Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog or ePortfolio? 2

Okay...I've got three arguments. Three ideas on the way to an argument about what we need to do.

1) Blogging.
Here is the first idea of a successful blogging: what it means to be a successful implement of "blogging" in a college-level course. No, not a "blog" but a condition of "blogging" among students that we are trying to create. This is what we mean by building an online community.

This semester, I required all students in all of my classes to start a blog. I wanted them to become independent thinkers. This project is unexpectedly going well.

2) ePortfolio.
The idea of ePortfolio. When you think about ePortfolio, you might think about an online portfolio that organizes uniformed contents, something like the Interfolio or the SlideRoom. This is not what I mean. I mean ePortfolio that separates a student from all others, something that helps my students stand out in a crowd.

The closest concept may be a digital artist's book. For me, the idea of blogging has always been associated with an expansion of ePortfolio, right from the beginning.

What I did not know was that my students had something else on their mind.

3) Trust and Independence
My painting students teamed up two weeks ago and told me that they wanted to continue with blogs only---no more ePortfolio---.

Let me go back to the point (1) above for a second. I worked very hard in the beginning of the semester to convert all of my students into bloggers. This project is unexpectedly going well. It IS successful---SO SUCCESSFUL that they are now protesting the use of ePortfolio.

After close discussions with them, I now have a better idea of what is going on. Yes, there is a lesson.

What should I do now? I would like to offer an overview of what would be pros and cons of in this environment. Blackboard is another system that can be replaced by Blogger, so I considered it when making the list below. Hope this is helpful.

Easy to use "like Facebook" (quoted from my student.)
Students can access their own sites forever after graduation (quoted from my student.)
A link to an ePortfolio can offer an expansion of the ePortfolio system.
Less down time during the midterm and the final.
More freedom in customizing the service.
Students will be able to evaluate and analyze two online systems on their own even before instructors ask them to do so.

Blogs may be blocked on a corporate computer if students work at major corporations.
Textbook copyright issues.
No Grade Center.
No SafeAssign.
No Usage or Log-on Tracking.
Students can protest ePortfolio and/or Blackboard by learning a more intuitive user interface.

(Recommendation or Things that would happen in the near future)
Offer students an option of purchasing access to ePortfolio forever, even after two years of graduation. This is a business opportunity!
Develop a more intuitive user interface for ePortfolio [but I heard there was a long way to arrive the current "Digication" era].


  1. Interesting arguments. I am sorry that students feel that our e-portfolio system is not the best for the kind of work they want to do. I guess there are always places like Google Sites if they want something that they own...

    Could you explain more about the "blogs being blocked" part? Is this a concern because students may want to work on their blogs from work? (Because they can access their blogs by phone)

  2. Hi Doctor X!

    Major corporations restrict employees' access to personal websites and blogs on the internet even outside of official work hours. They give out "quota"---let's say all employees can view 60 mins of those sites per month, but of those 60 mins, only 10 mins for each of them, etc.

    My students with mobile devices say they don't do blogs on phones. It is easier for them to email professors.

  3. I now have a second thought about the "ePortfolio not being intuitive enough for students" part. It seems very intuitive to me (I just created my teaching ePortfolio as a test) and I am not sure why my students felt that way.

  4. I wrote you a long response which was subsequently eaten by Blogger, sigh:-(
    It would be interesting to know more about your students' experience of digication eP as un-intuitive.

  5. For me the main distinction lies in the audience experience - the viewer/visitor (maybe curator?) looking at the work. It seems much easier to grasp the artist's body (or bodies) of work from a portfolio than from a blog. The blog can give insight into the artist's practice or process. So I guess it would depend on who you're planning to share it with and why.

  6. I have always suspected that students prefer spaces they "own" and no one else can control--or remove them from if they don't pay tuition. But that could be observer bias.