E-Portfolios and the Problem of Learning

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E-Portfolios and the Problem of Learning in the Post-Course Era by Randy Bass, Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), Georgetown University
General Education 3.0 (AAC&U)
March 4, 2011

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E-Portfolios and the Problem of Learning

  1. 1. E-Portfolios and the Problem of Learning in the Post-Course Era <ul><li>Randy Bass, Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), Georgetown University </li></ul><ul><li>General Education 3.0 (AAC&U) </li></ul><ul><li>March 4, 2011 </li></ul>
  2. 2. “ You know. It was taught as a Gen Ed course and I took it as a Gen Ed course.” Georgetown student, end of first year, focus group: reflecting on a particular course in which, he claimed, he was not asked to engage with the material.
  3. 3. Core Questions <ul><li>What are the conditions for the most meaningful learning inside and outside the formal curriculum? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we make it possible to see and capture evidence of meaningful learning in new ways? ( moving target ) </li></ul><ul><li>Can we keep the “evidence of learning” agenda open in an age of metrics and accountability? </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Post-Course Era
  5. 5. The Post-Course Era <ul><li>The course as a useful way of managing time, staff resources, equivalencies </li></ul><ul><li>A collection of courses as way of telling the story of the discipline or profession </li></ul><ul><li>Coursework and the formal curriculum as the center of the educational experience—the places where the most significant learning takes place. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Post-Course Era End of the era of the self-contained course as the center of the curriculum “ The fragmentation of the curriculum into a collection of independently ‘owned’ courses is itself an impediment to student accomplishment, because the different courses students take, even on the same campus, are not expected to engage or build on one another.” (AAC&U, 2004)
  7. 7. Post-Course: Smaller and Bigger <ul><li>the intermediate </li></ul><ul><li>(capturing intermediate thinking processes) </li></ul><ul><li>& </li></ul><ul><li>the integrative </li></ul><ul><li>(making meaning across courses, experiences and time) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Second Wave of the Learning Paradigm (course design & curriculum design) <ul><li>Active Learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory/ knowing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience / doing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrative Learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory/ knowing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience/ doing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflecting / connecting </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. High Impact Practices (National Survey of Student Engagement--NSSE) <ul><li>First-year seminars and experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Learning communities </li></ul><ul><li>Writing intensive courses </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate research </li></ul><ul><li>Global learning/ study abroad </li></ul><ul><li>Internships </li></ul><ul><li>Capstone courses and projects </li></ul>George Kuh, High Impact Practices: What are they, who has access to them, and why they matter . (AAC&U, 2008)
  10. 10. Outcomes associated with High impact Practices <ul><li>Attend to underlying meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate and synthesize </li></ul><ul><li>Discern patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Apply knowledge in diverse situations </li></ul><ul><li>View issues from multiple perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Acquire gains in skills, knowledge, practical competence , personal and social development </li></ul>Experiences that help students… George Kuh, High Impact Practices: What are they, who has access to them, and why they matter . (AAC&U, 2008)
  11. 11. High Impact Activities and Outcomes <ul><li>High Impact Practices: </li></ul><ul><li>First-year seminars and experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Learning communities </li></ul><ul><li>Writing intensive courses </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate research </li></ul><ul><li>Global learning/ study abroad </li></ul><ul><li>Internships </li></ul><ul><li>Capstone courses and projects </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes associated with High impact practices </li></ul><ul><li>Attend to underlying meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate and synthesize </li></ul><ul><li>Discern patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Apply knowledge in diverse situations </li></ul><ul><li>View issues from multiple perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Gains in Skills, knowledge, practical competence , personal and social development </li></ul>
  12. 12. So, if high impact practices are largely in the extra-curriculum (or co-curriculum), then where are the low-impact practices?
  13. 13. Low-impact practices: Formally known as ‘the curriculum’?
  14. 14. If the formal curriculum is not where the high impact experiences are then what are the options?
  15. 15. Making courses more like high-impact practices courses designed as inquiry-based & participatory Virtual Labs Leveraging “the crowd” as a way of teaching Constructivist social tools: wikis & blogs
  16. 16. If the formal curriculum is not where the high impact experiences are then what are the options? <ul><li>Make courses higher impact </li></ul><ul><li>Design for greater fluidity and connection between the formal and experiential curriculum </li></ul><< e-portfolios >>
  17. 17. What are the shared and salient features of participatory cultures in Web-based environments? Jenkins, et. al., Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (MacArthur Foundation, 2006) wikipedia Video gaming communities grass roots organizations fan sites
  18. 18. Participatory Culture of the Web <ul><li>Features of participatory culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low barriers to entry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong support for sharing one’s contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal mentorship, experienced to novice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members feel a sense of connection to each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students feel a sense of ownership of what is being created </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong collective sense that something is at stake </li></ul></ul>Jenkins, et. al., Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (MacArthur Foundation, 2006)
  19. 19. The Formal Curriculum Informal Learning Participatory culture High impact practices Experiential Co-curriculum
  20. 20. The Formal Curriculum Informal Learning Participatory culture High impact practices Experiential Co-curriculum Can we continue to operate on the assumption that the formal curriculum is the center of the undergraduate experience?
  21. 21. The Formal Curriculum Informal Learning Participatory culture High impact practices Experiential Co-curriculum The Intermediate and the Integrative
  22. 22. John Seely Brown: Practice to Content content practice From John Seely Brown, “Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0”
  23. 23. The Formal Curriculum Informal Learning Participatory culture High impact practices Experiential Co-curriculum Where and how does one “learn-to-be,” inside and outside the formal curriculum?
  24. 24. NOVICE MIRACLE EXPERT product product Connecting Intermediate Processes to Practice
  25. 25. evidence of process Connecting Intermediate Processes to Practice LEARNING processes NOVICE processes EXPERT product practice LEARNING processes LEARNING processes
  26. 26. How can we better understand these intermediate processes? How might we design to foster and capture them? evidence of process Connecting Intermediate Processes to Practice LEARNING processes Our learning environments are rapidly expanding the ways we can make the intermediate visible… NOVICE processes EXPERT practice LEARNING processes LEARNING processes
  27. 27. Making Intermediate Thinking Visible
  28. 28. Making Intermediate Thinking Visible
  29. 29. Making Intermediate Thinking Visible
  30. 30. Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University derekbruff.com
  31. 31. Derek Bruff (Vanderbilt University) <ul><li>Bruff’s remapping of Cliff Atkinson’s uses of Backchannel: </li></ul><ul><li>Note taking </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Commenting </li></ul><ul><li>Amplifying </li></ul><ul><li>Asking Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Helping One Another </li></ul><ul><li>Offering Suggestions </li></ul><ul><li>Building community </li></ul><ul><li>Opening the Classroom </li></ul>derekbruff.com
  32. 32. How can we better understand these intermediate processes? How do these processes serve as a bridge from novice processes to expert practice? Connecting Intermediate Processes to Practice Social media and intermediate thinking processes Note taking Sharing Resources Commenting Amplifying Asking Questions Helping One Another Offering Suggestions Building community Opening the Classroom NOVICE processes EXPERT practice
  33. 33. On the use of Twitter in the classroom (Mark Sample, GMU—after Rick Reo, GMU) “ Twitter is a Snark Valve” http://www.samplereality.com/
  34. 34. Michael Smith & Ali Erkan, Ithaca College <ul><li>Using Wiki’s to teach history </li></ul><ul><li>Students work in collaborative teams to write history wiki-texts on subjects that interest them in historical context </li></ul>
  35. 35. Bottleneck(s) in History <ul><li>Students often have difficulty understanding that history is about constructing an interpretation based on multiple sources and perspectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They often have trouble making connections between specific details and broader context </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Michael Smith & Ali Erkan, Ithaca College
  37. 37. Michael Smith & Ali Erkan, Ithaca College
  38. 38. Michael Smith & Ali Erkan, Ithaca College “ How can students be engaged so that there is meaning in the structure of wikis they produce?” “ If there is meaning in the structure of student wikis, how can it be harvested and, subsequently, analyzed? “ Thin Slicing”?
  39. 39. How can we better understand these intermediate processes? How might we design to foster and capture them? Connecting Intermediate Processes to Expert Practice The places we can look for captures of learning are expanding rapidly… How do you capture the relationship between intermediate engagement and intellectual development? Evidence of gen ed goal? LEARNING processes NOVICE processes EXPERT practice
  40. 40. The Formal Curriculum Informal Learning Participatory culture High impact practices Experiential Co-curriculum Intermediate  --------------------------  Integrative
  41. 41. ePortfolio as Social Pedagogy Collaborative Integrative Interactive Recursive Embodied Adaptive
  42. 42. Connecting through ePortfolio Student Student Faculty & Staff External Audiences Across Disciplines Across Semesters Academic Curriculum Lived Curriculum
  43. 43. ePortfolios as tools and practices for integrating Connect to Learning (FIPSE)
  44. 44. Second Wave of the Learning Paradigm <ul><li>Active Learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory/ knowing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience / doing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrative Learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory/ knowing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience/ doing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflecting / connecting </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. Reflection at the heart of ePorfolio practice
  46. 46. Dewey’s Criteria for Reflection <ul><li>Carol Rodgers has summarized Dewey’s criteria for effective reflection into these four statements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection as connection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection as systematic and disciplined </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection as social pedagogy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection and personal growth </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Reflection as Connection <ul><li>(1) Reflection is a meaning-making process that moves a learner from one experience into the next with a deeper understanding of its relationship with and connections to other experiences and ideas. It is the thread that makes continuity of learning possible. </li></ul>
  48. 48. Exp Exp Exp Exp
  49. 49. Exp Exp Exp Exp Reflection
  50. 50. Exp Exp Exp Exp Reflection Reflection
  51. 51. Exp Exp Exp Exp Reflection Reflection Reflection
  52. 52. Exp Exp Exp Exp Reflection Reflection Reflection Prior Learning (Experience & Theory)
  53. 53. Exp Exp Exp Exp Reflection Reflection Reflection Prior Learning (Experience & Theory) Making Meaning Integration
  54. 54. (2) Reflection as Systematic & Disciplined
  55. 55. (2) Reflection as systematic and disciplined inquiry Exp Exp Exp Exp Reflection Reflection Reflection Prior Learning (Experience & Theory) Making Meaning Integration
  56. 56. (3) Reflection as Social Pedagogy <ul><li>Reflection needs to happen in community, in interaction with others. </li></ul>
  57. 57. (4) Reflection and Personal Growth <ul><li>Reflection requires attitudes that value the personal and intellectual growth of oneself and others </li></ul>
  58. 58. Three Rivers CC (Nursing)
  59. 59. In search of effective practices of reflection… Reflection as professional development: iterative program-level design N101 N102 N201 N203 N205 <ul><li>Description of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on goals & outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Self-evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly comparative </li></ul><ul><li>Social at all stages </li></ul>Three Rivers Community College
  60. 60. Foundational Description of experience setting up comparison with other work “ Backward design” of reflective practice implies that faculty think forward and together: “All clinical faculty promote development of reflective skills.” Three Rivers CC (Nursing )
  61. 61. Three Rivers CC: Iterative design “ The assignment builds upon the semester previous with a focus in development of their professional voice .”
  62. 62. Three Rivers CC: Making reflection “social” and public
  63. 63. Three Rivers CC: Making reflection “social” from the beginning Reflection as social pedagogy begins with entry level courses “ Students write a letter to future students of the course”
  64. 64. Virginia Tech’s SERVE Living Community
  65. 65. Virginia Tech’s SERVE Living Community “ SERVE community members are encouraged to be active through both service and reflection . In their portfolios, you will find detailed experiences of their engagement as well as reflective pieces synthesizing their journeys ” (VT ePortfolio page) Co-curricular engagement portfolios
  66. 66. Comprehensive Reflection Assignment Comprehensive Reflection Assignment
  67. 67. “ Final Exam Replacement” – ePortfolio Assembly, Comprehensive Reflection, and Letter to Self (200/1000 total points) <ul><li>Step II - Comprehensive Reflection (150 points) </li></ul><ul><li>Your comprehensive reflection entry will be the home page for the “Synthesis and Reflection” tab. This final paper should demonstrate your ability to reflect critically on the whole of the class (readings, discussions, projects, experiences ) and articulate how your views and understanding has progressed. This comprehensive paper is a synthesis of both the theoretical and practical constructs of reflection, dialogue, group process, service, and leadership . Look to the “course objectives” outlined in the syllabus as one possible checklist of tracking potential learning and reflecting on the course. More specifically, the paper should include exploration of some of the following questions: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>What are some critical components of community building? </li></ul><ul><li>How h as your understanding of “the call to service,” “citizenship,” and/or “democracy” evolved over the course . Include relevant and updated pieces from your “My ‘why’” assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Provide concrete examples of particular experiences, discussions, or readings that illustrate areas of learning or personal growth </li></ul><ul><li>How has your service personally impacted you ? What did you learn about the social issues being addressed at your site? </li></ul><ul><li>How has the study of social change and the change lab activity s haped you ? How might you consider using some of these experiences/studies to help you in future pursuits? </li></ul><ul><li>Step III – Letter to Self (25 points) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>It is the end of the semester, and you have just finished your comprehensive reflection. This is your last bit of work before you can close the book on this class and your first semester here at VT. Write a letter to your future self (the one who, presumably, will spend the winter break enjoying some much deserved relaxation. Catch this future self up on all you’ve accomplished and give him/her some direction into your favorite parts of your ePortfolio, some learning points / experiences / reflections you want to highlight . Then take a minute to give some direction on where you would like to go for your second semester here at VT. Is there some new project you would like to initiate to address some social issue or meet some student need? Is there someone you met this semester whom you need to get to know better or want to learn more from? Whatever it may be, big or small, take this opportunity to jump-start yourself into action. </li></ul>Reflect critically on the whole class (readings, discussions, projects, experiences) and articulate how your views and understanding has progressed. This paper is a synthesis of both theoretical and practical constructs of reflection, dialogue, group process, service, and leadership How has your understanding … evolved? How has… it impacted you? What did you learn? How has it…shaped you?
  68. 68. Dewey’s Criteria for Reflection <ul><li>Carol Rogers has summarized Dewey’s criteria for effective reflection into these four statements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection as connection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection as systematic and disciplined </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection as social pedagogy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection and personal growth </li></ul></ul>
  69. 69. Carol Rodgers on Reflection: Deepening Developmental Cycle
  70. 70. The Big Finish
  71. 71. Synthesis: the “problem of learning” in the post-course era the Intermediate & the Integrative Social Learning Deepening Cycles of Reflection
  72. 72. Making Thinking Visible and the Deepening Reflection Cycle Note taking Sharing Resources Commenting Amplifying Asking Questions Helping One Another Offering Suggestions Building community Opening the Classroom Intermediate  --------------------------  Integrative
  73. 73. The Formal Curriculum Informal Learning Participatory culture High impact practices Experiential Co-curriculum Intermediate  --------------------------  Integrative
  74. 74. [email_address] Thanks to: Ali Erkan and Michael Smith, Ithaca College John Seely Brown Mark Sample, GMU Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt Bret Eynon and Judit Torok and the Connect to Learning Team at LGCC Trent Batson (AAEEBEL, Connect to Learning) Three Rivers CC Virginia Tech ePortfolio and SERVE team The Teagle Foundation Heidi Elmendorf, Georgetown My colleagues at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship cndls.georgetown.edu

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