D2L Fusion 2013: ePortfolios

Boston Skyline

Below are the highlights of my notes from the ePortfolio sessions at Desire2Learn Fusion 2013.

My top three ‘resonances’:

  • Program/ degree level portfolios are messy to work. One approach in D2L is to set up a parallel non-credit course for the whole degree.
  • The importance of exemplar ePortfolio use by faculty and peer interaction around ePortfolios
  • Seeing others reinforce the need to use the dropbox to get certified/ fixed copies of ePortfolio work.

In more detail:

Steven Chan & Bridget Levac

ePortfolio types: competency <-> learning <-> showcase

ePortfolio progression: direct-> document-> demonstrate-> continue (into lifelong learning).

Setting up an eP-based course decisions:

  • what competencies?
  • what evidence?
  • what frequency of assessment?
  • what style?
  • what support and guidance?

Guidance is likely to include: how to reflect, what evidence is needed, how to capture and present evidence, how to track progess.

A need to plan how student ePortfolios deal with “negative stuff”. For example, clinical evaluations are a required part of some ePortfolios but they may not always go well. This discussion hinted at the tension between competency and showcase portfolios and between the portfolio as student-owned locus of reflective self-directed learning and the portfolio as instiutional-owned integrative vehicle for required assessment.

Memorial U, Greenville College, CAVFLO

Memorial University – Reflective Practice in Teacher Education programs

  • students questioned the value of an ePortfolio when instructor didn’t use it themselves for professional development and correspondingly saw the value when instructors used it.
  • formative and summative ePortfolio activities and requirements. The balance of highly structured & unstructured reflection activity can shift as students develop skills and awareness.
  • pitfall of ePortfolio as just capstone tool. If students don’t look at the tool until the last 2 weeks their effort will be in cramming the tool not in using it effectively. In order to address this start use of ePortfolio earlier (formative or low stakes – do little things in eP so students get to know tool).

Greenville College:

  • Assessment of student portfolio 2yr cycle; faculty 5 yr cycle; departmental 7 yr cycle

CAVFLO- Virtual learning consortium of the French school boards (in Ontario)

  • Peer feedback process and giving students a rubric made a marked improvement in quality of work & reduced marking time.
  • Looking at training with eP – found that training videos / screen capture was able to keep current & sustainable

Deakin University. Introducing ePortfolio into IT studies degrees.

Jo Smisson:
Many 1st yr IT students don’t have a career path, they are often attracted by video game experience and often erratic with electives. They focus on single assessments and maybe think about course outcomes but they’re not thinking about degree program outcomes.

ePortfolio development had initial enthusiastic early adopters made a successful pilot but there was a lack of tie to learning outcomes. Post-pilot Deakin moved to whole degree ePortfolios with an explicit tie to learning outcomes to develop a holistic view of studies & competencies. The ePortfolio became mandatory in IT degree.

Faculty shifts were:

  • making connections with academic & digital literacies
  • course now in context of degree
  • getting used to significant use of Dropbox to create a snapshot/ certified artifacts. (Students upload original &copy with feedback)
  • feedback public (at student’s discretion)
  • Additional complexity
  • shifts for students were:
  • education about degree learning outcomes; information & instructions everywhere+ tie to assessments

Challenges for students were:

  • complexity,
  • not reading instructions,
  • reflective practice

Set up stuff:

  • mandating assessment content to Dropbox via ePortfolio (but loses Turnitin)
  • reflective practice resources & outcomes being developed institutionally;
  • degree program has own d2l course as well.

Deakin U has been extensively online for 10 years; this has been their starting point

Other stuff

  • iOS ePortfolio app coming in the fall ! hurray.
  • ePortfolio is our main social learning product at D2L – ok, but I’m hoping this isn’t at the expense of developing integration with the LMS.
  • Valence has some api links for D2L ePortfolio others will follow
  • McMaster’s development of an ePortfolio program – example template
  • I’m impressed by how much Steven and Bridget are explicitly engaging with the educational research into ePortfolios.

There’s a fuller version of this as a storify of the ePortfolio sessions and conversations but it seems that the only way to embed that in the blog is to login and seemingly give Storify my password for WordPress (rather than authorize, pass credentials, etc.) ick.


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