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Thursday, 12 August 2010

Going round in circles?

Graphic: Yin and YangI am becoming increasingly frustrated by authors who seem to think that the ePortfolio is just another assessment tool to be used in similar ways to previous summative assessment methods. Secondly, it seems that these same authors perceive the ePortfolio to be an institutional tool and as such propose that it should be the (only?) course management tool.

Several years ago I wrote an article 'Who's hijacking our ePortfolios?' In that document I describe a wide range of stakeholders who might think that they have the right to determine how and when an ePortfolio is used. Years later, I still maintain that it is not the place of any institution to assume that they can take control of how an ePortfolio is used and, for that matter, how many students might choose to use their ePortfolio for that particular subject or module. The recent article by Tracy Penny Light illustrates this whole unfortunate mentality. Unless the ePortfolio is deemed to be the property of the learner it can hardly be said to represent the 'whole person'.

The second thing that Tracy Penny Light fails to mention is the place of formative assessment or feedback - what I have called elsewhere, 'Just in Time feedback'. Feedback, an essential part of Web2.0 thinking, is of the essence of learning, as I often mention in this blog. As Trent Batson recognised in 'The testing Straightjacket', it is the process of discovery learning that embeds true learning and that may come from the feedback of parents, peers, mentors, or even other experts. Without this, assessment is no more than testing and thus students only learn in order to meet the assessment criteria, and teachers only assess what they have delivered. A closed or circular argument if ever there was one!

1 comment:

Tatiana12 said...

I heartily agree, Ray!

What self-managed tools and services do you personally prefer and/or recommend currently for e-folio and e-portfolios?

With the current wealth of free, high capacity, self-owned storage tools, like my current favorite, Posterous - why would any tech savvy student put all their eggs in an institutional basket? I sure don't and didn't based on my own overseeing experience of email & client data as a former internal consultant at a very large university.

For example, Google has made it easy to de-spam your mail, create on-line groups. Flickr has on-line photo portfolios and now video, as does YouTube, that easily embed in blogging tools.

Just today, when stumbling across a strange "I steal bandwidth" stealth graphic from an old fashioned site, I quickly deleted the offending graphic and put in a Creative Commons photo that happened to be far more attractive. The "share" is welcomed and promotes the artist's work.

Thanks for the visit and dialog on Reveln Education: