Monday, May 05, 2008

Harvesting Gradebook

I am at the ePortfolio conference in Montreal, and thought I would add an entry to my blog about an article that I am referencing entitled, "The Future of Web 2.0" which was published in Campus Technology on February 27, 2008. This was an interview with Gary Brown, Director of Washington State University's Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. This quote is especially appropriate for using Web 2.0 tools within the context of assessment.
Right now at WSU, one of the things we're developing in collaboration with Microsoft is a "harvesting" gradebook. So as an instructor in an environment like this, my gradebook for you as a student has links to all the different things that are required of you in order for me to credit you for completing the work in my class. But you may have worked up one of the assignments in Flickr, another in Google Groups, another in Picasa, and another in a wiki. Maybe you've also made some significant contributions to Wikipedia. So, I need a gradebook where I have the link you've provided me, rather than a copy of the work, and the gradebook should be capable of pulling in all of these various sources.


Nils Peterson said...

Thanks for your interest in Gary Brown's thinking about Harvesting Gradebook and the way students own the problems and the materials that are going into the gradebook, you might be interested in some related work at CTLT, the 2007-08 ePortfolio contest.

" The goal of the 2007 - 08 WSU ePortfolio Contest was to harness the interests and expertise of the WSU community to address real world problems encountered by communities both locally and globally. It called upon contestants to collaborate with community members - institutional, local, or global – to identify a problem, explore solutions, develop a plan, and then take steps toward implementing that plan. Contestants were asked to use electronic portfolios to capture and reflect on their collaborative problem-solving processes and the impact of their projects. "

An idea we are discovering in these portfolios is that they are workspaces as well as portfolios, and we are calling them "learning portfolios" as differentiated from "showcase portfolios."

The authentic problems posed by students working in the contest has us asking, when you take the portfolio out of the classroom, how do you take the assessment out there with it? This is leading us into both new ideas about what the portfolio needs to be and how the community can and should play a role in the assessment of the learning.

Which in turn has led to our exploration of ideas like the harvesting gradebook in collaboration with Microsoft. Unlike the traditional gradebook, where a number goes into a cell, the harvesting gradebook needs a structure in each cell that can hold rich objects, like links, self-, peer- and community assessment.

We'd enjoy continuing this conversation with you.

Nils Peterson said...


Here is further detail on our thinking about 'harvesting grade book' and the transformative implications it has for learners, teachers, and academic programs.