Coach Carole Ramblings

Celtic, Mythical and More …

Eportfolio Australia Conference 2010

3 Comments

Reflections from a participant!

What did I learn at the EAC held in Melbourne last week? Who did I connect with at the EAC? How did I focus while at the EAC? What impact did the EAC workshops, presentations and networking have on my eportfolio approach?

Learnings:

  • there are differences in the way eportfolios are being implemented by practitioners across the educational spectrum:
    • ‘built in, not bolted on’ – Meaghan Botterill (RMIT, Vic)
    • ‘in the cloud, not within a system’ – Sarah Stewart, (Otago NZ)
    • ‘systematically and strategically’ – Nayomie Baihn (TAFE NSW)
    • ‘purposefully and meaningfully for RPL’ – Liz Grigg (Coonara Community House, Vic)
    • ‘as a vehicle for reflective practice’ – Bronwyn Hegarty, Otago Polytechnic, NZ)
    • ‘as a state based project’ – Bret Eynon, La Guardia Community College
    • ‘threshold concepts of eportfolios, bring troublesome knowledge – Gordon Joyes, JISC, UK

    there are diffferences in how eportfolios are perceived by practitioners along the eportfolio continuum:

    • ‘frameworks for a comprehensive assessment system to make learning visible’ – Evangeline Harris Stefanakis , Boston University
    • ‘Using digital portfolios to remove the cloak of invisibility’ – Bronwyn Hegarty, Otago Polytechnic, NZ)
    • main window of engagement -this is the role of ePortfolios in an adaptive learning framework’, Paul Houghton Polytechnic West
    • ‘eportfolios are disruptive and require mature understanding and planned implementation’ Gordon Joyes, JISC. UK
    • ‘75% of the 2010 student cohort found the ePortfolio a useful tool for reflecting on their learning and professional development’ Elizabetb Smith, University of South Australia

Connections:

During the two days of keynotes and workshops I found myself connecting with those whose eportfolio language and philosophy resonated for me.

  • AAEEBL is an association I am pleased to be affiliated with under the banner of the VET Eportfolio Community of Practice. The Association for Authentic, Experiential & Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) Members and affiliates help continue the work of educational transformation by focusing on new designs in learning and assessment, on increasing connections among the portfolio community, and on moving toward a more authentic assessment of actual student achievement and progress based on evidence of learning over time.
  • La Guardia Community College is marching ahead of the crowd with their vision of empowerment for learners through eportfolios – I liked and understood their philosophy. Their impact is huge: each year, led by academic faculty, more than 9,000 high risk students enhance their learning with ePortfolios; their new Making Connections National Resource Center, is currently working with more than 30 US campuses, guiding them as they plan and implement advanced ePortfolio projects – now that speaks volumes about their ‘champion’ credibility in the field and dedication to making a difference.
  • The following diagram also gave me a frame of reference for the process of building eportfolios – a useful visual to share with learners:

EPortfolio Model

(Source: Hiebert, 2006 as cited in Hiller et al., 2007; Barrett, 2000; Crane, n.d.; Danielson & Abrutyn, 1997)

Focus:

I was able to focus my attention on what I heard and saw in the presentations by tweeting out to my followers a synthesis and critical commentary on that content. I’m not sure how helpful those tweets were to others not at the conference – I would like to know – feel free to comment here.

If you want to view all the tweets from the EAC2010 search for #eac2010 in your Twitter account.

Impact:

When I listened to Gordon Joyes from JISC speak about Effective Practice with Eportfolios, this is what had the most impact on my thinking about implementation of eportfolios:

These threshold concepts, expressed from a design for learning perspective, which assumes a mature understanding of ePortfolio use, are:

  • The purpose needs to be aligned to context to maximise benefits;
  • The learning activity needs to be designed to suit the purpose;
  • Processes needs to be supported technologically and pedagogically;
  • Ownership needs to be student centred;
  • Transformation (disruption) needs to be planned for.

It was interesting talking to Gordon to validate my perspective of eportfolios – he said if you understand the threshold concepts then you have passed through the portal – this appealed to me as I now believe that everyone needs to move towards that level of knowledge about eportfolios – an experiential journey, or a ‘rite of passage’.

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Author: coachcarole

Coach Carole is the name by which many of you will know me - in my role as coach and mentor for teachers, project teams and networks facilitators. I work independently as an elearning consultant for my business Macro Dimensions.

3 thoughts on “Eportfolio Australia Conference 2010

  1. Wow, Carole!

    Looks like you had a good time. However, I feel that the ‘ePortfolio Model’ diagram may continue to reinforce an institutional perception of the ePortfolio and tends to support the view that students only follow a single course of study or that, perhaps, DIFFERENT ePortfolios should be used for different purposes.

    The model does not appear to recognise that students may be following more than one course or module at the same time or that activities might be performed in different sequences (ie reflection might justifiably come AFTER connecting and collaboration).

    My main concern is that of ‘the Chicken and the Egg’ syndrome. Does the ePortfolio provoke a new approach to teaching and learning or does an identified new approach to pedagogy find its solution in the ePortfolio as ‘the answer to a maiden’s prayer’ ?

    Yesterday I was at an HE conference where there were still strong arguments for the status quo of the traditional method of lecturing a large number of students and then expecting them to write essays based on conventional literature reviews etc, etc.

  2. Hey Ray, I love it when my knowledge of eportfolios is challenged and refined by thought leaders. I had another look at that diagram and thought that it still resonated for me as a process for eportfolios in any situation, institutionalised or not. The diagram maybe a little dated though so I’m on a quest for a better one. We have a growing discussion happening in the voicethread that you may like to contribute to. You can access this from the front page of http://epcop.net.au – come on over and lend your voice to that conversation. CC

  3. Hello Ray

    I had a similar HE experience myself a couple of weeks ago. The university sees this approach as time and money saving. How do you see Eportfolio working in that context?