you use them and/or what is your interest in them?

We use them in various ways, but one most important component is to assess the goals of the program. In one case, the goals of the program were used directly to create the sections of the portfolio, so that program effectiveness could be measured. In several others, professional standards from the students' field were used to measure how students are measuring up as they finish the program.

3. What are some of the benefits and challenges of using program portfolios?

Benefits include the ability for the program faculty to see their strengths and weaknesses through student work. Another benefit is accumulation of material for accreditation purposes. For students, having a central online place to keep and share best work is far more convenient that carrying a huge 3-ring binder or other hard copy.

4. How does your institution (if relevant) currently use program portfolios? What level of support is there for program portfolios?

Some programs make extensive use of portfolios, particularly in fields like Education and Art. Their format has varied greatly over the years, but we are piloting using eportfolios to make student creation and faculty assessment easier and more effective.

In reply to Chrys Dean

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Catherine Paul -
Hi Chrys,

Thanks for sharing the details about the pilot project you're part of!

Can you elaborate on how you're measuring program effectiveness? What kind of feedback to students receive on their work?

The Teacher Education eportfolio project here at UBC has been using ePortfolios to show how the program is meeting the British Columbia College of Teacher's Professional Standards:

http://efolio.educ.ubc.ca/resources/standards-for-the-education-competence-and-professional-conduct-of-educators-in-bc/

These are some examples of eportfolios created by students:
http://efolio.educ.ubc.ca/resources/examples-eportfolios/

Cheers,
Catherine
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Michael Griffith -
Hi Catherine.
I have been using ePortfolios in my literature teaching at Australian Catholic University. They have been something of an experiment. I have - with some success- had students doing a weekly Literature Journal Blog (using LiveJournal... and now WordPress). I have sought to find a way of getting students to capitalize on this work by drawing it together into an ePortfolio which is a kind of critical assessment of their blogging work and a showcasing of the best of their work. I am not entirely happy with the way it is working to date. Students do not seem sufficiently motivated to feel that the ePortfolio is a really creative challenge upskilling their digital abilities. Part of the problem is to do with the fact that there does not seem to be a clear enough demarcation between their blogging work and their eportfolio work. I am actually marking their ePorfolios in the next week (all 150 of them!!!) so I will be better placed then to talk about outcomes. I will also be very happy to share the actual ePortfolio task as I gave it to students. Maybe someone has a comment on the value of what I have asked them to do.
Here is the task for my second year Nineteenth Century Literature Students (at Australian Catholic University). This task is underpinned by their first task which was keeping a weekly literature journal (for their creative and critical work- I do have all the documentation for that - but I wont' overload anyone just now):
WordPress ePortfolio
(based on your weekly WordPress Literature Journal)
Due Date: May 28th
Total Word Length: 1250 Words
Task:
Utilizing the resources (critical and creative) that you have built up in your Literature Journal during the semester, respond to the following question:
How has the literature of the Nineteenth Century broadened my understanding of the ways in which works of the creative imagination can illuminate the needs of the human spirit?
Instructions:
Your answer must be constructed as a number of ePortfolio page sections under 6 core headings; all page sections must be clearly linked with appropriate navigation tools; you may enhance your ePortfolio with visual and other media as appropriate; you may add additional headings appropriate to your approach to the subject. The 6 core headings are:
a. Introduction to the question being addressed and to the organization of the ePortfolio
b. Creative work: Evaluative Summary* (You can make hyperlinks to as many Literature Journal entries as you wish, but you cannot include actual quotes from your Literature Journal as part of your word count)
c. Critical work: Evaluative Summary (You can make hyperlinks to as many Critical Journal entries as you wish, but you cannot include actual quotes from your Literature Journal as part of your word count)
d. Dated comments by you and by others: Evaluative Summary (all URL links for comments must be provided)
e. Visits to Cultural Venues Related to the Study of Nineteenth Century Literature: Evaluative Summary
f. Significant Web Resources for the Study of Nineteenth Century Literature: (each resources must be annotated by a brief description of one or two sentences that gives your reader a clear sense of the benefit of utilizing this resource)
*An Evaluative Summary is a summary of the work you have done in this area together with an evaluation of how it has broadened your understanding in relation to the question set down in the “Task” above.
Assessment Criteria
Precision, clarity and cohesiveness of your Introduction. This is your opportunity to introduce the best of what you have learned, done and thought about during the unit.
Organization of your e-Portfolio. Ideas, examples and illustrations need to be in a logical order. Links to all items and pages need to be effectively presented.
Expressive use of language. This applies all aspects of your writing.
Effective visual layout and presentation. Your work as a whole should be inviting for your reader/viewer.
*Every idea should be supported by /or illustrated with examples from your work during the semester.
*Thorough editing and referencing of all items. Your Writing Skills Handbook will inform you of what is required here. Use MLA referencing as presented in sections 4g and 4h.
In reply to Michael Griffith

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Catherine Paul -
Hi Michael,
Wow! You've got a lot happening with this project.

As you dive into evaluating these portfolios we'd love to hear how you're going about it. Are you using a rubric or another assessment tool?

Good luck with all the marking!

Cheers,
Catherine
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Michael Griffith -
Thanks for the question Catherine. I will be creating a rubric based on the Assessment Criteria listed in my last post. I will hand this back (digitally) to students as I grade their work.
Michael
In reply to Catherine Paul

Using e-portfolios

by Alice MacGillivray -
I'm just dropping in so if I miss a comment or response, apologies in advance.

I find the line between e-portfolios and e-journals is blurred, especially if assessing by competency or learning outcome. I tend to use reflective journals a lot with graduate students, and encourage (or require) some comments from peers.

My first exposure to an e-portfolio kind of process was when I did my first MA in the 90s. We had reasonably open portfolios with options for certain faculty and invited learner colleagues to post (in relation to learning outcome-related work). I thought it was great and there was a lot of enthusiasm about the process, but I believe the university dropped it many years ago.

Alice
In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Nicholas Bowskill -
One other question: WHY portfolios? electronic or otherwise I haven't seen anything to convince me of the *need* for them in genuine learning terms. There are other ways of supporting or being reflective.

And what is understood here by the term 'reflection'? On what? By whom? For what purpose? For whose benefit? How often? With whom?

This looks remarkably like a corporate rather than a learning agenda if these things are not discussed critically.

So, are e-portfolios the global burger outlet of education - consistent, cost-effective, 'quality' in its own context, accessible anywhere, a good business, sometimes enjoyable - but ultimately rather less than healthy and less nourishing for those being served?


Nick Bowskill
Faculty of Education
University of Glasgow
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Asif Devji -
Hi Nick,

Great questions -- I like your critical spirit.

Here's my context: Language instruction with learners in classes coming from various working contexts attempting to hone workplace-language skills.

Problem: a pre-packed one-size-fits-all course will not do, as each learner needs to focus on their own context-based needs.

Potential solution: learning plan negotiated with each learner individually and collaboratively as a group in which both individual and group learning needs/objectives are identified and worked on. This means that while the group is moving forward with collective learning objectives, each individual is managing their individual learning objectives (with feedback from peers & prof).

Issues: evaluation -- with different things going on for different learners, how does one evaluate systematically?

Potential solution: e-portfolios per student, within which both group & individual learning objectives are managed and produced work displayed -- open to all peers & the prof. Portfolio-based assessment could then be done at key milestones during the course.

Still working on exactly how this assessment might be done, however...

In any case, the e-portfolios would then be more about presentation of work produced rather than/in addition to reflection on the process itself.

Of course, I can't completely pull the corporate out of the equation (they are the clients, after all), but I can try to shift the pedagogy to meet both workplace and learner needs.

Asif
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Michael Griffith -
HI Nicholas, I think for me the most important aspect of using the new technologies in assessment (Blogging/ ePortfolios) is that in the best situations- that is where one has adequate time to be engaged WITH the students- digital writing space is a space where they can share their knowledge, be engaged with each other, have an immediate audience and really break down the barriers of isolation that traditional approaches to academic study have fostered. I have seen some of my own students grow immensely in their self confidence, creative and critical capacities. Many of the better students (mine are doing either BAs or BEds) have gone on to bring their teaching in schools to life through their grasp of the new technology and its immense creative possibilities.
I see digital "writing" as an extraordinary creative palate, where words, images, sound and all kinds of interactivity can be mixed. Some students thrive in this environment and turn their learning into something '"rich and rare".
Michael
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Important questions, Nick

by Alice MacGillivray -
I'm only jumping in because you don't seem to have many responses.

I don't think there are single answers for these. To me, they all depend on content and context.

Where I found e-portfolios most useful was to help document things that cannot easily be seen. As examples:
- if f2f assignments requiring reflection have been done independently and privately, the portfolio is a place to document reflections
- if assessment has to do with interactions with others, the learner and peers can document something to do with those interactions, which would not necessarily have been observed by the formal assessor
- if assessment has to do with application of concepts in workplaces, an e-portfolio can contain learners' reflections on that experience and any comments that their colleagues choose to pass along for inclusion.

I've heard that e-portfolios have been very helpful for learners looking back on their learning and making decisions about next steps with education and careers.
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Derek Chirnside -

Nicholas Bowskill wrote,

WHY portfolios?

One suggested reason: easy to grade, you can do it in front of the TV. Just have a rubric and the humungous folders containing the stuff. Hey, you don't even have to read it all. cool

-Derek
(Don't take this reply seriously)

In reply to Catherine Paul

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Julia Hengstler -
I'm from the Vancouver Island University Faculty of Education and we are working to integrate our eportfolio thread across the programs as embedded elements.

Eportfolios are used as "capstones" for program completion--built across the students' time in the specific program. We also use them for meeting the Attainment of Standards Reporting required by BC College of teachers. So from that aspect, it's a credentialing portfolio as well.

We have been searching for a tool to support this multiple use of eportfolios--development via course work throughout programs, integrating that work for presentation as a capstone and credentialing. This year we will be doing a pilot project with Mahara. The beauty of this system is its flexibility that will also allow students to create "employment", "research", etc. portfolios that can be shared publicly, with individuals, or anywhere in between. We also have the need to export and archive data for BC College of Teachers--which this system does well.

I am an Educational Technologist & Instructor in the faculty with a multifaceted roll of supporting the back-end administration, working with faculty to develop templates (our Special Education Master's program will also be using eportfolios this fall), training students and faculty on the system and liaising with our other IT-type departments to support this project.

In reply to Julia Hengstler

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Meg Goodine -
Hi Julia

Would love to hear more about your Mahara pilot and compare notes. Will you be at the ETUG workshop next week? If so, let's touch base.

Meg
In reply to Meg Goodine

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Mary Burgess -

Hi Julia and Meg - we at Royal Roads are also looking at Mahara - we had a fantastic demo from Brent Lee awhile back to see what you guys are doing at VIU, which looked great to us, and really induced us to install it and get playing. Terri Bateman (who is leading our Mahara charge) and I will both be at ETUG, it would be really great if we could all connect!

Mary

In reply to Mary Burgess

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Meg Goodine -
Sounds like an excellent cocktail hour discussion!
In reply to Meg Goodine

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Sylvia Currie -
For anyone outside of British Columbia wondering what ETUG is...

Educational Technology Users Group is a community of BC post-secondary educational practitioners. There is a 2-day spring workshop happening at the University of Victoria June 7-8, and several of the participants in this discussion will be there. If we gather together for a discussion about portfolios I'll be sure to have my video camera handy and take notes!


In reply to Mary Burgess

Re: Focus Questions for the first week...

by Julia Hengstler -
Sorry, I'm not there this week--working in the office on several roll-outs. My colleague, Mary O'Neill is there, though, I think. If you don't connect with her, just email me directly Julia.Hengstler@viu.ca.

We need to hammer out what we need to see from our various perspectives--capstone, ASR (Attainment of Standards Reports for BC College of Teachers)--that will drive the Mahara view templates. Do you have experience with using Groups vs. Communities? Maybe we could create a Mahara thread.