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Darren Cambridge ELI Webinar July 11, 2011

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  1. Seeking Evidence for Impact: Lessons from the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research Darren Cambridge ELI Webinar July 11, 2011

  2. Overview • Conceptual foundations of approach • Structure of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research • Findings about three types of learning • Contributing factors

  3. The Importance of Having Problems In scholarship and research, having a "problem" is at the heart of the investigative process; it is the compound of the generative questions around which all creative and productive activity revolves. But in one’s teaching, a "problem" is something you don’t want to have, and if you have one, you probably want to fix it. … How might we make the problematization of teaching a matter of regular communal discourse? How might we think of teaching practice, and the evidence of student learning, as problems to be investigated, analyzed, represented, and debated?—Randy Bass

  4. Three curricula Kathleen Yancey, Reflection in the Writing Classroom

  5. Research into the Swamp “There is a high, hard ground where practitioners can make effective use of [traditional] research-based theory and techniques, and there is a swampy lowland where situations are confusing ‘messes’ incapable of technical solution. The difficulty is that the problems of the high ground, however great their technical interest, are often relatively unimportant to clients or to the larger society, while in the swamp are the problems of greatest human concern.” Donald Schön

  6. Transactional Research • Practitioners generate research questions • Goal is to influence practice • Methodologies chosen based on knowledge about learning, not exclusively current disciplinarily-accepted methodologies • Agency for answering the questions resides in multiple constituents • practitioner researchers • learners • peer practitioner researchers • Diversity provides robustness

  7. discussion

  8. Coalition structure

  9. Coalition Exigency • Rapid growth in use of electronic portfolios in the United States (and beyond) • Wide diversity of models • Considerable potential to impact learning and engagement • Evidence uneven and unintegrated Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  10. Coalition Structure • Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research established in 2003 • Led by Barbara Cambridge (AAHE/NCTE), Kathleen Yancey (Clemson/FSU), Darren Cambridge (EDUCAUSE/GMU/AIR) • Six cohorts of about ten campuses that work together for three years Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  11. Cohort 3 California State Universities Florida State University Framingham State University George Mason University Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Penn State University University of San Diego Seton Hall University Sheffield Hallam University University of Waterloo University ofWolverhampton Cohort 2 Clemson University Kapi’olani Community College George Mason University Thomas College The Ohio State University University of Georgia University of Illinois University of Nebraska Omaha Washington State University Arizona State University Cohort 1 Alverno College Bowling Green State University Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) LaGuardia Community College Northern Illinois University Portland State University Stanford University University of Washington Virginia Tech University

  12. Cohort 6 Bowling Green State University Curtin University of Technology (Australia) Goshen College Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Lamar UniversityNortheastern University Portland State University University of Georgia University of Michigan University of Mississippi Virginia Military InstituteWestminster College Cohort 5 Kapi’olani Community College Louisiana State University University of Akron University of Cincinnati University of Denver University of North Carolina Wilmington University of Oregon Virginia State University Virginia Tech Cohort 4 University of Bradford University of Cumbria University of Groningen London Metropolitan University University of Manchester Medical School University of Michigan University of Northumbria University of Nottingham University of Wolverhampton Queen Margaret University College

  13. Coalition Activities • Individual questions and collaborative themes • Two meetings a year • Blog, newsletter, and Ning • Interaction between cohorts • Consultations with Coalition leadership • Coordinated dissemination Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  14. Intra-campus Practices • Diverse team • Space for forming • Narrow but open question • Balance between intellectual and pragmatic purposes Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  15. Diverse Team • Both people who have research in their job title and those who don’t • Reflective of the range of people involved in portfolio practice on the campus • Include administrators • Include students • Portland State: Administrators, students, faculty from multiple disciplines Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  16. Space for Forming • Need sufficient time and space to develop • Shared expectations • Shared conceptual framework • Personal relationships within team Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  17. Narrow but Open Question • Well-focused research question • Openness to the data taking you elsewhere Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  18. Intellectual and Pragmatic Purposes • Clear sense of audiences and purposes of research • Practitioner research doesn’t have to be just evaluation • Balance between what you need to justify your work and what’s intellectually meaningful • Practice as inquiry Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  19. Diversity and Balance • Who might you ask to join your team you’ve not previously considered? • What aspects of your project can you expand or emphasize to balance intellectual and pragmatic value? Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  20. Inter-campus Practices • Senior administrative support • Triangulation rather than replication • Collaborative exploration of methodologies • Regular conversations with neutral experts • Multiple genres of reporting out Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  21. Senior Administrative Support • Three-year commitment of travel funding from institutional budget • Confirmation of commitment to portfolio practice • Regular updates and notes of thanks • Ideally, member of the team Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  22. Triangulation • Triangulation rather than replication • Enough structure to focus and connect, but not restrict • No one strict definition of “research” • Shared themes but not a mandated research question • Cohorts One and Two: Catalog and taxonomy of reflective artifacts • Critical friends Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  23. Collaborative Exploration of Methodology • Guided exploration of research methodologies and methods • Both a way to plan the project and a way to develop shared understanding of research • Breaking out of received notions of research through conversations • Across disciplines • Across campuses Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  24. Conversations with Experts • Quarterly conference calls with a Coalition leader • Periodic occasions for reviewing and asking questions • The questioning is probably more important than the advice Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  25. Multiple Reporting Genres • Variety of forms of reporting • One-pagers • Blue Skies questions • Thick descriptions of artifacts • Presentations of evidence • Chats • Helps to stimulate creativity and accommodate multiple styles Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

  26. Discussion

  27. Emergent results

  28. Dimensions of Learning • Reflective Learning • Integrative Learning • Learning to Establish Identity

  29. Reflective learning • Eportfolios can document reflective ability • Eportfolios reveal a positive correlation between the quality of reflection and evidence • The relationship between reflection and evidence is more complex than previously considered

  30. Northern Illinois University

  31. Transactional Benefits • Alverno • Beginning with faculty conceptual frameworks leads to better integration into practice • Northern Illinois • Teaching assistants as researchers leads to stronger investment in reflective practice • George Mason • Student affairs educators as researchers leads to expansion of knowledge in both domains

  32. Integrative Learning Eportfolio use correlates with increased student engagement.

  33. LaGuardia CCSSE Results How much has your coursework emphasized synthesizing & organizing ideas, information, or experiences in new ways? 1 = Very Little, 2 = Some, 3= Quite a Bit, 4 = Very Much

  34. LaGuardia ePortfolio & Retention

  35. Kapi’olani Community College

  36. Transactional Benefits • LaGuardia • Multiple methodologies for different constituencies • Students as co-inquirers essential to interpretation • Kapi’olani • Impact and interpretation situated in cultural context

  37. Learning to Establish Identity Eportfolios can help engender strong and complex professional identities.

  38. University of Waterloo “Again, this is also describing the relationship between employees in audit engagements as well as school assignments. The only difference I noticed is that in school assignments, everyone has around the same educational and technical background, whereas during an audit engagement, there are different levels of employees (senior managers, managers, senior staff and junior staff) grouped together to provide a larger variety of mindset during the engagement. I believe that creating a group with different levels of employees is the most efficient method because junior staff will be learning from more experienced staff during the engagement, senior staff will be able to concentrate on the more difficult aspects of the audit while junior staff could complete the small, simple and tedious tasks, and finally the audit team can get a larger variety of ideas due to the diverse members.”

  39. Clemson University

  40. Virginia Tech

  41. Transactional Benefits • Cross-disciplinary collaboration yields expanded methods for understanding profession • Students serve as co-inquirers through reflective representation of their experience

  42. Contributing factors • Matrix thinking • Ownership and expressive range • Structure and support

  43. Matrix Thinking

  44. Freedom and Structure • Expressive range • Visual design • Linking • Use of multiple media • Structure and support • Levels of structure appropriate to student ability • Language tailored to discipline and profession • Peer mentoring and mentors as peers

  45. Electronic Portfolios 2.0: Emergent Research on Implementation and Impact • Collection of 24 chapters detailing research from the first three years of the Coalition • Published by Stylus in 2009 • More about the Coalition at ncepr.org

  46. Eportfolios for Lifelong Learning and Assessment • Connects the work of the Coalition to a broader theoretical framework and wider range of research • Published by Jossey-Bass in 2010 • More about my work at ncepr.org/darren