In Kathryn Coleman‘s (University of Melbourne) recent thought-provoking webinar Placemaking, pedagogies and practices: learning design and ePortfolios she discusses the idea that eportfolios are digital places – not just digital spaces.
Kathryn uses the analogy of a place to describe an ePortfolio, because the act of collecting, selecting, reflecting and connecting – especially in an ePortfolio in a digital world – turns a ‘space’ into a ‘place’. A place has meaning, community and connection. A space holds things, but do not necessarily invite connection or conversation.
When you enter a place, Kathryn argues, you have an understanding of it as a curated environment, as well seeing it as a reflection of its designer. Students rarely gets an opportunity to do this, unless they have a portfolio – a portfolio that they can own and control.
The process of placemaking
To turn a space into a place requires time and a deliberate intent. Kathryn refers to this as the practice of placemaking.
Placemaking is the process of creating and designing a digital ‘place’ that the designer and others can engage in to evidence what they create, generate, play, and learn.
It’s about selecting evidence from the collection of ‘stuff’ that they (the individual or student) has generated – reflecting on it and connecting it to who they are and/or who they want to become – in a space that they have made their own.
What will the ‘e’ stand for?
Kathryn calls for us to be clear in the purpose, context, and audience of a portfolio – by challenging us to consider the ‘e’ in eportfolio. What will it stand for?
The concept of place gives us something to play with when we start thinking about what the ‘e’ stands for.
Will it stand for ‘evidence-based’ or ‘experiential’ or ’employability’, or ‘ethical’? What kind of portfolio will you design for yourself, or with your students? Who are you designing the portfolio for, and why?
Ask for evidence of learning
Once the ‘e’ has been defined, how then could be a portfolio be assessed? Kathryn offers a different lens – that it’s not about assessing, it’s more about asking students to provide evidence of their learning.
We don’t talk about assessment. We talk about evidence of learning… how were you evidencing learning?
Evidence of learning can be and is diverse. It could be evidence of knowledge, or scholarship. The challenge for teaching teams, then is determining what evidence would be required.
Watch the full webinar and Q&A with Kathryn:
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