Friday, August 28, 2009

Inside Higher Ed's Blog U: The Importance of Getting It Wrong

Inside Higher Ed's Blog U: Technology and Learning: A space for conversation and debate about learning and technology
The Importance of Getting It Wrong
August 27, 2009

This posting highlights an instructor's experience introducing "disruptive innovations" into an introductory sociology course. Two lessons learned that relate to ePortfolio implementations:

"The first thing learned from this experience was that when having classes create media projects (as opposed to traditional papers) it is necessary to set very hard limits on the numbers of these projects...the time and energy spent producing the media projects crowded out time and energy to work with the curriculum."

"The second lesson I learned was that in introducing new teaching methods it is necessary to enforce limits on students technological use, as they will gravitate to the more robust and time intensive tools if you let them."

Article: New Literacy and ePortfolio Audiences

Clive Thompson on the New Literacy
Wired Magazine
August 24, 2009

This brief article includes an interview with Professor Andrea Lunsford and a compelling conclusion that has obvious implications for ePortfolio reflections and audiences.

We think of writing as either good or bad. What today's young people know is that knowing who you're writing for and why you're writing might be the most crucial factor of all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Save the Date: Seminar on Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio

The Centre for Recording Achievement, An Associate Partner of the Higher Education Academy (UK)

in association with:
The Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research
The National Action Research Network (NARN)
The Scottish PDP Forum

The third international residential seminar

‘Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio.’
Nottingham[1], UK, 26-8th April 2010

The Context:
In the UK the implementation of Personal Development Planning (PDP)[2], reinforced in the revised QAA Guidelines (2009), represents a unique teaching and learning project and a ‘world first’; the introduction of a particular means of supporting student learning by cross-sectoral agreement. Many UK Higher Education Institutions have chosen to support PDP through an e-Portfolio system.

This approach is highly congruent with other initiatives across the world; rapid development in the use of e-Portfolios in global Higher Education has given rise to exploration of how such tools work to support learning and progression.

Consultation work has served to confirm the importance of developing an enhanced evidence base, through robust evaluation and research, to inform the effective implementation of PDP and e-Portfolio practice. For both we need greater attention to more systematic evaluation material that enables decisions to be made about the contribution of such approaches to:
  • student learning (and particularly to moves to support more personalised learning);
  • student autonomy, self-efficacy, self identity, intentionality and life-skills;
  • employability;
  • attainment;
  • inclusion
  • support for off-campus/work-based learners, and
  • self presentation for transition.
Following on from the successful second international seminar held in Oxford in 2006, this event will bring together leading practitioners and researchers to further develop a community of practice that will:
  • share critically evaluated practice amongst e-Portfolio and PDP practitioners
  • Showcase work undertaken by the National Action Research Network for PDP and e-Portfolio and the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research
  • Build research capacity by supporting emergent research and researchers
  • Encourage a critique of current research, monitoring and evaluation practices
  • Facilitate further discussion of appropriate research and evaluation methods
  • Contribute a robust evidence-base to underpin the effective implementation and use of e-Portfolios and PDP
The event is purposefully intended to be of interest to:
  • educational researchers
  • e-Portfolio and PDP project leaders and practitioners
  • e-Portfolio and PDP practitioner-researchers
  • educational developers
  • teaching fellows
  • HE learning and teaching managers
It will be intentionally inclusive, in that submissions and participation are invited from established and emergent researchers. Studies employing various methodologies are welcome, from case studies of individual students and cohorts of staff to larger, cross-institutional studies linked to retention and graduation data.

A call for contributions can shortly be issues. Proposals can take the following forms:
  1. Trigger Papers – these half hour sessions will briefly synthesis current research, raise a key research and evaluation question, propose a novel research methodology or present research in progress for discussion.
  2. Research reports – these half hour sessions will report [20 mins report plus questions] on completed PDP and e-Portfolio research and evaluation projects addressing one or a number of the themes listed above. Where possible we will seek to combine such reports into longer symposia.
  3. Keynote contributions – synthesising and overarching plenary elements.

[1] A modern conference facility easily accessible by train, car and air.. See
[2] Defined as ‘a means by which students can monitor, build and reflect upon their personal, academic and career development’ (Quality Assurance Agency 2009).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Conference: AAC&U's Personal and Social Responsibility Meeting

Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility: Deepening Student and Campus Commitments
October 1-3, 2009
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Program (pdf)
Register now online

Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility: Deepening Student and Campus Commitments will bring together faculty, student affairs educators, academic administrators, students, and others to explore how to move education for personal and social responsibility to the center of institutional culture and academic practice. The program (pdf) will feature promising practices that develop students' civic engagement and social responsibility in both a local and global context; personal and academic integrity; ability to examine and understand differing (and often competing) perspectives; and ethical and moral reasoning.

The conference will feature new research based on survey responses from 24,000 students and 9,000 campus professionals at twenty-three colleges and universities on the availability of learning opportunities for social and personal responsibility. The research revealed that, although there was overwhelming consensus that education for personal and social responsibilities should be a goal of a college education, far fewer respondents strongly agreed that their institutions had opportunities for such learning.

As stated by Anne Colby and William Sullivan (both of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) in an article they co-wrote for the winter 2009 issue of AAC&U's Liberal Education:
"The relative lack of institutional investment in students' personal and social responsibility reflects the widespread assumption that academic content knowledge and the intellectual skill of analytic or critical thinking...are the overriding aims of higher education and that the development of personal and social responsibility is only distantly connected with those aims...[W]e take issue with both of these assumptions, arguing that colleges should aim to teach students how to use knowledge and criticism not only as ends in themselves but also as means toward responsible engagement with the life of their times."

From the program, here's a description of a poster presentation that may be of interest to EPAC members:

Curricular and Co-Curricular Designs and Pedagogies
Using Meaningful Reflection to Enhance Learning for Social Responsibility
Susan M. Mountin, Director of the Manresa Project, Kim Jensen Bohat, Director of Service Learning, and Terence Miller, Director, Office of International Education—all of Marquette University

John Dewey said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” Large numbers of students each year participate in volunteer community service programs, curricular service learning, and immersion experiences, both domestically and internationally, but the service in itself is often not a sufficient tool for advancing education for personal and social responsibility. How do campus leaders go about creating time for reflection in and out of the classroom? Why is reflection important in the moral and ethical development of students? How do faculty and staff teach the skills of reflection in a culture filled with noise? How does reflection shape attitudes, dispositions, and behaviors? These questions shape this poster presentation, which will explore meaningful reflection as a key method for deepening students’ social responsibility. The poster will feature: (a) evolving definitions of reflection and how it can enhance learning; (b) models for good pedagogical practice steeped in reflection used at Marquette University (e.g., classroom reflections including writing, WIKIs, e-portfolios, and silence; out-of classroom reflections for service learners on topics such as diversity, understanding social injustice, connecting service and course concepts, and exploring vocation as a result of the experience); and (c) pre- and post-service reflection activities for students in global immersion and academic service learning experiences. The poster will also feature creative exercises which can be used to surface students’ ethical and moral values in relation to their service experiences.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Resource: RSC Midlands Eportfolio Group webcast (2009.07.16)

Kevin Brace who maintains the Midlands ePortfolio Group listserv in the UK ( organized a webinar event using Instant Presenter as the delivery platform in July 2009 featuring speakers talking about their experiences from recent eportfolio pilots. According to the description, this short online workshop focused on a number of different Midlands learning providers who have been involved first hand with the
piloting of eportfolios.

Paraphrasing the description of the session: Presenters were given a slot to discuss their project outcomes. The aim was to make this a very interactive and focussed session, so each presenter was followed immediately by a Q&A session. A selection of pilot projects covering differing
platforms, target user groups, and project aims were procured. The intention was to share the highs and lows of piloting an eportfolio system/process to allow others to benefit from the piloteers experiences.

For more information on the webcast and associated resources:

Sounds like a great model for EPAC...what do you think?

Social Media Seminar Series

Upcoming Seminars
September 8, 2009: 3:00 PM Eastern USA
October 13, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA
November 10, 2009: 3:00 PM Eastern USA
December 8, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA

AACE Global U,, is a continually developing initiative intended to provide learning and professional development opportunities on the latest research, trends, and best practices related to learning and technology.

The seminar series, led by George Siemens and David Cormier, is without fee and will include live interactive sessions, in addition to discussions with guest speakers and participants. All sessions are co-sponsored by and archived in the Education & Information Technology Library ( )

Social media and emerging technologies are gaining increased attention for use in education. The list of tools grows daily. Examples: blogs, wikis, Ning, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, cloud computing, surface computing, mobile learning, and so on.

"Social Media" seminars explore the impact of new technologies, research, and related projects.

To receive event updates, signup at:
Seminar Recordings:
Seminar Community:

Call for Chapters: Emerging Technologies for Learning: Impact on Cognition and Culture

Emerging Technologies for Learning: Impact on Cognition and Culture
Dr. Madhumita Bhattacharya, Athabasca University, Canada & Massey University, New Zealand
Dr. Nada Mach, California State University, Dominguez Hills and
Dr. Mahnaz Moallem, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Published by: AACE--Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Distributed by: EdITLib--Educational & Information Technology Digital Library
This book will encompass the technological influence on learning and cognition from a cultural prospective. This book weaves together different kinds of learning technologies with the thread of cultural diversity to meet the local and global educational needs. For example, one can take the cultural context embedded in the “learning objects” and use it to teach about that culture. Different chapters under each section of the book will deal with different issues related to that particular section topic. Case studies will be included to illustrate educational changes that have occurred with technological advancements. Critical reflection, analysis and suggested research approaches will propose ways and means to handle the present and indicate trends for future.

The book will include the latest developments in education, particularly emerging technologies and their impact on culture and cognition. It will list successful examples of student modeling for multimedia learning environment design, instructional delivery systems, and applications of technology where computer and mobile technologies play an indispensable role. The book will also present discussions of innovative ideas, as well as issues related to learning, teaching and assessment , work place learning, the roles of current and future technologies in learning.


  • September 10, 2009: Short abstract of 150-200 submission (via wikispace)
  • September 25, 2009: Extended abstract submission (via email at )
  • Chapter proposals submitted for the second call could be presented at the AACE SITE conference in San Diego in March 2010.
  • October 2, 2009: Notification of Acceptance (by email)

Thought provoking post on "Reflective Twitter" from the POD list

Thoughts anyone?

Thu, 06 Aug 2009 17:07:00 EDT

Reflection (or do you spell it reflexion?) - now there's an inspirational thought and one where I have to own up to a technological thought or two. Quite some time ago now I was discussing the concept of reflective log with a Math professor at a
residential (= boot camp). He had already sat through my standard lecture and the discussion in the bar got him no further until he turned to leave in order to go and contribute to his blog. That proved a turning point in the discussion.

However, I have some concerns about the directions that many of us are going with reflective logs or portfolios. A colleague of mine sought to improve students' reflection by providing a high degree of scaffolding - this improved the quality of the work that she received but I am concerned that the students merely responded to the questions provided and didn't actually reflect. I guess that over time we have to remove the scaffold and hope that the edifice retains the same quality.
Bland Tomkinson
University Adviser on Pedagogic Development

Any views expressed in this email are personal to me and not necessarily those of the university.