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Kingsborough a Finalist with Distinction: 2013 Aspen Prize For Community Colleges

Kingsborough Community College just received a “Finalist with Distinction” at the Live Broadcast of the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

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New Faculty Resource ePortfolios–NEFDC workshop

Lehman College introduced a Teaching & Learning Commons this past year to bring together faculty, students, and staff around teaching and learning activities at the College.  In our first year, we have been working with the new faculty to provide a more comprehensive orientation to the physical and virtual campus than in previous years; we are introducing new faculty orientation seminars and workshops as part of this process.

This fall, we met for informal group discussion with representatives of resource programs in

–Teaching and Research
–Campus & IT
–Student Support & Student Life
–Governance, Assessment, & Strategic Planning

As a support for the discussions, I designed a portal/development ePortfolio for the new faculty on Digication. The ePortfolio includes tabs for each of the above areas with links and pdfs to College resources; there are two additional tabs for tracking professional development and service so that each faculty member can upload the department expectations for tenure and promotion along with his or her research, teaching, and service activities. The aim is to hybridize the ePortfolio as a resource tool to make Lehman more accessible to faculty and as a development platform for new faculty to begin pulling together their plans and materials as they advance in their academic careers.

At the recent New England Faculty Development Consortium in Worcester, Massachusetts, on November 19, I presented a workshop on the ePortfolio as an opportunity to share work in progress and to facilitate other administrators and faculty in developing their own resource ePortfolios. Trent Batson, Executive Director for AAEEBL, was one of the workshop participants, and we had a good mix of new and mid-tenure faculty as well as college/university administrators. Except for myself, the audience was New England based, representing institutions from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

I used a small group facilitation approach to the workshop and asked participants to define faculty success in their first activity. Participants were then assigned into groups of twos and threes to apply their definitions to one of five dynamics—goals, process, time, communication, and resources. We collected the main ideas from these discussions on a whiteboard and made connections between the dynamics, the definitions, and the institutional needs we were bringing to the discussion.

This was a great opportunity to talk about the importance of morale in the current economic and political crisis, which then led back to the importance of connecting faculty to resources and opportunities to develop further capacities and community within and across institutions.

We then looked at a PowerPoint illustrating plans and implementation of Lehman’s new faculty resource ePortfolio and integrated what we were seeing with our previous discussions. The group was interested to see the Digication template as well as the sample I had created from my own professional history. Trent Batson pointed out that the ePortfolio was largely a portal rather than what he considers to be ePortfolio as pedagogy—we then discussed the development and service areas of the ePortfolio and their contrast and complementarity with the resources. Batson then referred to the workshop format and activities (think-pair-share, jigsaw, punctuated assessment, and short written reflections), saying “This is ePortfolio!”

The group moved into discussions of their own goals and plans for resource ePortfolios at their institutions and came up with principles for implementation as well as a few new projects to explore. Sue Castriotta from Keene University, tweeted throughout the session (#NEFDC) and provided a link to our brainstorm board.

The response was overwhelmingly positive—I came away having heard and experienced the desire for interactive sessions that involve participants in teaching and learning and that encourage immediate application and feedback. This may be the future for faculty ePortfolio work—reminding us that we are all students engaged in what engages us.

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AAEEBL Conference SlideShows

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“Questions about the Texts of Our Students’ Lives”

Presentation by Kathleen Blake Yancey

We have perhaps Trent Batson – or serendipity – to thank for this bookend from Kathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University, whose presentation returned tangentially to Darren Cambridge’s opening theme.  My guess is that it’s Trent and by no accident this session opened with a hearty applause for his work in putting the AAEEBL conference together.   Kathleen’s session offered some real resolutions to the aggregative-integrative/individualist-collectivist tensions raised in Darren’s opening bookend, alongside new lines of inquiry at the interface of ePortfolios, cognitive-cultural change and communication as narrative self-presentation.

Kathleen draws from a wealth of experience in working with students – she kicked off with an aside on how much she enjoys spending time with students and their work.  So I liked her right away and knew I wanted to get and keep one of those mid-center mid-row seats.  As an English professor, this experience with students has been embedded in an experience with the paper portfolio.  What do we learn from paper portfolios, she asked?  These are the raw materials through which we connect assessment with learning.  And, in the next breath she became sociological:  if a portfolio is a text, the context is the framework from which it emerges.

Portfolios are embedded in four important contexts:  college assessment, a discipline, the vernacular, and the interface.  These four contexts provided the spine for her remarks on ePortfolios in the 21st century.  And these nodes represent a change from the earlier work.  At the beginning of the ePortfolio movement, she noted, the mantra was: Collect, Select, Reflect – Process, Connection, Assessment.  Process was an outcome that precipitated making connections and assessment.

In the 21st century the conversation we are in a different place, partly as a result of experience and research on teaching and learning – how people think and learn – and partly as a trickle-down diffusion of 20th century epistemology.  Either way, the vanguard scholarship of teaching and learning is now focused on communities of practice, media, interactivity, reiteration, identity, spaces and layers.

Two sets of activities have emerged as keys in the newer dialogue: archive and curate//aggregate and search.   Are we in Darren’s aggregate-individualist cell here, with more elaborate bolstering of consciousness of as aggregated curio integrated through reflection?

On the practical level, if ePortfolio pioneers envisioned portfolios as isolated texts in multiple contexts, portfolios as new sites for school work, portfolios-in-use for program assessment (program evaluation) with real word samples, and portfolios as repositories of reflections, today SoTL researchers are zeroing in on Portfolio+ Text + Context.  The question becomes which context and how the context impacts the text – this is a core sociology of knowledge problem.

Kathleen underscored through repetition the four nodes axial to this discourse — the spine — and then provided details on each – save the interface:

  • Outcomes
  • Disciplinary Knowledge
  • Vernacular
  • Interface

Outcomes:

These are embedded in a network of associations.   And the audience has changed.  Using a quote from Clay Shirky (also the author of Here Comes Everybody), Kathleen found a great quote articulating his shift as a student at Yale from writing for the professor to writing to elicit conversation.

Disciplinary Contexts

This was perhaps the most engaging and forward thinking part of the presentation, as Kathleen “stumbled upon” with pedagogical examples the most vexing and unresolved problems in 20th century epistemology:  the Platonic “categories” are dead.  Post-analytic Jacques Lacan writes about the question we learn to avoid on the school bench…  What is a text, where did it come from and who is its author?  As the physicist knows, what we know and perceive depends upon language within a disciplinary frame and our level of access to its refined technologies.  Academics and professionals think through a discipline.  Kathleen’s phrase was “using tacit practice as a platform for expertise.”  What are the component parts of a performance? Can these be uncovered through reflection? At the end, during the brief question and answer session she returned to these ideas, referring to “discipline-specific thought patterns.”  Worth probing here – at the level of the classroom – are questions regarding integrative learning, English writing and relationships between discipline-specific language and styles that require the speaker-hearer/reader-writer to step back and write as the “objective reporter/analyst.”

Kathleen’s next example came from Medical Education at Leeds:

A reflective account of any activity is in two parts – description and reflection.  The writer first describes a situation, which often includes how he or she felt in the context.  Therefore the writer must discuss the situation critically considering other interpretations of what was happening at the time, her thoughts on other actions she might have taken and the relationship to any reading or knowledge base that may be available.  Kathleen noted that this kind of reflection and the implementation of portfolios will require a shift in the culture of medicine.

Reflective practice requires a different mind-set from a standard scientific approach.  The reflective process is open and fractal with multiple specific outcomes that are closed and compartmentalized.  Thus, the successful implementation and use of ePortfolios in the Leeds School of Medicine, as an exemplar, will require the establishment and careful nurturing of a culture that supports and values the portfolio as an integral part of the educational experience.   The use of electronic portfolios for formative and summative assessments and as a learning tool will require educators to make adjustments, Kathleen argue.  These cannot be simply overlaid on the curriculum.

Vernacular Context

The vernacular context has so many possibilities and the hour was coming to an end.  Kathleen described a student whose “composing process” involves watching The Price is Right, playing online Scrabble, and coming up with an idea just in the nick of time.  She asks, “How does that describe composing at all?”

The Web Portfolio is multifaceted map of undergraduate studies.  Students combine and recombine what they learn.  The portfolio as a text is situated in and emerges from diverse contexts, some planned, some not.  Each planned context raises a set of questions impacting other planned contexts.  The vernacular as lived experience is incorporated even when it’s not invited.

We were out of time before we knew it.  Makes you want to read her work….

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ePortfolios at CUNY

Welcome to our ePortfolio page on the CUNY Academic Commons.  You might want to check the ePortfolio Projects at CUNY Colleges on the Best Practices Wiki.   And I have pasted below the results of our survey of colleges.

 

Level of Activity

Funding

Tech Fees

Platform

Scope

Baruch

 

 

 

 

 

BMCC

Piloting

Implementing

No

Yes

Johns Hopkins System

Teacher Education, Career Development

BCC

Planning, Piloting, Implementing,

Evaluating

Title V

Yes

Digication

Honors, Art, Education, Paralegal/ 300 students

City Tech

Implementing,

Evaluating

Start-up with Title V

Yes

Dreamweaver/

Open source

9 departments /800 students

City College

Planning

MC

No

Expo

Gen Ed, Humanities, Science, Education

CSI

Piloting

MC

No

Digication

Education

CUNY SPS Online

Planning

Piloting

MC

No

Digication

Communication and Culture/ Business

Grad Center

 

 

 

 

 

Hostos

Planning, Piloting, Implementing,

Evaluating (?)

Perkins

Yes

Digication

Education, Clip, Freshman Academy (60 students)

Hunter

Piloting

No

No

DK

School of Ed.

Journalism

 

 

 

 

 

John Jay

Planning

MC

No

DK

English and History

KCC

Planning Implementing

 

No

Yes

Digication

Early Childhood   Sociology

Nursing

LaGuardia

Planning, Piloting, Implementing, Evaluating

Yes

Yes

Concord/

Piloting new system with Sakai

11,000 students

Law

None

 

 

 

 

Lehman

Planning,

Piloting,

Implementing,

Evaluating

MC

No

Digication

Education

 

 

 

Macaulay

Implementing/

Evaluating

No

No

WordPress plus buddypress, bbpress, assorted plug-ins

1200 students

Medgar

Planning

No

No

CK

Education

Queens

Planning,

Piloting,

Implementing

Evaluating

MC

Plan to

Sea Monkey, Google Sites

Graduate School of Library Sciences, Secondary Education, SEEK Freshman Year, TESOL

QCC

Implementation/

Evaluation

Perkins

No

Epsilen

Business, Nursing, Liberal Arts

York

Piloting

No

No

WordPressMU

10 professsors/ 400 students  in ENG, Writing, Teacher Ed, MUS, PHIL

 

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