August 2008 Archives

What did you do this summer?

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In grade school, this was always the question the teacher asked on the first day back at school - What did you do this summer? As I approach my last formal day as a faculty fellow with ETS, I have discovered the need to try to articulate what I have learned this summer, and how it will benefit me as I move forward in my career.

First, having dedicated time to think and work allows for greater creativity and productivity. At this point you are allowed to say, "Duh?!" Simple as it may sound, I lost sight of this in the hectic day to day race to meet deadlines and spread myself increasingly thin across a mountain of responsibilities. I had to re-experience it to remember, and now I hope to hold this lesson close as I return to my former life.

Second, being surrounded by smart, passionate people who are excellent at what they do makes all of the difference. The folks at ETS are great! I've enjoyed working with the team, as well as getting to know people through the informal interactions that happen as a result of close daily contact. It's not that I don't have good colleagues in the College of Ed - I do. We are just often too busy working on unrelated projects to spend quality time together (see first lesson above).

Finally, a series of small pieces can lead to substantial progress. By documenting our accomplishments this summer via the wiki, I am pleasantly surprised at what we have been able to achieve in a relatively short time. Take a look for yourself below. The next 10 days will provide multiple opportunities to talk with others about blogs as portfolio and get their insights into next steps. I am looking forward to learning more -- and of course uncovering better questions.

Anticipated Outcomes
  • Best practice for blogs as portfolio use
  • Open tracking of progress
  • Multiple samples of portfolios as blogs
  • Demonstration of blogs being used for administrative/program assessment purposes
Actuals Outcomes
  • 3 pilot projects set for Fall 2008, including the SHC
  • Adoption of blogging platform as primary vehicle for e-portfolio at Penn State (starting with MT 4.2 professional website template)
  • Tool development
    • Program outcomes evidence aggregator
    • Pack-it up tool (prototype anticipated October 2008)
    • Community interaction monitor (modeled after a Tweet wheel; still being conceptualized)
  • Collection of sample portfolio blogs, starting with a "mock-up" and building from Fall pilot projects
  • Presentation to the "ID and beyond" community at Penn State - Learning Design Summer Camp
  • Emerging research agenda around social aspects of blogs as portfolio
  • Collection of blogs as portfolio literature
  • Open documentation of progress via wiki