THIS POST GREW AND GREW LIKE TOPSY AS I WROTE
I've approached the notion of eportfolios very simply. At it's most basic, the main items with eportfolio creation to add 'evidence' to a course for course completion/assessment are:
- Content - a document, some writing, an image, a movie clip
- Commentary on the content.
Examples of content + commentary1. In the nursing scene, it is a requirement here in NZ to produce a report on a specific patient from birth to now, including mental health issues, involvement with alcohol and tobacco/other drugs, health history, family illnesses etc etc.
The written form to guide this is quite complex. So an e-portfolio 'entry' for this may be
- a note about the patient, why he/she was chosen, issues around the carrying out of the report etc
- the report itself
- Supporting reference material eg an audio/video recording, copy of a permitted file etc.
What to do with these content + commentary 'entities' and how to 'deliver'/'present' for various purposes?Having worked with a number of eportfolio systems, including Mahara and one we designed outselves, my current preference is a good blog - or a blog like entity.
My first rationale is ease of use.If we assume that particpants know about using mobile phones and e-mail then they have the concepts of texting, sending pictures via phone SMS, e-mail address, attachments, subject, body, editor, cc/bcc etc.
Four (new) blog concepts are needed:
- Blog Entry
One other skill that has been troublesome (still) is that of inserting a link. (One of the first literacies I check if any class I teach has 'got')
This then takes care of basic skills needed to begin to work.
Another is the size of images (on the HDD) vs the size of images on the page. Software can help this.
Practices to create e-portfolio KISS
The protoculs can be something like this:
- Each class assignment/activity has a tag
- Each course has a category
- Multiple part assignments or major assignments could have their own category.
- Students can add any other categories they like
Scenarios with a blog
Assessment (One off, summative):Lets say you have a major assignment for NUR101 Patient Report
1) Student tags the final items with something like "101 Patient Peport"
2) Assessor clicks on the category, all blog posts appear relevant to this assignment . .
3) Assessment begins. Could be printed out etc.
Note: the ONE major thing we have found a minor limitation is the printed order on the page. It is reverse chronological. However each post + associated items (tags, comments, files) is an entity at the code level and it would not be a big deal to produce a page in an alternative order: such as numerical/alphabetical by subject.
Assessment of long term project1) Student records activity in posts. Can be public or not.
2) Tutors comment when required.
3) Produce a final post to wrap things up
Interactive options - with other students.Teacher posts in All blogs an assignment. Can assign other blogs to post feedback on. Again, simple categories.
"This week, post a comment on topic with the category "Week 3 Topic". Next week, respond to those in your group with a comments"
Don't bother with a blog: Moodle wiki plus closed forum plus open forum
Other notes:In the College of Education teachers courses this enables the same work to go towards two assessments. Just assign more than one category. Why have to do a "rationale for lesson plans" or "Vygotsky overview" in every course?
Qualification blog (rather than course blog)Graduate attibutes are a big thing here in NZ. This scenario can lead to a pretty complex blog if it goes on for a while. But it seems to be OK at the moment. Stuff can have a life over a multi course qualification.
Technical notes.First we used out own blog/journal component inside our old home grown LMS. We tailored the CSS to get nice printouts using a minimum of paper. Wordpress (with posts and pages) would seem to be idea.
Stick some social networking stuff in if you really like with buddypress. http://buddypress.org/
Categories and subcategories can really help here. In Wordpress you can move all old categories for 2009 into 2009 sub categories to tody things up.
Ongoing, long term portfolio.We didn't move on to this very much.
A) Getting a job stuff: port folio/showcaseThe end result was simple websites, with material uploaded to suit.
The best quickest was when blog material was in the same server and a simple commentated page with links to material was created.
B) Ongoing (longer term) professional/personal reflectionAnother bigger topic. We have NOT done much here.
Staff development.Did not need a lot of help. The same skills of the students are needed, and not a lot else.
Einstein said: Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
This blog scenario is the simplest I can envisage at the moment.
Is it too simple?I admit this is a rather superficial approach to portfolios: it is reasonably pragmatic. No deep engagement, not high level of integration in terms of the tools, no complex views, no fine grained levels of visibliity and permissions, and no voting/SN tools.
However some of the work we have seen from students has been quite deep in the level of thought, personal reflection and creative thinking. While the tool is not complex, the actual outlput has been good. IMO Several aspects have contributed to this.
- Catching thinking on the fly is one. My impression is that little thoughtlets caught soon after the heat of a class were very valuable catalysts.
- Careful probing questions from a wise facilitator is another.
- The odd student who acts as a wonderful catalyst is another. These have been rare, but my impression is they are becoming more visible as we give the tools and the connections precedence.
Audience/visibilityI have not addressed the questions of visibility of blogs to the world. We actually has setting Class, LMS wide and world for our blogs, but we found firstly most never changed these. Next that our classes (sometimes 100+) were big enough to provide a sense of audience. A few had their own blogs and just kept their lives a little separate.
I'll add another post to respond to a few comments on eportfolio and blogs later. I tried the quote option and it crashed.