[Portfolio] [DG: Teaching & Learning] [DG: User Experience] Teaching & Learning] Learning Activities and Portfolios: time for a talk?

David Barroso david at asic.udl.cat
Fri Mar 26 00:35:03 PDT 2010


Very interesting message, Lucile.

The loft metaphor is excellent.

And the NYU concept too:

- Portfolio in the course site
- The tagging approach instead of using matrices,
- Creation of the portfolio's as learning exercise.

Would it be possible to take a look at Simonides ?

Best regards,

David Barroso Iglesias   david at asic.udl.cat
Universitat de Lleida
Àrea de sistemes d'Informació i Comunicacions
Cap de projectes interns

University of Lleida
Information and Communication Systems Service
Internal project manager

Tlf: +34 973 702040
Fax: +34 973 702130

On 03/25/2010 07:48 PM, Lucile G Appert wrote:
> As I have watched this discussion (along with those around the spreadsheet and portfolios in general) develop, I’ve been feeling more and more the need for some clarity about what Sakai 3 is and how that differs from Sakai 2 as well as standard LMS. In an earlier post John Norman mentioned that NYU is looking at a different approach to portfolios, one that keeps them within the system where course and project sites are located, and I’d like to share what that looks like as well as our rationale for adopting it.
> First, a few observations about the conversations at hand. At NYU, we are getting ready to do the first Sakai 3 pilot, a QA environment for faculty that opens March 31. What we know about Sakai 3, and in fact the reason we were able to put together a collaboration between ITS and academic units to develop it, is that it gets rid of many of the issues that hamper standard LMS development. Here’s why: instead of “baking in” a lot of features/tools, it allows users (in every category from institutions to individuals) to incorporate these as needed in the form of widgets or templates that do not affect the basic system architecture. I often use this analogy -- Sakai 3 is a like a loft into which users can deploy and retract folding walls (templates, widgets) to make rooms as needed. While the loft helps support these walls, building or taking them down does not affect the loft's structure.
> One thing that has puzzled me about the some of the user needs discussions is that many issues seem to actually be template and widget issues that can be solved on the school, department, or even individual level. A small group of these needs will likely influence larger architectural decisions such as how tags or groups are handled (internally or externally), or permissions, and the persona discussions are important for bringing that out. However, it might be better to foreground that focus so that people don’t get distracted from the real discussion.
> In the case of our Simonides portfolio tool, it is embedded in just one page in a Sakai 3 site owned by a student and to which his or her advisors/professors have access. In addition to the option of having a portfolio site, we will also give everyone at NYU a Networking project site with an NYU Network page as the default opening page and the potential to create other pages.
> The basis of our portfolio is a visual organization plan (with a selection of templates) that overlays a traditional file structure.  On every level there is the opportunity for instructor/advisor comment. Our goal is to give students a space to save all the materials they consider important from their course and co-curricular work and to be able to rework them into new documents in the Simonides site using the standard page creation tool. Moreoer, we believe letting students create the portfolio’s organizational structure for themselves can be as much of a learning exercise and diagnostic tool as the items they are arranging.
> This freer structure means that we are not concerned with “baking in” assessment tools like matrices. The truth is, with a good tagging tool, you don’t need to focus on matrices and where to build them in. You just need to focus on developing the meta tool and then let people customize and deploy it for varied purposes.
> In fact, building complicated assessment matrices into the system may be counterproductive.  For example, NYU’s Nursing School is part of our Sakai 3 initiative and while they want a portfolio-type tool geared to the accreditation standards their students must demonstrate, experience has taught them that they also need a flexible way to generate the matrices for assessment. Accreditation standards change, sometimes from year to year, and it makes more sense for students to have a body of tagged work from which they can generate assessment matrices than to build matrices into the system and have to change the whole system each time standards change.
> We’ve also made our Simonides portfolio into a Collections Widget for Sakai 3 that anyone can pull into a site and create a folder-structured collection within. That means that you can actually model mini-portfolios and have students create them in classes.
> The upshot of this example is that in Sakai 3, portfolios do not have to be their own add-on, auxiliary spaces that require deeply customized tools and practices. Rather, they, like course sites and many other previously “specialized” functionalities, can coexist in the same basic academic network.
> Intellectually, they already do, and the time is ripe for a technology like Sakai 3 that reflects that continuum rather than disrupts it.
> Best,
> Lucy
> ____________________
> Lucy Appert, PhD
> Associate Director of Educational Technology
> Liberal Studies Program
> New York University
> 726 Broadway, Rm. 632
> New York, NY 10003
> (212) 998-7168
> lucy.appert at nyu.edu
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Michael Feldstein<michael.feldstein at oracle.com>
> Date: Friday, March 19, 2010 2:36 pm
> Subject: Re: [DG: Teaching&  Learning] [DG: User Experience] Teaching&  Learning] Learning Activities and Portfolios: time for a talk?
> To: Jacques Raynauld<jacques.raynauld at hec.ca>, pedagogy at collab.sakaiproject.org, sakai-ux at collab.sakaiproject.org, portfolio at collab.sakaiproject.org
>> On the one hand, I think supporting these sorts of rich uses is
>> important. On the other hand, too heavy an emphasis on these use cases
>> is exactly what has killed many an ePortfolio initiative (both
>> development and adoption). In my opinion, competency/learning
>> objective assignment should be a pluggable service. Schools that need
>> only a simple version should get the simple version. Schools that want
>> something richer (and therefore more complex), should be able to have
>> that too. But let's not design our entire ePortfolio vision around the
>> most elaborate and difficult to implement scenarios that often require
>> unrealistically large changes in the academic culture of a school.
>>   Given the high number of abject failures and relative dearth of
>> smashing successes in the ePortfolio space, I think it is critical
>> that we stick to articulating first principles and identifying
>> fundamental building blocks that could be scaled to a rich and complex
>> evaluation environment but don't assume or require it.
>>   - m
>>    Oracle Email Signature Logo
>>   Michael Feldstein | Principal Product Manager| 818-817-2925
>>   Oracle Higher Education Product Development
>>   25 Christian Hill Road | Great Barrington, MA 01230
>>   -----Original Message-----
>>   From: Jacques Raynauld [mailto:jacques.raynauld at hec.ca]
>>   Sent: Friday, March 19, 2010 2:22 PM
>>   To: pedagogy at collab.sakaiproject.org;
>> sakai-ux at collab.sakaiproject.org; portfolio at collab.sakaiproject.org
>>   Subject: Re: [DG: User Experience] [DG: Teaching&  Learning] Teaching
>> &  Learning] Learning Activities and Portfolios: time for a talk?
>>   To all of you that have contributed to the interesting discussion on
>> Learning Activities and Portfolios: time for a talk?
>>   1.  I certainly approuve of the idea of  integrating more closely the
>>   LMS and Portfolios systems.   At the Université de Montréal and also
>>   some  European universities (Lausanne), we see new specialized master
>> programs being redesigned from the start  using a completely
>> integrated Module/Portfolio approach with a strong program
>> competency/learning outcomes flavour.  A typical module would include
>> learning outcomes, learning activites (readings, exercices, etc.) and
>> broad type assignments with reflexive components normally found in
>> portfolios (matrix views are also planned).  This is not the future,
>> it is being designed right now with few tools available to support
>> these approaches.
>>   2.  People have mentioned some tools (goal management) that could be
>> used to link assigments or activities to learning
>> outcomes/competencies.  It is a good  start but we need to approach
>> this problem in a much more comprehensive manner.  In some work we are
>> currently doing for École Polytechnique in Montreal in the context of
>> the CDIO Syllabus (a detailed competency-based description for
>> engineering), we face the following challenge. For some courses, the
>> broad learning outcomes/competencies (say level 1 granularity) are
>> going to be set by the instructor or most likely by the university at
>> the course level.  Based on a list of pre-assigned  learning
>> outcomes/competencies, instructors could set finer grain learning
>> outcomes/competencies (say level 1.1 or 1.1.1) which are are
>> pedagogically more relevant for the activities or assignments
>> undertaken.  This is the top-dowm approach.  Another possibility is
>> the bottom-up approach :  competencies/learning outcomes could be set
>> at the activities/assignments level and then added up automatically at
>> the course level.
>>   3. This kind of more complex learning outcomes/competencies
>> integration might not be usual now but it very likely to sprawl in the
>> near future.
>>   The CDIO initiative for engineering (http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc44_en.htm),
>>   some U.S. initiatives including the Lumina Foundation project in
>> Indiana  and some others states
>> (http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Tuning-American-Higher-Ed/6774/), all
>> point to some expanded functionalities that should be part of Sakai 3,
>> most likely in a structured-page environment.
>>   This is a very interesting challenge for the community.
>>   Jacques Raynauld
>>   HEC Montréal
>>   Open Syllabus team
>>   Yes, it is great to see this conversation develop and to see the
>> direction it is taking. An LMS that allows for the types of functions
>> that have traditionally been associated only with portfolios would be
>> a wonderful development for us and probably a lot of other
>> institutions because it would bring in best practices like learning
>> objectives tied to assessment through rubrics or other methods and
>> make them more common and central to teaching and learning. Learning
>> activities like reflection and storage, selection and presentation of
>> student work could be a more integral part of the learning experience
>> for more students. Instead of having two separate systems (LMS&
>> portfolio) to work through, both students and faculty would simply
>> learn and use one unified robust and flexible system.
>>   The institution would also benefit by only having one system to fund
>> and maintain plus the system would offer the ability for the
>> institution to gather institutional level reporting data for
>> accreditation and other administrative assessment needs. That may be a
>> lot to expect at this point, but it can be a goal we work toward if we
>> think it is a worthwhile idea.
>>   -Salwa
>>   Salwa Khan
>>   sk16 at txstate.edu
>>   Coordinator, IT Projects
>>   Instructional Technologies Support
>>   Texas State University
>>   512 245-4390
>>   ______________________________________
>>   From: pedagogy-bounces at collab.sakaiproject.org
>> [pedagogy-bounces at collab.sakaiproject.org] On Behalf Of Zaldivar, Marc
>> [mzaldiva at vt.edu]
>>   Sent: Friday, March 19, 2010 8:05 AM
>>   To: pedagogy Learning; sakai-ux; portfolio
>>   Subject: Re: Teaching&  Learning] [DG: User Experience] Learning
>> Activities and Portfolios: time for a talk?
>>   Keli, et al,
>>   This is a wonderful conversation, and I'm glad to see it shaping up
>> in such concrete detail.
>>   On 3/18/10 7:11 PM, "Keli Sato Amann"<kamann at stanford.edu>  wrote:
>>   The concern that prompted me to write was another situation: when
>> program objectives have been mapped down to a course, when those
>> objectives are actually attached to particular activities, and when an
>> activity is graded according to those objectives. In this case,
>> students don't have a choice of what maps to each aptitude--it's been
>> specified for them. The work to be featured would be chosen by the
>> instructor or department. An example might be a department that needs
>> to prove that at least 90% of their students meet certain criteria by
>> the end of the year-they use the results of certain assignments or
>> tests in particular classes to demonstrate this.
>>   Is this situation actually within the portfolio domain? Do those who
>> build portfolios need objectives mapped so discretely and for this
>> reason or is this a separate area of concern? Lynn said that stating
>> objectives for activities is a desirable thing, but that might just be
>> because it's always good for students to know why you are asking them
>> to do something and because it's always good to state objectives for
>> any project so you can measure their later success.
>>   I thought this point and question you made, Keli, was one I could
>> comment on.  I do absolutely believe the functionality underlying the
>> departmental/institutional-assessment type of portfolio is within the
>> portfolio domain.  The outputs are quite different, but the source
>> material underneath of it is the same.  A student would want to see
>> various representations of her own work, created for different
>> audiences (public and private).  Departmental administrators would
>> like to see larger collections, but often of very similar material for
>> assessment, but in more summary-based form rather than individual
>> webpages.  Teachng faculty, I find, are right between: they often want
>> to be able to access summary-type information for purposes of grading
>> and evaluation, but they enjoy the individual view of a student's
>> webpage portfolio when thinking about feedback on materials.   For me,
>> it all fits in at different levels of the same process of collect,
>> select, reflect, connect... The stude
>>    nt-level portfolios we've been discussing so far are often "guided"
>> at some level by the curriculum that the student is a part of.  For
>> some programs, that guidance is heavy-handed; for others, it's much
>> broader.  In either case, we've been encouraging programs to consider
>> three types of portfolios before deciding which arrangement of
>> tools/materials/outputs are best for them (without detail, we use
>> something like the terms "assessment portfolio," "learning portfolio"
>> and "professional development portfolio" as we discuss the arrangement
>> of tools and outputs with programs; most programs end up with a blend
>> of goals from these three).  These determine whether we feature a
>> matrix, a presentation template, develop reflection prompts or
>> evaluation/feedback forms, and all sorts of other factors of portfolio
>> deployment.
>>   I guess my point to this is that as we move forward with the notion
>> that portfolio-like activity is connected to a lot of other activity
>> in the system, then what we are thinking of is making sure that the
>> options for goal management, assignment and reflection upon
>> assignment, and sharing materials with various audiences (in various
>> presentation modes) are central to Sakai 3.  Those are at the heart of
>> all of our portfolio activity, regardless of which tools we deploy.
>> That's why tools like a blog and even tests and quizzes should
>> potentially be available as part of a group or individual's portfolio:
>> if we focus on the collection, selection, and connection of student
>> and instructor data, then we're doing portfolio, IMHO.
>>   I ultimately agree with your assertion that it's good to encourage
>> the best practice in the way the tools are put together.  Just by
>> having an optional place to connect an assignment to an institutional
>> or departmental goal would encourage many to explore the advantages of
>> this for themselves and for the students, for example.  We have a lot
>> of institutional effort being put into pedagogical training of all of
>> our faculty, so it would certainly help many of our groups support the
>> grassroots effort to improve assessment, student learning, and
>> fruitful technology adoption.
>>   Marc
>>   --
>>   Marc Zaldivar, Ph.D.
>>                 2210A Torgersen Hall
>>   Director, Virginia Tech Electronic Portfolio Initiatives
>> Blacksburg, VA 24061-0292
>>   Learning Technologies
>>              540.231.8994
>>   Virginia Tech
>>                       marcz at vt.edu
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