Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Dual Language Presentation

Today, I did a presentation as part of a panel on Electronic/Digital Portfolios in Latin America. I prepared the presentation in English. Thanks to Dra. María Elena Chan Núñez of Universidad de Guadalajara, the presentation was translated into Spanish. In Zoom, I presented in English and listened to the English translation of the other two presentations in Spanish. 

It was my first ePortfolio presentation since the pandemic began. I was beginning to wonder if the interest in ePortfolios was killed by the virus and remote learning! One of my regular newsletters, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), published this 57th Occasional Paper, which discusses "the history, use, and attributes of high-impact ePortfolio practice at IUPUI, as well as the development of an ePortfolio taxonomy, and concludes with a case study from its Philanthropic Studies B.A. program." They also referenced a few new ePortfolio books for higher educators that are great contributions to the field:

  • Eynon, B., & Gambino, L. (2017). High-impact ePortfolio practice: A catalyst for student, faculty, and institutional learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC. 

  • Eynon, B., & Gambino, L. (2018). Catalyst in action: Case studies of high-impact ePortfolio practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

  • Yancey, K.B., ed. (2019). ePortfolio-as-curriculum: Diverse models and practices. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Classic Google Sites going away (BOO!)

My Problem: I have been wrestling with my Classic Google Sites problem, along with my HTML editing-on-my-Mac problem (ever since my Dreamweaver software was no longer compatible with my version of MacOS... and then the open-source web page editor Compozer was discontinued). I have reached a point where I have a lot of decisions to make about my web presence, especially since I am officially retired. I want to continue making these resources available, but the WWW doesn't stand still and I'm not sure I have the energy to keep up. I am still maintaining my domain names and traditional web hosting platform, but it is becoming more difficult to balance the costs and benefits.

I am very irritated with Google, for abandoning (especially) many educational users. A major problem with electronic portfolios is the durability of platforms... forget about "ePortfolios for life" unless it is in raw HTML, which doesn't work for 99% of users. In my "online portfolio adventure" ( I started creating my online portfolio in 2004, and most of those versions are obsolete (either the service is shut down or I am unable to edit). There are some exceptions, but now my favorite, classic Google Sites, is going away.

I will work on converting some of my most important sites, and will need to make some decisions about my online strategy. If I were to continue my research, I think I would recommend a blogging platform (Blogger or WordPress/EduBlog) to manage "reflective journal" ePortfolios, recognizing that the Showcase ePortfolio is only temporary. One advantage of the open-source Mahara platform is that they incorporate the journal and the showcase in one tool... the disadvantage is the need for a server (or online service).

Questions I Have: Is there an "easy" way to convert Classic Google Sites and capture/maintain the navigation panes? I read that the new Sites does not convert tables. When Google "archives" my sites to my Google Drive in 2022, in what format will they be save? Raw HTML? Will the navigation structure be saved? Is there a third-party tool that will be more helpful than Google's built-in transition tool? I have a lot more questions, but I have just started my research.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Two computers, four decades in between!

Apple ][MacBook Pro

Forty years ago this week in 1981, I bought my first personal computer (an Apple ][, the motherboard now converted into a clock). Today, I use a year-old MacBook Pro (16 GB RAM, 1TB SSD). Over these four decades, I have witnessed major changes in personal computing: my first major learning experience was teaching myself VisiCalc which inspired my 1991 dissertation research on adult self-directed learning and Personal Computer competency. From my eight years in the Fairbanks School District, to the decade at the University of Alaska Anchorage, to my four years on a federal grant helping teacher educators implement electronic portfolios, and my research with high school students, I have witnessed massive change and participated in my own limited way.

From computer hardware/software, including Smartphones, to the Internet, to teaching/learning strategies, the last 40 years have had a profound impact on our personal and professional lives. During the last year, because of the pandemic, I celebrated Holiday meals with family on Zoom, witnessed my school-age grandchildren learning online with laptops (and a Chromebook) and both my adult granddaughters working with online universities to earn teaching credentials. Marking this 40th anniversary of my personal involvement in the information revolution has given me an opportunity to reflect on the larger societal changes in teaching/learning and everyday life. (My iPhone never leaves my side!)
Every ten years I have marked major changes in both my personal and professional life. What will the next ten years bring? Will my optimistic view prevail? Will we be able to address the dark side of the Web? Of AI? I have chosen to see the positive changes, but recognize the negative impacts as well. I pray that the common good succeeds.