Tuesday, September 29, 2009

efest unconference -afternoon session - LMS & eportfolios

Attended the session on LMS is dead. The other session was actually for 21st century libraries (not learners!).

Is the LMS wagging the dog?? Do we need an LMS? Is cloud computing an alternative or are we moving from one app to another, just the provider is different! Alternatives to LMS include synchronous tools, Google apps & other Web 2.0 tools.

Whatever is decided on, there is still a need for the institution to provide sufficient formal /structured training to ensure staff are upskilled sufficiently to be able to use ICT appropriately. There seems to be a lack of understanding from higher levels as to what is involved in changing staff culture to accept & work with the chosen tool. Discussion centred around how to bring the majority of staff on board.

The next session was on eportfolios. Facilitated by Justin from Ako Aoteoroa & Hazel from Unitec. A round of introductions established that most of us were very interested in eportfolios. Justin is encouraging the group to connect via the Ako Aoteoroa eportfolio group. Many of the challenges faced by the group were similar. There was discussion on how to aggregate, what to collect, where to store, how to assess the evidence, security issues, what to do with multi-media/ multi modal evidence, how to support students with collating and compiling eportfolios, diversity of options available (closed, open source Mahara, free flow using social networking sites), opportunities for research as eportfolios are relatively new, not only student but staff use, potential for recognition of prior learning, meeting cultural diversity, what is the eportfolio for, who owns it etc., portability.

Ako is able to fund the group to meet again in the near future if there was a reason to meet. For example, is a national eportfolio system way to go? Should institutions actually make decision as to the which eportfolios to use?

Discussion also on the depth of reflection possible. Formative assessments of the evidence important to assist students in gauging the level of their own progress and this sometimes encourages the whole group to lift their performances. Useful also for workplacements where students are able to share their work with tutors, employers and other students.