For well over a year, we have had a fantastic electronic portfolio software sitting idly for faculty, staff, and students here at Maricopa to put to use.

This is the same MyEport developed at Chandler-Gilbert Community College by the brilliant Audree Thurman. It has uncommons features of blogs inside an eport, RSS all over the place, embedding of RSS feed content in pages, automatic streaming media, podcast generation, wiki page types, quizzes and polls, and more.

At Chandler-Gilbert Community College the have actually extended the functionality there to be the editing platform for their college web site, what they call a “webport” so that individuals have the editing control over department and program web pages vis some friendly easy tools.

But I digress.

This semester there has been a steady increase of eport account creation by students, especially a lot of Art students from Phoenix College and Paradise Valley Community College. With some free time, i’d really like to comb through here, as students are posting some fantastic eport artifacts of their work, and posting reflections in the blog pages.

We ran some faculty workshops last year, with some, but not significant uptake. But this morning we announced by email a hands on workshop for late February 2006 – and it filled in three hours, plus I have processed faculty account requests for 4 other people who just must have heard about it.

This is good news that the interest is finally perking up in eportfolios.

Another angle we are working to get people in related to the upcoming NMC Conference on Educational Gaming. We are sponsoring the registration of maybe 10 faculty. Over the last year, we’ve been working in getting participants in these events we sponsor to do more than take the free ticket; we are asking for them to bring back and electronically share information. Last April we asked participants in the NMC Online Conference on Visual Literacy to post session reports on a wiki site— this was marginally successful, but a lot of people had some wiki-loathing.

So for the NMC conference, we are asking each person we are registering to create a Maricopa ePortfolioa ccount, and within there, create a blog page type that they can use to journal their experiences in the online conference. It is kind of a backdoor way of getting people into doing eport activity. See the tidbits and instructions posted just today. We could easily rip and mix the RSS feeds from their eports, and that is likely coming soon.

Maybe next week, I’ll have some time to pull out some interesting eport examples going on in there, but the whole site is wide open to browsing.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Alan,

    Here are a few reasons why software goes unused, all of which you know better than I:
    a) the software makes it easier to do activity X, but few people want to do X
    b) ditto, but few people need to do X better
    c) ditto, but few people, when they try the software, find the software helps them do X more easily or better
    d) ditto, but few people have heard about the software’ existence
    (etc.)

    Maricopa is a TLT Group subscriber, and one of the benefits of the subscription is a guide to implementing eportfolio initiatives.
    http://www.tltgroup.org/fl-subscribers/FL_Handbook/ePort_Strat.htm

    The guide describes activities (X, Y, Z, etc.) for which eportfolios can be used, and describes a strategy for using formative evaluation to increase use of eportfolio software. Among other purposes, the formative evaluation helps you figure out to what extent each of the conjectures above describes reasons why people aren’t yet using that wonderful eportfolio software. I hope Maricopa tries it out and lets us know how useful the guide has been!

  2. Alan:

    I’m one of those who’s taken the training offered when possible, used it myself and with students. This year I’ve even tried to use the enhancements Audree made availalbe for district users (ie wiki). At best guess, the resource has been around for about 4 years so I’m hardly an early adopter.

    I’m happy to hear that Faculty rushed to register for this most recent workshop.

    As for educational gaming I recently completed a campus CTL workshop on using Study Mate to create instructional games. Helping make my instructional activities fun is always rather difficult for me. I tend to rely on enthusiastic presentation, jokes and ‘quirkyness’ to help students relax and encourage their learning. I was very much convinced that using StudyMate would be a great resource to incorporate.

    Bottom line, I don’t know if I can realistically incorporate its use effectively (with a good instrument) in time for my Spring class.

    I’d be interested in participating in the NMC conference, have the 10 openings already been filled?

    To my mind MCLI offerings have contributed significantly to my ability to serve students effectively as they learn to use information appropriately and effectively in meeting their needs.

  3. That is great you are having better response to faculty development workshops. A real difficult nut to crack in the higher education environment is how to help faculty members learn new things when they are already overwhelmed with information and tasks. Most that I run into don’t take many workshops. Maybe that is because some of the ones they’ve taken in the past have been of poor quality, but I really think it is because the “workshop model” doesn’t work for most faculty. I would love to hear your ideas about what the most effective ways are to help faculty obtain new and refine existing technology skills. I talked to a faculty member today who expressed frustration at feeling like she is so far behind, but not having any idea how she can ever spend the time that would be required to “keep up.”

  4. Wesley,

    I can hardly claim to have the magic bullet on this one, and we could guess at all day on what tre factors might be.

    I do think we have set up a “workshop” / 1-2-3 recipe mindset with learning to use technology, both in delivery and the expectations of participants. Technology is sometihng (I believe) that we learn most by doing, not being shown how to do it. Then again, for the faculty member you talked with, there has to be some level of time commitment, as it smacks of things like perpetual motion machines and magic weight loss pills to think one can learn something without any investment.

    That said, my approaches include the following:

    * One small tihng we have done is change the name to “LearnShops”:
    http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/learnshops/
    * Most of the time invested by participants is in the “doing” rather than the “watching”
    * Hit ’em in their discipline– it is the topic faculty care about mmost, so provide activities that have content or application relevant to what they teach
    * Try to find a personal relevance, maybe a way the technology can aid them in their own organization or even interests outside of school
    * Bootstrap approach. You are not trying to provide everything in one package, but enough so peole can begin to teach themselves.
    * All materials on the web, do not fuss over making perfect print materials. A lot of time goes into creating user manuals or step by step instructions for handouts. You can be much more flexible and keep up with change by making all content available in web format, so they can come back at a later time or you can help someone who does not even come to a workshop.
    * Make it fun. This sounds glib and cheesy, but every workshop I have dones has a light hearted metaphor or a fair amount of laughter during the activities.
    * Try to go beyond a one-shot deal; either make a series, conduct follow-ups, create some sort of electronic community after the workshop

    We are all “far behind”, myself included. Any suggestion that one can “catch up” with technology is suspect or silly. We *should* be behind, as it means we always have challenges to aim for.

  5. Alan,

    One of the prime goals of The TLT Group’s service for/with its subscribers is finding and spreading strategies for helping large numbers of faculty (all interested faculty every year, ideally) to gradually improve their teaching. Some of those strategies are summarized on this web page:
    http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/CoursesFacultyDevelopment.htm

    Learnshops are important, as is one-to-one help from professional staff. But with budgets being so tight and needs so great, it’s important to get beyond those strategies and explore others. We’ll be putting out a subscriber message in a few days on this topic.

Comments are closed.