Last week I was fortunate enough to attend and present at AAEEBL 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. You might be wondering what AAEEBL stands for and what this event was all about, especially if you have never heard of it before. The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning focuses on the usage of portfolios at their annual conference. In fact one of the key points to come out of the conference was a consensus that as a community we should stop referring to e-portflios (or eportfolios depending on your preference), which is distracting and in many cases superfluous. Instead it is time we just talk about portfolios and focus on the pedagogy. This conference was very much aimed at focusing on the pedagogy, and in most cases the tool used was almost irrelevant to the presentation. In education it is far too easy to get caught up in our own silos, whether that is a department based silo or a tool based silo. When we stop and look to the outside we can often find valuable input we would have otherwise missed.
Collaboration was also a key theme from the conference. To make a portfolio effective involves everyone working together. It involves tutors and students having a clear dialogue about what is expected in the portfolio. It also can benefit from peer-to-peer collaboration, whether that is academics helping one another out with creative ideas/support or students giving each other tips and feedback. Of course it can also require working with the E-Learning team, and here at UCL we are always happy to offer advice or support around any platform, including portfolios. Currently we use the Mahara platform at UCL, you might have heard of it as MyPortfolio which is the name we use for our installation. If you’d like to find out more about MyPortfolio then you can go directly to the platform at https://myportfolio.ucl.ac.uk or visit the MyPortfolio Resource Centre in the wiki – although please note this site is currently under maintenance and being updated.
The final key theme I’d like to highlight is badges. There were a number of presentations and a keynote on the use of badges with portfolios. This seems like a natural fit as portfolios are a great way of collecting evidence for a badge. A badge in turn is a nice way to recognise competencies or skills that might not otherwise be acknowledge by assessment criteria or formal credit. The McArthur Foundation have produced a video which explains the basics of what a badge is, if you are still unsure.
At UCL we have done some pilots with badges and we’d be happy to talk to anyone about this if they wish to get in touch.
If you’d like to get a wider overview of the conversations from AAEEBL then please see my Storify, collecting my tweets and all the best other tweets from the event.
An announcement will appear to users within Turnitin in advance of when the system will be unavailable for the scheduled maintenance. The maintenance will affect Turnitin and TurnitinUK users, as well as those using a Learning Management System.
Instructors are encouraged to modify assignment due dates either before or at least several hours after the scheduled maintenance window.
This will mean Turnitin will be unavailable for UCL users (whether via Moodle or direct) on 15th August from 15:00 to 19:00 BST. Please ensure you do not have any deadlines scheduled during this period.
Lecturecast annual archiving will be taking place between the 3rd and the 8th August 2015. During this time the admin interface for Lecturecast will be unavailable, however any scheduled recordings will still take place.
What happens during archiving?
During the archiving process all recordings currently marked as either available or unavailable will be moved to the ‘archive’ category. Once they have been moved to this category they will be unavailable for viewing. If you would like any of these recording to remain available to students it is your responsibility to move them back from ‘archive’ to ‘available’. Instructions for un-archiving your content can be found at https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/x/4w1iAQ.
CALT staff and ELE worked together to incorporate Arena student feedback into reworked Moodle spaces. This five-page report [pdf format] is organised around before-and-after screenshots, explains the changes, sets out a house style, and concludes with a checklist.
When we next ask students for feedback, we hope to find improvements in orientation, organisation and communication. We also hope that the Moodle work, in-person activities and individual study will integrate even better together.
Conciseness, consistency, glanceability, signposts and instructions were the most important things to come out of this work.