E-Portfolio Synthesis

 

5 August 2011

SYNTHESIS OF E-PORTFOLIO

This is a ‘Final e-portfolio Synthesis’ for ETEC565A per the Assignment instructions under ‘Course Introduction’ in WebCT Vista. I present both a linear, text-based synthesis and a multimedia-based synthesis of my e-portfolio and learning experience in the ETEC565A course.

My e-portfolio has 6 pages of mandatory content:

This synthesis presents the 7th page of mandatory content.

In addition, the e-portfolio has three voluntary pages of content, reflecting some of my problem-solving and inquiry-based learning for the course:

  • Provocateur 1 (framing the 7 Principles of Good Undergraduate Education to a workplace context)
  • Provocateur 3 (applying the Bates & Poole (2003) SECTIONS Model to a scenario)
  • Links (31 links)

 

Blog e-Porfolio
I regard the e-portfolio by blog as a novel way to present assignment material to an assessor, and to share learning with peers. An e-portfolio by blog has enabled me to develop technical skill with blogging technology and over the duration of the semester, I have become more digitally literate with WordPress blogging software. The software allows me to present material in new and exciting ways, incorporating visuals and multimedia, and web links. This would not be possible by submitting a more traditional, word-processed document as a portfolio.

However, if I were to set blogging as an e-portfolio asssessment for a course that I design or deliver, I would be mindful to give students sufficient time to both learn the software and its unique GUI, and to also allocate plenty of time for them to ‘finesse’ blog pages. It takes time to source and add images, multimedia and web links to blogs. For someone not familiar with blogging software, editing text in a blog is also more involved and time-consuming than editing text in word-processing software.

Flight Path and Progress by Semester End
The Flight Path was a difficult and problematic task as I had no experience with multimedia technologies, and only limited personal experience with social media. I didn’t have any immediate educational context in which to visualise using the techologies, and because of this I didn’t have a project in mind. On the other hand, I had prior experience with Moodle, a learning content management system. I know that the future of Moodle is with Moodle 2.0, and that my workplace will be moving to this platform soon. I stated in my Flight Path that I wanted to learn Moodle 2.0.

By conclusion of the semester, I had advanced my understanding of blogging technology and its application from ‘a diary’ to that of a tool to connect people and resources anywhere in the blogosphere. I learned how to use Google Reader to track blog feeds of other people. I made some posts on the blogs of other ETEC565A students. I would not say that this exposure to blogging launched me far into the blogosphere; I still have a lot to learn about blogging. However, from the experience I had of posting to my blog, I see blogging’s application to learning as “reflect, record, share”.

By conclusion of the semester, I had gained experience with MediaWiki in a whole-of-class context and understood a little more about its potential for collaborative learning. I see wikis as tools for “crowd construction”.

By conclusion of the semester, the cohort had posted more than 5,800 messages in the discussion forums, far too many for a three-month course where there is other workload and that workload heavily weighted to inquiry-based learning. However, I appreciated the role of the forums in my learning journey, especially those occurring around case studies. I was able to reflect and revise my understanding of theory and its application from viewing the contributions of other students to forums. I hence come away with a view that discussion forums are purposeful for learning and that they aid deeper-level meaning through a process of “share, compare, reflect, revise”.

By conclusion of the semester, I had learned about Wimba Pronto for live conferencing and was able to compare it to other web conferencing software that I have been used to in the past, such as Adobe Pro-Connect and Elluminate.

By conclusion of the semester, I had reviewed 50+ different multimedia technologies and selected some technologies to apply to design projects (a Moodle course site; a digital story). I went on to develop efficacy with Voki and Stupeflix software. I am not sure how my skills with multimedia will be applied in future, but it was beneficial to know that there are many open source multimedia software products available, and also beneficial to see how multimedia can provide for diverse learning styles. The published works of the ETEC565A cohort showed the diversity of application of multimedia to educational curricula.

By conclusion of the semester, I had not gained any experience with using Moodle 2.0. I did not have time to even look at the Moodle 2.0 demo site.

Theory
The ‘7 Principles of Good Undergraduate Education’ (Chickering & Gamson, 1987) and ‘Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever‘ (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996) framed many discussions and assignments for ETEC565A. I found that I continually reflected on how these principles were being applied in the delivery of the ETEC565A course. I believe that high expectations (Principle 6) and active learning (Principle 3) were most evident in the delivery of the course.

Another critical reading for the course was Bates & Poole’s (2003) SECTIONS model. From the start of the course, and more so over the duration of the course, while working on scenarios and assignments, I came to understand that the SECTIONS model is a “ready reckoner” for selecting and applying educational technology. Student access to technology has to be a primary consideration in any choice of technology, and equally important is the ‘ease of use’ of a technology to instructional designers, facilitators/teachers and students. A technology must be easily updated and maintained, and compatible with organisational systems and resources.

The eight different case studies that I had to resolve during the semester have helped me to develop a deeper-level understanding of how widely the SECTIONS model applies to selection and use of learning technologies.

Proposal
The group project to design LMS Evaluation and Selection Criteria was a ‘tight timeline’ and not without its challenges. Our group used Google Docs to collaborate. I found it very useful to be able to sight the Evaluation and Selection Criteria designed by other groups, and to have the opportunity to blend the different types into a ‘best of breed’ that I could apply to the Proposal project (write a LMS Proposal).

The Proposal Project was odd, however, as it was weird to write a proposal for a fictitious situation, and it was weird to write a proposal for a foregone conclusion – ‘choose Moodle’. However, while preparing my ‘Proposal for Pilot Migration to Moodle’, I did get to read literature reviews and case studies of LMS selection, and to read about some of the benefits and disadvantages of LMS systems such as Blackboard (Angel), Desire2Learn and aTutor.

I appreciate from doing the group project and the individual Proposal task, that technology selection is a rigorous process. I have since recommended to a poster in an e-Learning Guild discussion forum that he use an LMS Evaluation Rubric to choose his LMS.

Assessment
The project to design a Moodle quiz assessment and to frame it in theory of assessment was fairly straight forward. I have designed many Moodle quizzes in the past.

Digital Story
The multimedia assignment was challenging and rewarding. I chose to develop a digital story that could provide an instructional tool for one of the modules of my Moodle course. I was happy with the results that I achieved, and appreciated the value of digital story-telling creation for reflective learning. Digital story-telling can aid learning of both the creator and the viewer.

Course Site
This project has been highly frustrating as my attempts to get clarification on a criterion for the project was unsuccessful.

I used Moodle 1.9.8 and a ‘tabs’ format (which I had not worked with previously). I believe the tabs format greatly improves the screen view of Moodle for students.

The challenge to work with an HTML authoring tool put excessive pressure on students of ETEC565A and a pressure that I don’t think was warranted. Evidence of being able to prepare one or two pages in HTML would have been suffice, in my opinion. Far too much time was spent on discussion forums trying to interpret assignment criteria and trying to work out HTML authoring. The workload and time and effort required for this course site assignment constrained my opportunities to use the E-Learning Toolkit to its full advantage, and to use my blog and participate in blogging with other participants so I could learn more about social media.

The benefit of the Moodle course site project has been to reacquaint with Dreamweaver and ultimately, I was proud of the HTML pages that I designed for my Moodle course titled ‘Discover: a short course in information literacy’.

E-Portfolio Synthesis: A Movie
Below is a multimedia version of my synthesis, which articulates a different perspective and wider range of references than have been presented on this page.

http://studio.stupeflix.com/embed/QYCFIKJ9Cg/

REFERENCES

Bates, A. W. & Poole, G. (2003). A Framework for Selecting and Using Technology. In A. W. Bates & G. Poole, Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education (pp. 75-108) . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A. W. & Ehrmann, S. C. (1996). Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 49 (2) 3-6.

Chickering, A. W. & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 39 (7), 3-7.

Resources Compiled by Janette

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