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April, 2011:

“Successful Clicker Implementation” webinar

I “attended” the recent webinar entitled “Strategies for Successful Clicker Implementation and Growth” given by Cindy Albert and Matt Evans from University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. Hosted by Campus Technology magazine, the webinar provided a case study for implementing clickers across a campus. (It was sponsored by iClickers, and it felt, at times, that it devolved into a commercial for that product. Most of the time it was fine though.)

I thought the content of the webinar (apart from the fact that it was a commercial for iClicker) was, overall, very good. The presenters gave clear and actionable tips that were relevant for any campus to consider.

Here were my main takeaways from a staff/admin perspective (farther down I talk about pedagogical implications):

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Everything You Need to Know About DC III ePortfolios

An article originally written for the CUSP quarterly newsletter, by Learning Technologies’ Ian Porter

Starting this quarter, students in CUSP Discovery Core III classes will design ePortfolios using Google Sites as the platform. The main purpose of these ePortfolios is to enable students to collect their curricular and extracurricular work from their first year at UW Bothell and, in a 4 to 5 page reflective essay, draw connections between these sometimes disparate activities in order to find coherence in their development as students and citizens.

Okay, but what does this really mean? Brass tacks: what do students need to know about the CUSP ePortfolio to get started?

Why an ePortfolio?

The CUSP ePortfolio is a “process portfolio,” which means that it should document the learning process of the student. For example, if a student wrote three drafts for a paper in her Discovery Core I class, she should include all of the drafts in the portfolio. From correcting simple grammatical mistakes to showing increased depth of thought in the paper revision process, these pieces of evidence help the student accomplish the goal of the CUSP ePortfolio, which is to show and reflect on her growth and development as a scholar and citizen.

While collecting the artifacts is important, the key part of the ePortfolio is the reflection process. Students must show proof of growth by linking from their reflective essay to the learning artifacts that show evidence of their development. Since these artifacts will be housed in their Google Sites, the students can draw connections conceptually and technically (using HTML hyperlinks) among their artifacts and reflection.

Supporting Students and Instructors

If this is starting to feel a little overwhelming, don’t worry. We are planning workshops for all of the students and instructors, which will take place in the DC III class. In addition, we are continuing to build great Web resources on how to use Google Sites and how to design an ePortfolio. For more information, go to the CUSP ePortfolio Model Site: https://sites.google.com/a/uw.edu/cusp-eportfolio-model-site/?pli=1 and click on “Student Resources” in the navigation bar.

Thinking Critically

In the end, the ePortfolio is simply a technology for critical thinking. Student learning is paramount in this process ‐ that is, learning about oneself, one’s own personal and professional goals, and one’s world(s). So, students should think as deeply and as broadly as possible. Ask questions like, “How did that paper I wrote last autumn change how I think about my personal goals or my beliefs about some aspect of my world? How did that video I created for a class project help me understand the CUSP Learning Goal “Critical and Creative Inquiry”? How have my academic goals changed during my first year at UW Bothell based on experiences I had as a volunteer?” If students think about and answer questions like these during the course of building their ePortfolio, then they will have accomplished the learning outcomes of the ePortfolio project. What’s more, those critical thinking skills remain vitally important throughout the remainder of a student’s personal and professional life.

Future Uses of the ePortfolio

And, if all of that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then remember the pragmatic considerations: for example, programs like Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, among others, also require ePortfolios. In addition, in the future, you might want to design a presentation portfolio of your work when you enter your profession. Taking the time now to collect your work and make your ePortfolio interesting and compelling will give you a leg up on future portfolio projects.

Edudemic Will Help Fund Your Educational Technology Project

If you’re an instructor with a great idea for a educational technology tool, but don’t necessarily have the funding to start it up, look no further than Edudemic Projects. The popular ed tech blog has recently developed this program to give instructors and education professionals a new and easy way to seek money for their academic technology projects.

Here’s how it works: you must first apply on the Edudemic Projects site. You’ll be asked a few questions about yourself, your project and the funding it will require. You will find out if you have been approved roughly 1-3 days after you submit the form. If they approve and decide they want to help, you will receive your own Edudemic Project web page, which will look something like this.

After your page is up and running, you will have until a certain date (you’ll specify in your application) to raise donations for your project. The only catch here is that you must raise at least half of your proposed funding needs. If you pass the halfway point, what you collect goes straight to you. If you don’t pass it, the money is returned to the donors. Additionally, every penny you collect can be used towards anything relating to your project. Some other crowd-funding sites have limits on this, but with Edudemic Projects, it’s up to you!

This seems like a very interesting idea, and it will be exciting to see these projects grow!