Turning Fences Into Gates Communities Of Practice

Attended by: Dan

University of Minnesota Duluth

They have been using ePortfolios for 16 years and encountered student resistance (only use when required)

One suggested reflective exercise was to paraphrase an assignment, including articulating the reason for the assignment

What I considered a potentially great use of ePortfolios:
Give the students the overall Learning Outcomes for their major/degree and have them choose the "educational artifacts" that demonstrate that the student has met them. The "reflective writing" in this context would be their justification that their work meets the goals and an explanation of why the particular artifacts were chosen.

4 Stages of integrating ePortfolios into Students' Educational Career

  • Exploration
    • teach them the mechanics of ePs and let them "play"
  • Directed Activity
    • required assignments
  • Independent Activity
    • in anticipation of satisfying the learning outcomes, and self-actualization
  • Community Building
    • using the tool to create working groups

They use an open source ePortfolio management tool that they developed
(I have downloaded the software to evaluate it)

On the Difference between Facebook and ePortfolios:

Facebook: unintentional outcomes from spontaneous actions
ePortfolios: intentional outcomes from considered actions

Note: Met a Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at a small University
They just recenty shut down an eP program after 4 years, and now are trying to reinstitute, avoiding previous problems

  • Too much
    • The program was ambitious, tried to do too many changes to the school culture at once
    • The software they used was encumbering