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How a student blog can prove its value

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Tasked with researching the use of eportfolios in education I can google it, or i can come here. Because I have been there already I come here first.

 

From JISC I have this:

 

Why use ePortfolios (JISC)


Engagement across time

The use of e-portfolios to store information relevant to learning helps students track their personal development across time.

A rich picture of learning

The use of e-portfolios can help students to build a rich and detailed picture of their learning. Written coursework can be stored in e-portfolios, but make full use of their digital potential. Videos, photographs and audio recordings can also help students to document a more complete image of their vocational educational experience.

Ask specific questions

Students can be prompted to reflect on their learning by being asked questions. Build this into the e-portfolio. You can ask students to detail: practical activities undertaken; the quality and accuracy of their work; their methods and formative tasks; their reflections on the learning process.    

Making feedback accessible

Storing feedback in one place allows students to reflect when they are ready to do so. For one thing, digital feedback is more difficult to lose than paper feed.

Track students’ development

E-portfolios allow teachers to track their students’ learning across time. Teachers are able to see how students are improving and identify students that require more help.   

Enhance department assessment

Teachers can provide evidence that their feedback was rigorous and helpful.  

Demonstrating achievement

Storing evidence of work in one place enables students to demonstrate their achievements to others. In particular, students finish the course with a single document detailing their educational journey and accomplishments to show to potential employers.      

Use familiar programmes

E-portfolios need to be accessible to students and teachers. Using software that students and teachers already feel comfortable with will help create a smooth transition and increase engagement.

Inclusive teaching

Dyslexic students are able to record their work in dyslexic-friendly formats.

Finding the right ePortfolio

Some Options
Below is a list of tools that can be used to collect, organize and share student work. Those that are free are marked with an asterisk (*).

Project Foundry
This tool organizes, tracks and shares learning in a project-based learning classroom. It includes standards-based grading tools and feedback tools. Teachers have the option to include a digital portfolio website for students.

Google Sites*
Create a website to share classwork and projects. Potential users must be at least 13 to sign up. Students can use the “file locker” option to upload files.

Wikispaces and PBwiki* [No longer exists]

These two wiki-creation tools allow students to create a website of their work. Due to the collaborative nature of the tools, student teams can build a workspace to showcase their work. The teacher can create student accounts without an email address. (Note: PBwiki is also known as PBworks.)

Dropbox
Students can create a public folder in Dropbox to share their work. This platform supports multiple file types and can be used collaboratively by sharing folders.

Evernote
Students can create “notebook” within their Evernote account for each class, and that notebook can be shared publicly. Students can upload files to their notebooks, including documents, photos and audio files.

eBackpack
Teachers can assign, collect, grade and return assignments to students through eBackpack. Students can upload files to their digital locker to create an online portfolio for their course. Work uploaded cannot be seen outside of the closed system.

 

OneFile

 

From 'Digital Arts': 15 best portfolio websites for designers and artists

 

Behance

Adobe Portfolio

Wix

Fabrik

FolioLink

Weebly

Viewbook

SmugMug

SquareSpace

Portfoliobox

Cargo

Format

Carbonmade

Moonfruit

Dribbble

 All of these and my direct experience is with:

Wordpress

Pebblepad

 

 

 

 

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What have I learnt? What do I need to reminding of? The blog review

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 07:08

This is the value of a comprehensive blog such as this - for its author at least.

My thoughts went into these posts. By going back through the content I can be reminded of the lessons I was learning or struggling with at the time.

It would help were I more strategic in my approach to learning - but that's not me. I like to dwell and drift. I don't know what matters so like to have it all at my fingertips.

Going through the eight OU modules I have completed is taking between one and three hours clicking through posts here. I can tap into TMAs and EMAs and feedback, much of which I have here too (on the private setting). It is revealing in two respects: how much I have covered and can now say that I know - I can speak 'E-learning' fluently; and how many links and references that I jotted down and have never gone back to - great apps, insightful papers, and moments of clarity.

To cover myself for a decade hence by which time this blog will have been wiped, I am copying, selectively, about 40% of the content of this blog into my external blog My Mind Bursts.  (tagged MMB here)

Having the MAODE is one thing. Calling myself and being a 'Master' of the subject needs to be the next step. Martin Weller believes it will take a person ten years to become a 'digital scholar' - I've got another five years to go then. 

Onwards

 

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memory

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014, 04:11

My starting point if I am to think threw what I understand, misunderstand and don't know about memory is to flick through this blog. What I get therefore are triggers into previous ideas, notes, articles and thoughts. These are of far greater worth than simply doing a Google search or using wikipedia as there is already some association here. By going back to these pages a multitude of catalysts and sparked into action in my brain. All I then have to do is synthesise my ideas and form a new, or refined view. 

Memory 55 tags
Life logging 3 tags
Forgetting 5 tags
Forgetting curve 1 tag
Sensecam 2 tags
Memory making 1 tag
Neuroscience 36 tags
OII (Oxford Internet Institute) 36 tags
Journal 36 tags
Ebbinghaus 7 posts
Qstream 7 posts
Kerfoot 7 posts
Dementia 1 post
Parkinsons 1 post

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What's the point of a portfolio? Whether online or at home in your desk?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 7 Feb 2013, 06:44

Balancing%2520two%2520faces%2520of%2520eportfolios.JPG

Fig. 1. The two faces of e-portfolios. Barrett (2010).

Think of an e-portfolio in terms of:

  • Workspace
  • Showcase
  • Specific academic fields
  • A Learning journey

Evidence (content):

  • Writing
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Research projects
  • Observations by mentors and peers
  • Reflective thinking

(Butler 2006, p. 2) My view is that these tasks, or affordances, are better and well managed by a blog. During 2010 while in my first year of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) not only were we encouraged to use the OU Student Blog platform, but we were also encourages to use the OU eportfolio MyStuff.

Rubbish%2520Shute.JPG

Fig. 2 Müllschlucker

I dutifully 'dumped' and labelled content, even sorted it in an effort to write assignment using this system. I would liken it to a Müllschlucker - a rubbish shoot in a tall appartment block (Isn't the German for it such a great word?)  - it made grabbing and dumping stuff easy. What was far harder was to sift through this content and create meaning from it  a a later date. It didn't have enough of me about it most of the time to trigger recollections. We got a warning that MyStuff would be killed off - I made a stab at sorting through what I'd put there, but like boxes of papers in a lock-up garage I was more relieved when it was over. I also tried a couple of external e-portfolio services: Peppblepad and Mahara for example. I tripped up quickly as the learning curve was too steep for me - and why duplicate what I was enjoying with WordPress?

I'm about to cook a lasagna, so why give me a pick-axe? Or, I want to make a toasted sandwich so why give me a MagiMix? All tools need to be carefully promoted, demonstrated then used in a sandpit with careful instruction and support. Basic scaffolding in other words.

"The overarching purpose of portfolios is to create a sense of personal ownership over one's accomplishments, because ownership engenders feelings of pride, responsibility, and dedication." (Paris and Ayres, 1994,p.10).

"The e-portfolio is the central _and common point for the student experience. It is a reflection of the student as a person undergoing continuous personal development, _not just a store of evidence." (Rebbeck, 2008) Process (a series of activities) Product (the end result of the process) Blogging and keeping an e-portfolio are synonymous

A web-log, or blog, is an online journal that encourages communication of ideas, and individual entries are usually displayed in reverse-chronological order. Barrett  (2010, p6)

Blogs provide an ideal tool to construct learning journals, as discussed by Crichton and Kopp (2008) from the University of Calgary, ‘... that eJournals help to make ePortfolios more authentic and relevant to the students’ lives.’

Workspace or Working Portfolio. Washington Stage University.

  • Or (digital) shoebox.
  • Presentation Portfolios, showcase or ‘showtime.’

John Dewey (1933) discusses both retrospective (for analysis of data) and prospective modes of reflection (for planning). Beck and Bear (2009) studied reflection in the teaching cycle, comparing how pre-service teachers rated the development of their reflection skills in both formative and summative e-folios. E-portfolio%2520based%2520learning%2520KOLB.JPG Fig. 3. JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC. (Page 11)

Reflection is the "heart and soul" of a portfolio, and is essential to brain-based learning (Kolb, 1984; Zull, 2002). Once we have looked back over our body of work, then we have an opportunity to look forward, setting a direction for future learning through goals... reflection in the future tense. Barrett  (2010, p3)

Blogs are organized in reverse chronological order; most showcase portfolios are organized thematically, around a set of learning goals, outcomes or standards. Both levels of reflection and organization are important, and require different strategies for supporting different levels of reflection.

REFERENCE

Barrett, H. (2010). Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 3(1), 6-14. [Online], Available online: http://eft.educom.pt (Accessed 29 SEPT 2010) http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/ (Accessed 4 NOV 2012) Updated version http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/Balancing2.htm (Accessed 4 NOV 2012)

Beck, R. & Bear, S. (2009) "Teacher's Self-Assessment of Reflection Skills as an Outcome of E-Folios" in Adamy & Milman (2009) Evaluating Electronic Portfolios in Teacher Education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishers.

Beetham, H. (2005) e-Portfolios in post-16 learning in the UK: Developments, issues and opportunities www.jisc.ac.uk/media/ documents/themes/elearning/eportfolioped.pdf Bruce, L (1994) Self-Assessment (Last accessed 4Nov2012) http://ozpk.tripod.com/000000selfassess

Butler, P (2006)  Review of the Literature on Portfolios and Eportfolios.  eCDF ePortfolio Project. Massey University College of Education. Palmerston North, New Zealand Crichton, S. and Kopp, G. (2008) "The Value of eJournals to Support ePortfolio Development for Assessment in Teacher Education." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York City, March 24–28, 2008.  An updated version of this paper was published by the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Innovations in Education, 2nd Edition, April 2011. Available online (PDF of book); Printable version of revised article: balancingarticle2.pdf

Dewey,J. (1933) How we think. How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. (1971 ed.). Chicago:Regnery

JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Paris, S., & Ayres, L. (1994). Becoming reflective students and teachers. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association. Rebbeck, G (2008) e-Learning Coordinator, Thanet College, quoted in JISC, 2008). Zull, J. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing

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Where is a blog is a blog, an e-portfolio, a wiki and forum? Right here!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:58

The Open University provide an OU Student Blog platform, which you are required to use for some modules to build up reflective practice, they also provide a portfolio called MyStuff in which to dump stuff.

As portfolios either system can be used to aggregate content that can be shared, offered with restricted access or kept private.

I have been on the Masters in Open & Distance Education for two years, we have to give blogs, potfolios, wikis and other tools a go.

My conclusion, shared amongst fellow students, is that the 'modern' blog platform, such as Wordpress offers all of this, as in a wonderfully simple, bulletin board kind of way the OU's own blog offering.

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Blog as e-portfolio

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I'm not going to impose on folk the many pages I have here that are tagged and titled like any other but left 'closed'. These pages are notes, sometime quotes or excerpts referenced for potential use. I use the blog as an e-portfolio having decided long ago that this space works perfectly adequately for the purpose having tried e-portfolios 'off the shelf'.
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Retrofitting prose with references, name dropping and blog stats

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 May 2014, 08:24

I consider it to be an expression of the progress that I am making that the first part of the TMA I have just written I completed in a straight three hour run with nothing more than a treatment in the form of a Venn Diagram doodled on a sheet of A3 to draw upon and the assignment title and defining outline pasted onto the top of the page on which I have been typing.

There are notes and figures and grabs all over the place.

I immersed myself in the topic last night when I keyed in 'learning' to MyStuff and found I had 463 assets to ponder. Though nearly discombobulated by the sluggishness of MyStuff I just about had enough in the titles and tags of the saved pieces to know if something was or was not worth reviewing. It was an interesting journey, not least that for me H808 is very much the second module, with H807 feeling like a foundation course before the real thing. And yet for some people I appreciate H808 is their first or even their last module towards the MA.

Talking of which, I registered for H800 in February 2011.

I feel I'm on a roll and don't want to take a break.

Between getting the kids into school and making a fresh pot of coffee the thought I had wanted to share here was the problem I potentially face with the essay I've just written. Previously I have used a list of referenced ideas and strung them together like fairy-lights to produce an essay that may not flow, or wrap well around itself well, but does the business. I fear if I now try to retrofit references and quotes that I may spoil it. On the other hand, this is the difference between writing a letter home and an academic paper.

My belief is that I know to whom I am referring when I use their ideas and dropping in their names and correcting any misquotes and incorrect expressions of their ideas will do the job.

On verra.

Another figure that I spied ... I've hit 10000 hits in my OU blog, which translates as 1000 per month. As we have no way to read the stats that underly these figures I can only make a conservative guess that 50-75% of all of this action is me. On the other hand, I do notice that I've been getting 25, then 50 and possibly 100 'hits' a day even when I've not blogged at all. Vanity or curiosity, or both.

Do emerge from the electronic woodwork please.

A comment is part of the collaborative process that is the essence of the full e-learning experience.

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Limitations to the use of an eportfolio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 27 Feb 2019, 14:59

What were the limitations to its implementation?

·Need to be tailored.

·Doesn’t suit all curricula.

A cultural shift and challenge.

·The role of the teacher changes to coach and facilitator of learning processes.

·The need for management to change – ‘a form of change management in which the university can work out its specific form of ‘Folio Thinking’.

·Teachers and students need to buy into it.

·A new, IT, commercial, business-like approach required. An approach requiring a blueprint for a study - an approach that is common practice in the IT world but not so much at this university.

·Teamwork and stakeholder involvement.

·Support by management is crucial.

·Different partners in the educational sector in the Netherlands establish links and develop initiatives beyond educational boundaries.

IT infrastructure must work unnoticed and without fail.

·Not an easy to implement. A technical challenge: how to create functional workflows in an integrated technical infrastructure?

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An embedded e-portfolio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 12:00

A decade ago creating a commercial website generally required you to buy in the services of a specialist agency; this was certainly the case 15 years ago. Gradually however businesses found they could do it themselves, indeed the development of internal and external communications was so integral to a company's activities that it had to be in some cases. An internationally successful TV production company used outside suppliers initially to build its website. However, as the creative drive for this site needed to be part of the business and as the site become a TV channel of sorts, it was necessary to bring control in-house.

1999-2002 was an interesting period as some organisations let their IT department go, not considering it one of their 'core activities,' while others brought the process in-house, sometimes buying up their web-agency for the purpose.

Creating a website, developing software, communications and business function merged. Specialist functions developed internally may have found a market elsewhere and products could be bought in 'off the shelf.'

If the functionality of the software and web-pages are integral to an institution's competitiveness and development it is understandable if some things they develop in-house, while others they buy in.

ITC is highly fluid, progressive, aggressive and organic. You want control of the beast. Do you have the personnel and department as part of your institution, or do you hire in the specialists? Or do you split your loyalties and commitments across several suppliers, buying products off the shelf? How do you achieve your goals? How do you control costs? How do you differentiate yourself from others if you're all shopping from the same place? And in education, where there is a political, ethical and moral inclination to want to do it all for free - how is it paid for?

In relation to recommending an e-portfolio set-up or package or system to an institution there are a myriad of deciding factors which could result in the valid choice being any one of:

  • develop our own using our thinking and skills
  • buy in the services of an agency to create a platform for us
  • purchase a ready-made product off the shelf
  • use Open Source and tailor it to our purposes
  • none of these - students, staff and any other potential e-portoflios bring their own, on their laptops or in their own space in the 'cloud.'

The latter happens whatever you provide.

As a result of using the OU's MyStuff and trying PebblePad, as well as reviewing the reviews of several other packages, whilst it is possible to recommend what a particular client's e-portfolio should be able to do - it is less easy without understanding the institution's financial position, commercial requirements, staff and student development, professional and academic needs and ambitions.

To what degree are people storing and collating material in a loose collection of files and platforms, some online, some off, some linked in to several folios, each with a different outlook.

Once we lived in a more linear world and we would logically take in then draw from the academic institutions where we studied and the places where we worked. To a significant degree, even if we possessed portfolios as physical entities containing art work or assignments, our achievements and potential were locked in our being ... our experiences, accreditations, behaviours and potential were entirely contained in our heads and enabled by our bodies. Increasingly it is the case that the sum total of our achievements, our record, our actions, can be collated, shared and given an existence beyond us. If we think of the ultimate eportfolio as 'the contents of our brains' in a cloud, like a geostationary satellite, forever 'out there' do we not begin to mutate and duplicate, especially if some, or many parts or all of this is shared?

Will we not, in a cyber-world of hundreds of millions, not only find like minds, but aggregate to think alike in some instances? Where then is the copyright and plagiarism? And here's a dilemma for the inventive or creative mind. Do you pool you thinking for others to exploit, share the process by which you draw your conclusions which may fast track another to a similar, different or better result?

I appreciate that I am drifting into la-la-land and the realms of science-fiction, that I am feeling my way, that I am letting my own stream of consciousness take me wherever it will. If this finds resonance with others, if others comment and build on this ... or reflect it, then it is as if those collection of neurones and synapses that are creating this are connecting beyond my being.

If there is commercial worth in 'the contents of my brain,' an e-portfolio that might contain everything I have ever done, who benefits if they use this to create something original?

In conclusion

1) The e-literate will already, whether they know it or not, have the makings of an eportfolio through content they have generated about themselves, their ambitions and friends, the work they would like to do and the work they have done. A link to discrete parts of this can quickly generate a number of e-portfolios, just as it could generate a number of bespoke CVs. The less e-literate by dint of their presence at the doors of an institution, enrolement or employment, or if freelance, their contract or engagement, will have wittingly shared components of a potential eportfolio it only paper through letters, CVs and evidence.

2) Institutions, academic or business, may offer portfolios that are wedded to that organisation's culture. If designed, to look and function within this context it will be easier to compile, share, access and assess while there. No longer, if ever it were necessary, to print off, duplicate or photocopy reams of paper to have back-ups, let alone to apply simultaneously to more than one place. However, is not these ease of sharing problematic? Could not a multitude of people claim something to be their’s ? Or is that the point. We become a name on one of those credit lists that runs and runs after a CGI-rich film plays out.

3) There is no definitive answer, no panacea, when it comes to an eportfolio: create your own, buy off the shelf or let staff and students bring along what they have or don’t have. As a consultant e-professional (sounds far grander than it is), it is the requirements of the organisation you are working for that dictates the answer. Is the problem financial? Is it retention? Is it attracting students in the first place? Or holding on to staff? Is it assessement? Is it learning? Is it departmental? Is it a cohort or a group? Is is driven by your trustees? Government? Or a current fashion in pedagogy? Is it political? Does it put the student first, at the centre of things? If they have 20 years to pay off their student loan, do they carry the same e-portfolio with them for the duration, Sage accounting an add-on to whatever other functions their e-portfolio offers?

Do you want the way my mind works, or the conclusion? Is there one? If one thing defines e-technology it is that it is always in a state of flux, indeed like Macbeth clutching at that dagger before his eyes, you can never quite get your hands on it. An IT specialise shared her thinking with me in Linked In. A thought I have come across before. Whilst her role is to ‘speed things up’ for businesses, she can never say what it is that will speed up ... or that what is achieved was predictable. The important thing is to move on, progress, don’t stagnate, don’t over think a thing ... nor over-commit.

My recommendation to an institution questioning its use of eportfolios would be to be in all camps simultaneously, to have an inhouse eportfolio, to engage with external suppliers and permit individuals to have their own. What matters is the required functionality and outcomes. My recommendation to an individual is to have in their control anything they are placing elsewhere.

Is not the choice, when it comes down to it, one of selecting this handbag over that one? This satchel over that one? However it functions, whatever it looks like, only the contents matter. If you drop your one and only portfolio of photographs or drawings on the way to an interview, you can pick up the pieces and make do with cardboard and a roll of duct-tape. If your one and only eportfolio fails you lose the lot. Or do you? These assets, this ‘stuff’ what is it anyway? Text, images, programming (which is text) ... If you are digitally-savvy and have an online presence how easy is it to reassemble such a portfolio? Very, I’d suggest.

So, yes, as I suggest, you have a version for work, a version where you are studying, a version embedded in your website or Facebook page, a version on the hard-drive or you computer, and one on a zip or flash driver.

Ho hum.

I shall go and sleep on it. Always the right approach after this middle-of-the-night brainstorm.

What kind of e-portfolio would you recommend to the following?

  • Use in a prison by inmates serving at least three years.
  • Use for advertising and marketing creatives at a ‘school of communication arts.’
  • Use by trainee gymnastics coach who is a volunteer with a local club working with young children.
  • Use by a trainee solicitor.
  • Use by an actor hoping to get into RADA
  • Use by someone returning to work after a six year career break.
  • Use by Leonardo da Vinci, Douglas Adams or Stephen Hawking
  • Use by a politician

Why not come up with your own. The trickier the better.

  • Use by someone who is losing their eyesight
  • Use by someone who has terminal cancer
  • Use by a child at primary school
  • Use by someone in a retirement home
  • Use by someone with depression
  • Use by someone with ambitions to be a professional footballer, or designer for Apple, or ... TV producer, or ... happy.

Is an e-portfolio the next web page?

You've got to have one, even if you don't know why? At least you don't have to by a domain name.

And what brought this on?

Other than the requirements of H808 ...

The launch of a platform for swimming teachers and coaches across competitive swimming, water polo, diving and synchro.

The new Institute of Swimming (www.theiosonline.com) website not only streamlines the course booking process and offers some courses online, but embedded in the new platform in a way that is even more integrated the the OU's add-on MyStuff, is an eportfolio.

You complete your details and find in so doing that you have begun your profile in something called My IoS.

It will contain a CV, evidence of qualifications, assets that can specifically include video ... and the word 'e-portfolio' is not mentioned anywhere. Yet this is what is. And as for interoperability and transfer ... all of that is just a cut and paste, or link away is it not, as ever? And being a 'portfolio worker' in any case, the last thing I want to do is to merge one of my two (or is is three) other lives with this or any of the others.

It simply is.

 

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