Coach Carole Ramblings

Celtic, Mythical and More …


Scoop It! on E-portfolios

Scoop It curations on or about eportfolios are plentiful right now; I’ve gathered a few together for your enjoyment.

Create a Scoop It! for yourself on any topic at:

Please add a comment with other Scoop It! curations on eportfolios or self-directed learning or join my Scoop Its!



Reflecting on Eportfolios visually

E-portfolios have loomed large for me this year – they have filled my head space for several months.

I will be doing some workshops and papers on the EpCoP MOOC soon and I have begun my reflections on the experiences. Some of this can be seen in my own blog entries, in the group blog and now in shared spaces online. I’ve added a summary page to The MOOC guide, I am putting together a short  article for publication in an American journal and I’ve submitted and been accepted to present a workshop at ConVerge 11. There is also a white paper being created collaboratively for publication for AAEEBL – so now I am really reflecting on and sharing insights on eportfolios in a myriad of ways.

My thoughts have been about how to do that in more visual ways to engage with viewers at all levels of knowledge and practice with e-portfolios and I was inspired today by some of the graphics shared by guest presenter Ian Smissen on ways in which an e-portfolio approach may be most beneficial in a research project.

Therefore I began looking for advice on what tools I could use to present that reflection – almost immediately upon entering the twitter zone I was greeted by a message from Vance Stevens recommending the use of Make belief comix to provide such imagery. Wanting to make an immediate start on a process for planning and reflecting in the new MOOC Change 11, I jumped right in and produced my very first comix strip:

What other tools could I use to spark my reflective practice?

Commissioner CC: joining the EpCoP Case

Participants in the EpCoP MOOC are getting involved in the Epcop Case – created by Detective Ryan Peterovski and followed by many ‘agents’.

This week I’ve been exploring a few tools to help store the ‘clues’ from the EpCoP Case. I have had some fun and new learning with:

  • Scoop It
  • NetVibes
  • LiveBinders

and have added those as artefacts in my EpCoP MOOC eportfolio page.

Now I’m leaving clues for other places to find my resources for the EpCoP Case – being investigated by Detective Ryan Peterovski – and my most recent clue is showing on the EpCoP Evidence Map. At first I found this task to be complex and confusing, I had used Google Maps before but I had not been able to upload my photo of the evidence to the map. Today I was fortunate to read the instructions from @CaptPoirot in the Novice help Line group in the Ning community and made some headway in this challenge.

Here’s clue number one:

In the old days (pre 2010) I stored most of my artefacts on a USB – yes quaint and old fashioned I know – but it was useful when moving from one computer to the other. Portability and storage was what I was after.

I could create artefacts at work, at home, at a workshop or at a conference then I could save them to my USB. Then I could add them to my eportfolios whenever I liked.

The problem with USBs is they can easily be lost and they fill up really quickly. The other issue I had was what version of the artefact was stored on the USB? I ended up with several versions of the same thing – confusing.

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Scoop It: another wave of collecting

I have been gathering more web based resources, posts, blogs, and tweets fro the web using Scoop It. This has proven to be a most exciting and fun way to do some focussed research. Scoop It is fast gaining followers in the EpCoP MOOC and a few people are now following my latest Scoop It publication called Preparing for self-directed learning.

What I like most about Scoop It is that others can suggest additional scoops to add to your Scoop It – this way the publication can grow collaboratively. You can add your own Scoop It as you proceed in the MOOC – gathering up those web-based resources into the one publication for sharing – neat!

Try it its easy, free and fun!


Can I draw my own graphics?

Learning the basics – or becoming a Rockstar?

1. What are my hopes/fears for this course?
Hope to learn how to create hand drawn graphics that suit my purpose. Fear that I lack skills.

2. What areas of my life do I plan to use scribing?
The drawings I will begin with will suit the project I am currently working on – the development of graphic designs for presentations to go with our webinars for the EpCoP MOOC.

3. What does success look like for me after I take this course?
Success will present itself in achieving my hope (goals) and I will be open to the new style of elearning in a genre outside of my comfort zone – who knows what I can achieve.

… the back story …

I was so inspired by Nancy White’s hand drawn illustrations for her recent presentation online that I immediately went on the mailing list for the course with AlphaChimp University.

Today I received my notification to enrol at the discounted early bird rate and I’m in. Already I like what I see, some nice simple designs, a video and some things to do to get started. This has taught me some things that could be incorporated into the EpCoP MOOC – I am thrilled.

Now all I need to do is activate the left side of my brain and get cracking on some of my visuals that I want to draw – got the cartridge paper (in a nice bright pink bound notebook) and pens and pencils gathered already and can begin with some doodling to answer some of the opening questions.

Now I have a new purpose for blogging again!


Evaluating facilitation of online events

Facilitating online is a skill that I am still improving on with every new opportunity that arises in my schedule. I am currently facilitating online in discussion forums in several Moodle environments; and here I practice the art of being inclusive, reflective, proactive and constructive in my postings. I regularly facilitate or co-facilitate real time online events, usually in Elluminate; and over the last few years I have done a few hundred of these, so I’m really comfortable with that. The feedback that I receive from my peers and audience in that realm spurs me on and challenges me to try out new strategies. I am regularly called upon to moderate Elluminate webinars/presentations for teachers in schools and ACE organisations – these are part of my core business. I regularly and voluntarily co-moderate sessions for other presenters in the Learn Central network of events under the banner of the Australia Series. During 2010, the team scheduled 45 events for the eT@lking series, a regular event on a Wednesday evening at 8pm AEDT, and I presented and moderated 4 for the Eportfolio Community of Practice – monthly events.


Synchronous (real time) events:

These experiences have given me confidence to present for the Global Education Conference – a free series of Elluminate webinars during the week of November 15-19, 2010. My first GEC presentation is scheduled for November 16 at 11 am and I will be presenting a snapshot of the VET Eportfolios Community of Practice, its conversations, its shared philosophy, its members and its case studies – and most importantly its global links to other eportfolio communities of practice. In preparing for this event I have reflected on the effectiveness of past Elluminate moderation strategies and plan to include as much interactivity as possible – this is the most effective way of engaging the audience. I plan to avoid the Elluminate ‘death by PowerPoint’ and to use innovative application sharing tactics instead. There is a risk attached to this as you probably know, such as the technical and connectivity aspects while sharing your desktop view and speaking at the same time, so I will be aiming to keep this as simple as possible too. Recent successes with the use of a shared googledoc in which the audience can key in responses, ideas or comments whilst viewing this phenomenon live in Elluminate will be utilised. The beauty of this strategy lies in its dynamic and renewable nature and enables the contributors to return to it later for review – no need to copy the whiteboard notes as I’ve done in the past.

Other activities that work well in the Elluminate room include: polling, web tours, games and engaging the audience in conversation rather than presentation. I regularly use Elluminate for online workshops where the participants are learning to use other tools such as Moodle or Mahara – this is not for the faint hearted – it requires a certain amount of confidence with multi-tasking for both facilitator and participant. I do recommend that such ‘virtual’ workshops be used as follow-up strategies for in-house training sessions or as blended regular real time events in course delivery. Scheduling, promoting and reminding of these events is an essential element in their success. For instance you can add the notification of the event with links into your Ning Network or your Moodle course; send out reminder emails and send posts in Twitter.

Careful structure and planning for these real time events is an essential element of their success – I have a collection of useful planning files that I recycle for these events including: participant orientation slides; moderator running sheets; documents with useful links for sharing and evaluation surveys. Uploading these files to online repositories for ease of access wherever I am located has proven invaluable, time and time again. I love Google apps and wikis for this process, as well as, more recently, the DropBox.

Asynchronous (any time) events:

Moodle discussion forums, Google group conversations and Voicethreads are three of the strategies I am exploring in greater depth this year. Each one requires the same amount of careful planning and preparation with notable differences in their implementation. My recent learning from the Facilitating Online program from New Zealand, under the brilliant facilitation of Sarah Stewart has helped me enormously with success in each of these three areas. I’d like to unpack some of the evaluation for these below.

[Note: If you’ve read all the way down to this part of my post, beware there’s a bit more to go. I am beginning to think that this topic probably needs to be published as a downloadable white paper – a task for next year!]

Voicethread: Powerful Portfolio Practices

This Voicethread was produced for the launch (Nov 4) of the VET Eportfolios Community of Practice and has gathered some commentary from members of that community. The structure is meant to portray the full gamit of eportfolio concepts and to entice practitioners to voice their opinions on each one. On reflection there are some missing elements – one of which refused to load properly as a Powerpoint or PD F slide – and others that did not occur to me initially. These can easily be added as further slides and opportunities to comment in the future. A word of caution for other would be Voicethread authors, convert your slides to PDF for a better upload. (Note: I must say the help desk at VT was brilliant in helping me out there.) My take-aways from this experience include: providing guidance for contributors on how to comment; targeting a group of contributors to populate the VT swiftly; collaborate with one or more team members; use a variety of promotional strategies to notify potential contributors and to set the scene; do prepare a guide or a script for your own commentary, but don’t read it verbatim in a radio voice; and finally provide follow-up activities drawing on the conversations in the VT.

My very next Voicethread incorporates a great deal of the above guidance and I’m pleased to say that it will be used as a final group reflection in the ACFE ementor program for 2010. We’ve taken a collaborative approach in scoping the content of the VT, creating the slides, recording the focus questions and skilling the contributors prior to their commentary.

In order to generate more audience feedback on the VTs I plan to generate a poll in the VET Eportfolios Community of Practice, notify its members of the ongoing nature of the VT, and ask them to draw out the issues and post a conversation about them in the EpCoP google group conversations. This process has begun organically already thanks to the postings from Sarah, Colin, Don and Amy.

Conversations: Eportfolio community of practice

This Googlegroup was created in July 2010 to engage Australian eportfolio practitioners in conversations about the process of building, implementing, scaffolding and promoting an eportfolio approach to learning in Australian Vocational Educational and Training organisations. As a funded initiative there were some benefits for the speed by which it was accepted and utilised for the sharing of knowledge and practice in Eportfolios. Initial facilitation of the conversations was required to prompt, challenge or encourage responses from a small number of members. As the group grew in size and we opened it up for wider involvement and promoted it as a global opportunity for shared ideas, there was less required facilitation – the conversations took on a life of its own. Then as the novelty factor wore off and members there was a need to reinvigorate and remind members of our vision and how to take the EpCoP to the next level. The recent launch at the Eportfolio Australia Conference helped to do that – hence the development of the Voicethread – Powerful Portfolio Practices.

Currently we are exploring alternative strategies to move the conversation on to collecting the leading case studies; identifying the gaps in our knowledge exchange; and how to encourage the development of ‘chapters’ of the community where practitioners can promote, report and evaluate their local eportfolio projects. The future of the EpCoP will now depend on the collaborative energies of a team of people to ensure that it continues to fulfil its vision. This will now shape my facilitation role for the next six months and I will need to monitor, stimulate and evaluate the ongoing potential of the community.

Moodle discussion forums: Reflect and Connect

Moodling has become another core element of my business and just recently I’ve drawn on past skills in facilitating any time discussions in the course Reflect and Connect. As this is a funded initiative we are required to keep a blog for the project and this is available at Eliberation2010. In the blog you will see how the facilitators are reflecting on their facilitation roles and this helps to keep our process transparent for all stakeholders. One notable element of our recent posts relates to the exciting, busy and sometimes overwhelming, nature of the discussion forums we’ve put in place for the participants. These threaded discussions feature in each ‘topic’ or section of the course and enable the participants to share their learning, knowledge, ideas and opinions frequently and regularly. The Moodle forum features enable the facilitator to regulate, monitor and view the latest unread posts – essential tools for forum management. The News forum is used each week to provide a summary of the week’s events and to forecast those for the following week. The News Desk forum is more of an announcement tool so does not generate responses and each posting remains clearly in view throughout the course, enabling participants to return to it for their updates and for their Tracking sheets.

In this course we are modelling co-facilitation by the leaders and collaborative facilitation by the participants. The co-facilitation role is rewarding as well as challenging – we are confident that all postings will be read and responded to by one of us in a 24 hour time period, however, we need to have a shared understanding of when and how we post our responses. For this reason we need to conduct weekly facilitator briefing sessions and to provide support documentation such as Facilitator Notes.

  • I would recommend the following reference for those who are currently facilitating online or hope to in the near future: ‘Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching: How to “Be There” for Distance Learners’ Lehman and Conceicao, Jossey-Bass 2010.


Eportfolio Australia Conference 2010

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?


  • 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


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)


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.


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’.