Exploring the use of Google Drivefor support and interaction in thedevelopment of teaching portfoliosArona DisonUniversity of the Western Cape
Background• UWC’s teaching and learning policy• Teaching portfolios• Workshops on developing a teaching portfolio
Purpose of the portfolio workshops:• To inform academic staff in the facultyabout teaching portfolios and how todevelop them.• To provide a supportive structure tofacilitate the development of lecturers’teaching portfolios.• To provide a space for writing, feedbackfrom participants and discussion about theT&L issues reflected on in the portfolios
Series of workshops 2012Month Topic No of participantsSeptember Introduction to teaching portfolios anddiscussion of UWC guidelines35October Writing a teaching philosophy 15November Compiling your portfolio in relation to UWCguidelines.8December Sharing your draft portfolio with otherparticipantsCancelled due to timeof year
Changes made in 2013• One introductory workshop of one hour open toall lecturers in the faculty• 3 sessions of 3 hours each offered on a monthlybasis• More explicit requirement that participants werecommitted to developing a teaching portfolioduring the time period of the workshopprogramme(Only 4 participants)• The introduction of a technological tool toencourage writing in between sessions andinteraction by participants about the writing.
Why Google Drive? (Affordances)• It enables multiple authors to share their writing andmake comments on documents.• It allows readers to comment on particular parts of thetext and the writer (or other readers) to respond in theblock.• This is in contrast to blogs where feedback can only begiven generally on the blog which has been posted.• allows for a network of people to interact with eachother in relation to their writing outside of theconstraints of time and place (asynchronousinteraction)
Google Drive cont.• It also allows authors to work together in realtime (synchronous interaction)(Rowe et al,2013)• It has access-control affordances – permission-ability and share-ability (Bower, 2009).• Easy to use without much instruction• Writers work with one copy of the document(Garner, 2010) so comments and feedback areall on one document
I introduced the intervention of using GoogleDrive with the following goals in mind:• to extend the interaction between participants inrelation to portfolio writing beyond the workshop timeand space;• To use the technology to provide a motivating structureto assist participants to draft manageable chunks of theportfolio;• To use the tool to enable participants’ to give feedbackon each other’s writing in addition to the facilitatorgiving feedback;• To support the development of a small community ofpractice (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Wenger 1998)engaged in the project of portfolio development
Activities• Shared teaching portfolio folder created inGoogle Drive with shared sub-folders for each ofthe participants• Resource folder included• Short training session given by one of participants• Tasks negotiated with participants which were tobe done between sessions• Participants expected to comment and givefeedback on each other’s writing before the nextsession
Integration of technology into workshop programmeWorkshop 1: Open introductory workshop on Developing a Teaching PortfolioWorkshop 2: Writing a teaching philosophy. First hands-onworkshop with 4 committed participants.Workshop activities:Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) activity, using drawing tostimulate thoughts about teaching philosophy.Drafting and then group discussion on writing.Between workshop activities:Write a draft of your teaching philosophy on Google DriveGive feedback on each other’s drafts
Workshop 3:Engaging with the UWC guidelinesWorkshop activities:Discussion about participants’ teaching philosophies.Brief discussion of UWC’s Teaching Portfolio Guide.Individual writing under categories of the Guide and in response toquestions.Sharing of writing and discussion.Between workshop activities (as agreed on byparticipants):Continue writing in response to the UWC GuidelinesGive feedback on each other’s writing by a certain dateStart making a list of evidence for your portfolio and store it onGoogle DriveAs you collect evidence store the documents on Google Drive ifyou’d like to.
Workshop 4:Relating claims to evidenceWorkshop activities:Discussion about participants’ draft portfolio narratives.Discussion about relating claims made in portfolio toevidence.Relating evidence (collected or to be collected) to sectionsof draft teaching portfolioDiscussion about follow-up to workshop.
How have I formatively evaluated myintervention so far?• My own reflections (intensified by this course)• Responses of facilitators and participants onthis course• Feedback from workshop participants
One participant responded:• ‘As with all these things, it is the lack of time available toDO the work!! As a system, [Google Drive] is a good ideaand provides opportunity to share information easily and tocomment on each others portfolios. However... I havedone none of this to date, except for the first time!!! Idont know what the answer is. On the one hand, ifsomeone sent me their portfolio by email and asked me tocomment on it, I would, and having it on Google Docsdoesnt have the same impact somehow... why? An emailis personal communication and your conscience is prickedmore perhaps? The meetings are good, because we thenfeel obliged to do something before each meeting, andperhaps we should have more frequent meetings, even ifthey are short? That way we have deadlines? I just think itis too easy to forget about it when it is safely storedsomewhere online.
Veronica, our classmate, commented:… it sounds like youre competing with busyschedules and what educators are choosing toprioritize. My real query is whether moreparticipants are likely to stay in your workshopseries and commit themselves to the tasks if itbecomes more collaborative enhanced bytechnology or if this will actually add to thedropout rate.
A concluding thoughtThe effectiveness of teaching portfolio workshopsin this form is affected by numerous factors, andthe use of technology in these workshops is onlyone factor that is currently being explored.From my participation in this workshop I havebecome more fascinated by the potential oftechnology for facilitating engagement aboutteaching and learning by academics. The challengeis how to achieve this, given the constraints thathave been discussed in this presentation.
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