University Studies Program, ePortfolio labs, developer project all underway

Runners in Oshkosh Marathon UnderwayWe’re about a month or so from the end of the regular semester for the first courses offered in UWO’s new University  Studies Program. From my point of view things seem to be going well overall but it’s too soon to tell how well students adding stuff to their ePortfolios is going. My schedule is filling up with instructors wanting to tweak the details of their assignments or asking me to speak to classes. All the training and professional development which we ran last year and in August is coming to fruition as students begin to add work to their program portfolio. How this will finally go is still a bit of a mystery. I’ve presented to many instructors about the use of ePortfolios, I’ve had feedback from a few about how it’s working out in their courses, and I know some departments  have used our materials to offer their own training and support. However, the real test of how things are going will be a post-semester inventory of ePortfolio use.

September and October were also occupied with  recruiting and training student lab assistants to support an ePortfolio drop-in lab for students. They’re in place, trained, and waiting. As November progresses I’m hoping their lab hours will begin to get busy but, despite advertising the lab hours, the students have so far had lots of time to study. It’s been a new experience working with student employees and I’m very grateful to have them supporting their peer’s use of ePortfolio [as cross-cultural aside I’m also struck by how much students here tend to work alongside their studies].

Another fun dimension of student workers is that I’ve been able to hire a student developer for about eight hours a week. I’m working with with them to look into the available D2L api’s with an aim of developing a slightly better range of export functionality from our ePortfolio platform so that we can support student choice. We’re fortunate that one of our library developers has used the API to support a information literacy tool and game that integrates with D2L and get help us get oriented quickly.

I’m impressed by and grateful for D2L’s hosted MyDesire2Learn service but consider myself professionally obligated to work on ensuring students have a range of choices for their ePortfolio stuff after graduation (D2L supports export to html, export as D2L package for another D2L system and for MyDesire2Learn, I want to look into what else we might support).

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