Transitions, opportunities, and change

This past Monday I started my new job. I’m working at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in the area of ePortfolio and online learning support. The institution is carrying out a massive reform of their general education program and creating a more structured ‘University Studies’ program. This new program has a number of distinctive features and one of these is a move to ePortfolio based assessment for the courses and whole program. The use of ePortfolios in majors and minors is under consideration as well (some departments already use portfolio-based approaches). There’s been a lot of work planning the general education reform and  the wider role of ePortfolios in the institution and how they can relate to assessment and accreditation from an institutional perspective. The new program rolls out institution wide Fall 2013 for incoming students.

I’ve the opportunity to work in the learning technologies team at UWO and be the ePortfolio guy balancing and bridging between pedagogy, technology, and institutional process to help make this vision happen. Through the interview process and my first week I’ve been struck by the degree of top down and bottom up support there is for this initiative and am grateful for the welcome I’ve received from the colleagues I’ll be working with in all of those areas.

The wider UW system of universities uses Desire 2 Learn as their LMS and ePortfolio platform, so the system selection aspect of things is done and in many ways my work is highly implementation orientated, though I suspect there might be one or two development type questions and aspects to the work to explore in time and I’m really excited by the opportunity.

I’m not going to talk a lot about the past six of months of immigration, job-hunting, and how consuming the job-hunting process gets, but I wanted to thank all the folks I’ve talked to along the way and who passed on job leads, advice, and encouragement. I hope to be able to catch up with you all in some form in the not too distant future.

Two further notes:

  • I’m likely to run a specific and locally-focused communication blog for the implementation project so this blog is likely to be more distinct from that, hopefully more reflective, and will be more of an extra-curricular activity.
  • Many of you know me from my work supporting OER. I technically no longer have any particular formal remit around open and I have plenty to do, but open is also how I try to work and a major issue in ed tech. So, I’ll get settled, get on with my job, see how it develops, and work on those OER ninja skills…
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