[Portfolio] learning activities: input from portfolio community

Keli Sato Amann kamann at stanford.edu
Thu Apr 8 15:44:14 PDT 2010

Sent to pedagogy, resending to portfolio lists in case there is interest here

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: kamann at stanford.edu
To: "pedagogy" <pedagogy at collab.sakaiproject.org>, "sakai-ux" <sakai-ux at collab.sakaiproject.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 4:58:34 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: learning activities: input from portfolio community

Over the last month, we've been writing scenarios for 7 of the persona we developed regarding how they plan their courses, how they create activities, how they deploy those activities, and how they receive student work and give grades and/or feedback. These can be found at http://confluence.sakaiproject.org/display/UX/Requirements+Definition.  From those scenarios, we are pulling out requirements, or the specific data and functions users have to see or do to accomplish what is described. Our next step will be to describe the functional elements that can represent those requirements and how they might be organized and related in a framework.  Because our requirements were gathered in context, it will help us to understand which elements are common and which are specialized to certain persona or certain times.

Before we moved on, we did some outreach to the portfolio community (at least those subscribed to pedagogy) about whether we were missing requirements that were important to them.  The work students produce by completing learning activities can become part of their portfolio, and although we are NOT designing the next generation portfolio, we did want to know what hooks were necessary for such student work to be linked to a portfolio. The responses to my list post indicate that student work needs to be taggable. The question of what is tagged (the activity or only what the student produces) and by whom (the instructor or the student) is something for the portfolio community to talk about. Regardless of the answer, from a UI perspective, adding in tagging would probably not be a major disruption to the interface, so I don't think we need the answer now.

However, I'm learning that gathering student work is just one aspect of portfolios; there is also back and forth between students and their advisers about whether a piece of work is an adequate representation of student achievement. Michigan has told us that at least at first glance our workflows don't reflect that. They described a nursing student having to reflect on their clinic experience and how it tied to two competencies and an extended exchange between the instructor/mentor and the student about their reflection. None of our 7 persona encounter this.

However, we still haven't developed scenarios for the eighth instructor persona, Jan, the nursing practicum coordinator; I suspect that the workflow above could be realistically attributed to her. Frankly, we had set Jan aside because her needs are the least familiar to those of us working on the scenarios but I think we need to take her on before moving on. The reason we created personas was so we could have discussion of whether they could realistically share certain views or if their needs were so specialized that doing so would compromise their work. It could be that Jan has specialized views, but not addressing her before we move on to design increases the likelihood that she'll end up being siloed, whether it's actually necessary or not. And it could be that meeting Jan's needs is also useful to the other persona.

We are going to be reaching out to a few members of the community more familiar with portfolio use for health sciences to help us flesh out Jan.

In addition, we could use some help fleshing out these aspects of these persona:

-Graduate requirements: Evan, the M.A. Ed candidate, might have to create a portfolio of his work to graduate. The work he does in Bob's class would become a part of that. If so, what more would Bob need to do to support this that he's not already doing? Who else needs a view into Evan's work? And is the portfolio that Evan builds significantly different than one that Jan's nursing students need to create
-Undergraduate requirements: undergraduates at certain schools may need to demonstrate certain competencies through their coursework to graduate, either as a general requirement or specific to their degree. Would the work in Terry, Denise, or Landon classes be a part of that and if so, what do they need to do to support that, if anything? Is the work they do different, or the same?
-Accreditation requirements: Chikako's language program is undergoing accreditation. What does her department have to pull together this year? What does this imply for Chikako?

If there is anyone familiar with these situations, please let me know and I'll try to set up some brainstorming calls next week.

I realize that this will not cover the domain of portfolios, which is rich in and of itself. However, it hopefully will cover how instructors need to create activities or give feedback to student work if that work will/may become part of a student portfolio.

If people in the portfolio community see value in developing and using persona sets as a tool, feel free to use them. Persona sets are typically specific, since they are based off of interviews that explore a specific domain. The instructor persona we developed are distinct from each other in ways that are useful to exploring this domain and thus wouldn't necessarily be useful to someone exploring how instructors gather and use scholarly resources in their courses (Michigan is developing their own persona set for that). I think certain aspects of portfolio work can be covered by the persona set we developed, but that might not be true for all aspects. For instance 
a) We don't know if there are distinct situations in the portfolio realm other than the ones above
b) We don't have personas covering roles like administrators or mentors/advisers who need to review student work

This is beyond the scope of what we are doing, though we are interested in following that discussion.

Thank you,
Keli Amann
User Experience Specialist
Academic Computing Specialist, Stanford University

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