1. Portfolio assessment is not new to education.
Digital portfolios came into prominence in the 1990s, around the time when computers became commonplace in classrooms. David Niguidula, a pioneer in this alternative form of assessment, coined the term “digital student portfolios.” He defines them as “an online collection of student work for a particular purpose and audience.” Digital portfolios cut the distance between student thinking and evidence of learning. There is no longer a need to represent understanding through a score or a grade.
2. . The best digital portfolios are process oriented.
A myth in education is that we should only showcase student’s best artifacts of learning. We might think of an artist’s body of work when considering digital portfolios as an alternative assessment.
3. It’s not a digital portfolio unless students are in charge.
4. Digital student portfolios are about more than just assessment.
The best digital portfolio processes do more than serve as an evaluation tool. They help the student develop a stronger sense of themselves as a learner and see their growth over time, such as through a series of drafts posted toward a final project and presentation.
a learning management system (LMS) is never the solution to every problem in education. Edtech is just one part of the whole learning ecosystem and student experience.
Therefore, the next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE), as envisioned by EDUCAUSE in 2015 … Looking at the NGDLE requirements from an LMS perspective, I view the NGDLE as being about five areas: interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; accessibility and universal design.
Content can easily be exchanged between systems.
Users are able to leverage the tools they love, including discipline-specific apps.
Learning data is available to trusted systems and people who need it.
The learning environment is “future proof” so that it can adapt and extend as the ecosystem evolves.
The learning environment reflects individual preferences.
Departments, divisions, and institutions can be autonomous.
Instructors teach the way they want and are not constrained by the software design.
There are clear, individual learning paths.
Students have choice in activity, expression, and engagement.
Analytics, Advising, and Learning Assessment
Learning analytics helps to identify at-risk students, course progress, and adaptive learning pathways.
The learning environment enables integrated planning and assessment of student performance.
More data is made available, with greater context around the data.
The learning environment supports platform and data standards.
Individual spaces persist after courses and after graduation.
Learners are encouraged as creators and consumers.
Courses include public and private spaces.
Accessibility and Universal Design
Accessibility is part of the design of the learning experience.
The learning environment enables adaptive learning and supports different types of materials.
Learning design includes measurement rubrics and quality control.
The core analogy used in the NGDLE paper is that each component of the learning environment is a Lego brick:
The days of the LMS as a “walled garden” app that does everything is over.
Today many kinds of amazing learning and collaboration tools (Lego bricks) should be accessible to educators.
We have standards that let these tools (including an LMS) talk to each other. That is, all bricks share some properties that let them fit together.
Students and teachers sign in once to this “ecosystem of bricks.”
The bricks share results and data.
These bricks fit together; they can be interchanged and swapped at will, with confidence that the learning experience will continue uninterrupted.
Any “next-gen” attempt to completely rework the pedagogical model and introduce a “mash-up of whatever” to fulfil this model would fall victim to the same criticisms levied at the LMS today: there is too little time and training to expect faculty to figure out the nuances of implementation on their own.
The Lego metaphor works only if we’re talking about “old school” Lego design — bricks of two, three, and four-post pieces that neatly fit together. Modern edtech is a lot more like the modern Lego. There are wheels and rocket launchers and belts and all kinds of amazing pieces that work well with each other, but only when they are configured properly. A user cannot simply stick together different pieces and assume they will work harmoniously in creating an environment through which each student can be successful.
As the NGDLE paper states: “Despite the high percentages of LMS adoption, relatively few instructors use its more advanced features — just 41% of faculty surveyed report using the LMS ‘to promote interaction outside the classroom.'”
But this is what the next generation LMS is good at: being a central nervous system — or learning hub — through which a variety of learning activities and tools are used. This is also where the LMS needs to go: bringing together and making sense of all the amazing innovations happening around it. This is much harder to do, perhaps even impossible, if all the pieces involved are just bricks without anything to orchestrate them or to weave them together into a meaningful, personal experience for achieving well-defined learning outcomes.
Making a commitment to build easy, flexible, and smart technology
Working with colleges and universities to remove barriers to adopting new tools in the ecosystem
Standardizing the vetting of accessibility compliance (the Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner Program from the National Federation of the Blind is a great start)
Advancing standards for data exchange while protecting individual privacy
Building integrated components that work with the institutions using them — learning quickly about what is and is not working well and applying those lessons to the next generation of interoperability standards
Letting people use the tools they love [SIC] and providing more ways for nontechnical individuals (including students) to easily integrate new features into learning activities
My note: something just refused to be accepted at SCSU
Technologists are often very focused on the technology, but the reality is that the more deeply and closely we understand the pedagogy and the people in the institutions — students, faculty, instructional support staff, administrators — the better suited we are to actually making the tech work for them.
Under the Hood of a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment in Progress
The challenge is that although 85 percent of faculty use a campus learning management system (LMS),1 a recent Blackboard report found that, out of 70,000 courses across 927 North American institutions, 53 percent of LMS usage was classified as supplemental(content-heavy, low interaction) and 24 percent as complementary (one-way communication via content/announcements/gradebook).2 Only 11 percent were characterized as social, 10 percent as evaluative (heavy use of assessment), and 2 percent as holistic (balanced use of all previous). Our FYE course required innovating beyond the supplemental course-level LMS to create a more holistic cohort-wide NGDLE in order to fully support the teaching, learning, and student success missions of the program.The key design goals for our NGDLE were to:
Create a common platform that could deliver a standard curriculum and achieve parity in all course sections using existing systems and tools and readily available content
Capture, store, and analyze any generated learner data to support learning assessment, continuous program improvement, and research
Develop reports and actionable analytics for administrators, advisors, instructors, and students
NOTE: This webinar will be recorded and everyone who registers will receive a link after the event; in other words, for our Australian and New Zealand colleagues, no need to get up in the wee hours of the morning to participate!
Following substantial discussions with colleagues in the US and UK, we are pleased to announce our first collaborative event: Recognising and presenting student learning in the 21st century’: An international webinar on emerging practice in higher education. This session is co-sponsored by the Association for Authentic, Experiential Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA), and the EPAC ePortfolio Community of Practice.
Description: It is increasingly recognised that:
the learning and achievement of our students is not limited to their academic studies;
institutions need to make decisions about the extent to which they wish to recognise and value such ‘lifewide learning’ and achievements as part of the statements they make about the achievements of their graduates;
the use of ‘richer records’ of student achievements formatively can support processes of reviewing and planning, and help students set targets and take increasing responsibility for their own development;
students may need support in making use of such records with third parties such as potential employers;
in a digital world the digital presentation of such records, and the supporting evidence for these, will be increasingly important.
‘Work in progress’ on this agenda is occurring in multiple locations, including the USA (the Comprehensive Student Record project), the UK (the Higher Education Achievement Report), and Australia and New Zealand (the Graduation Statement).
Key contributors to the webinar will be:
Cathy Buyarski, IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) and Helen L. Chen, Stanford University, AAEEBL and EPAC representing their institutional work and that of the broader AACRAO/NASPA Comprehensive Student Record project and national initiatives around emerging credentials in the USA.
Rob Ward, Centre for Recording Achievement on the national picture in the UK, with Trish Lunt, University of Liverpool and David Stanbury, University of Essex presenting perspectives on institutional practice.
Each will respond to questions and issues raised, and the webinar will explicitly seek to:
identify an agenda for further online discussion if appropriate.
stimulate a collection of resources, questions for future exploration, examples, case studies, and also contacts for possible collaboration and networking.
Anyone who is interested in joining this jointly sponsored webinar is welcome to join by pre-registering for the session so that we can send you a participation link. As we look to new ways to innovate and encourage greater engagement and opportunities for networking for AAEEBL members, we welcome both your enthusiasm and patience!
The Conference at Notre Dame May 12-13 is intriguing as you can see from some of the session titles below. It’s time to register and book lodging.
How do we know they are learning? Digital Evidence of and for Learning
Peruse the titles below to get an idea of the dynamism of this eportfolio conference:
Balancing Summative, Formative, and Transformative ePortfolio Functions within Participatory Learning and Assessment
Competency Based Badging and ePortfolios for the Youth and Adult Workforce in Philadelphia
Show your SPuRS: Bridging Academics and Co-Curricular Professional Readiness
Buckeye Badges: A Pilot Project at Ohio State University
Developing an Integrative Toolkit for Engagement at Michigan (iTeam)
Ethics, ePortfolios, and Badges: Envisaging Privacy and Digital Persistence in Student-Level Learning Evidence
Balancing Summative, Formative, and Transformative ePortfolio Functions within Participatory Learning and Assessment
Plus 15 other sessions.
The keynote address will be given by Daniel T. Hickey on Open Digital Badges + ePortfolios: Searching for and Supporting Synergy. an internationally-known speaker and leader on the changes in higher education around digital technologies.
Here is a description of another session:
By sharing challenges, practices, and examples of maker portfolios, we highlight the importance of makerspaces and community development in the design of portfolios that capture rich learning.
These are the institutions represented in the program:
Grand Valley State University
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
University of Michigan
Ohio State University
Kendall College; Laureate Universities
Western Michigan University
University of Charleston
The full program will be posted by late Thursday of this week. This is a must-attend event to know about the latest developments in the eportfolio field.
Registration rates (note that AAEEBL members receive a $100 discount on registration; a student rate is available as well):
$250 before April 25
$290 after April 25
$150 before Aprial 25
$190 after April 25
$75 before Aprial 25
$115 after April 25
Includes 2 breakfasts, one lunch and one reception. One and a half days of sessions.
Register now. Book lodging. Notre Dame is just outside of Chicago in Northern Indiana. Midway Airport is probably the closest major airport to the Notre Dame campus. Conference facilities at Notre Dame are excellent — lodging and conference space are adjacent.
More on badges in this IMS blog:
Our expert panelists weigh in on education technology to give us their verdict on which approaches to tech-enabled learning will have a major impact, which ones are stagnating and which ones might be better forgotten entirely.
Social Media for Teaching and Learning: Lukewarm to Hot
Digital Badges: Mostly Lukewarm
Open Educational Resources (OERs): Mostly Hot
E-Portfolios: Losing Steam
Learning Management Systems (LMS): Lukewarm to Hot
Flipped Learning: Mostly Hot (but Equitability a Question)
Blended Learning: Unanimously Hot
Student Data Privacy Concerns: Unanimously Hot
Apps for Learning: A Mostly Lukewarm Mixed Bag
Games for Learning: Hot
What are the hot devices?
Cameras like the Canon VIXIA, the Sony HDR-MV1 or the Zoom Q4 or Q8 range from $200 to $400. The secret of these small devices is a tradeoff between video flexibility and audio power. With digital-only zoom, these cameras still deliver full HD video (or better) but with limited distance capabilities. In return, the audio quality is unsurpassed by anything short of a professional boom or wireless microphone setup; most of these cameras feature high-end condenser microphone capsules that will make music or interview recordings shine.
The Chromebook is hot. Seventy-two percent of Chromebook sales were education-related purchases in 2014.
The smartphone is hot. Every day, the smartphone becomes less of a “phone” and more of a device for connecting with others via social media, researching information on the Internet, learning with apps and games and recording experiences with photos and videos.
Register for Wednesday’s Free AAEEBL Webinar with Darren Cambridge, one of the most influential members of the eportfolio field; 1 pm US EDT. The URL for the webinar will be displayed on your screen right after you complete registration. You do not need a password to login at that URL. Topic: “ePortfolio is a Genre.” Helen Chen and Trent Batson will moderate.
The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL.org) is nearly 7 years old. It is the North American professional association for the global eportfolio community of practice and research field. “ePortfolio” is an idea about how technology can be implemented to best advantage in our world today. The eportfolio idea is that the learner is the anchor and center for the record of learning — the eportfolio is owned by the learner and the eportfolio stays with the learner between courses, between institutions and into life. It is a powerful idea and the growth of eportfolio technology in higher education around the world suggests educators understand that power.
At the Conference at the University of Georgia November 9-10, you will attend sessions that demonstrate how 10 different institutions have deployed eportfolio technology in ways appropriate to initiatives on their campuses. Kathleen Yancey of Florida State University, a founder of the U. S. eportfolio movement, is keynote.
AAEEBL is writing The Field Guide to ePortfolio to be published by AAC&U in 2016. This is a timely publication. Each conference and each webinar that AAEEBL holds contributes to the ideas in the Field Guide, being created by a team of 60 AAEEBL members. You can find out more about this project at this conference.
Learning made visible: successful ePortfolio patterns across the U.S.
Register for first AAEEBL webinar of 2015-2016 on September 16 at 1 pm US EDT. Jeff Yan of Digication addressing “Learning made visible: successful ePortfolio patterns across the U.S.”
Jeff, a former academic, is the CEO of Digication, one of the most successful eportfolio companies in the U. S. He will help us understand the big picture: how are eportfolios being used on campuses and what works best.
This Webinar is co-sponsored by AAC&U, EPAC and IJeP.
Once you register, you will see an acknowledgement page with the URL to go to on Wednesday. You will not need a password.