In the beginning there was grad school. That ended in 2010. Now what do I blog about?


March 31, 2010

ePortfolios 3

Ok, so after considering all my options and even looking at new-to-me tools like Posterous and Weebly, I decided to go with good ol' Google Sites for my ePortfolio.
So far I am having fun building it. Its definitely more functional than Epsilen. I am building pages to showcase all my social networks - LinkedIn, SlideShare, Google Reader, Delicious, YouTube, so far and there will be much much more. A hidden objective is to use it to land a part time teaching gig in the fall. Holler at me if you want a sneak peek!

Below, a table of options as requested by a reader. ((Scroll way down - sorry for the gap - I have tried tweaking the template CSS but can't seem to get the table to fall correctly in this post.))

Epsilen Blog Wiki
Text Fill in the boxes Posting Pages, with various layouts nad variety of design options for color, height& width
Images Yes; upload/insert standard formats Yes; upload/insert standard formats or embed from web Yes; upload/insert standard formats or embed from web
Attachments Yes; standard formats or via link to pre-pub No. Link to prepublished document; linking out to Google Docs works fine Yes; standard formats or link out to pre-pub docs
SlideShare Link to site Link out and/or embed Link out and/or embed
Video Link out and/or embed Link out and/or embed Link out and/or embed
Feedback Allowed for authorized users General blog comment tool with options Comments section can be toggeled on or off for each page; login may be needed to add comments (depends on platform and privacy settings)
User interface Traditional layout with traditional left nav Reverse chronological posting with comments. Modules/widgets depend on platform, template and layout options Nav based on posting date, or tags Functions like a website. Variety of nav options - top, left, right, bottom and combined. Customizable nav options, modules and widgets; tables of content can be added to any page for subpage nav.
Template Color options only Variety depends on platform and your knowledge of CSS and HTML Variety depends on platform and your knowledge of CSS and HTML
Layout No variations Single 2- or 3- column options. Variety depends on platform and your knowledge of CSS and HTML Variety depends on platform and your knowledge of CSS and HTML
Accessibility Open (Public) or access key required. Access key prompts for content sections Open (public) or private. Open (public), private (login required to view); or combined (read-only; login required to add comments)

March 17, 2010

eportfolios, part 2

Me to colleague on sister campus, via our campus technology Google Group:

Neither (grad school) nor (work) had an eportfolio platform. (Work) was promised eportfolios via Blackboard years ago (I'm sure you remember) but it never came to fruition. So, on my own, I started exploring tools with RCampus and Epsilen. Epsilen won out because of cleaner appearance and simpler UI. Note - I have web dev background so it was easy to figure out modules and folder structures, adding files and managing links - a 'normal person' might be stumped without formal training in either environment.

Flash FWD 2.5 years and now it's time to finalize my eportfolio for submission. Most students in my grad program submit a CD-R with files on it. Boring! And hello, this is a teaching w/technology program - let's use web resources, people! I return to Epsilen to start updating. I see changes such as there are more templates to personalize it, but it's still not robust enough for my liking. It's online storage, essentially. So I am considering building an eportfolio in a wiki, so I can create pages and embed my slidedecks from SlideShare and my tutorials from YouTube. Neat, hunh?

But then I learn from a member of my PLN that her grad school rejected her online eportfolio because it was too complicated. So she had to go back to standard document files on a CD-R. She was disappointed and annoyed, as you can imagine, because what she built was dynamic and engaging - the panel simply didn't bother to take a few minutes to explore; they obviously just wanted a list of files they could check off. So this makes me take into consideration people who will be viewing my eportfolio. I like building and I may be able to use it in the future, so a wiki portfolio would be cool. And maybe I'll put it all on a CD-R, just in case.


March 09, 2010

Sometimes people say exactly what you need to hear when you need to hear it

Here's a snippet from a conversation I had with a faculty member today. Note, this conversation was a text-message conversation. She is the only faculty member who I converse with this way. I think it is useful, powerful and easy to do - we actually get a lot of stuff done via text-chat.

We were talking about adding Twitter or Polleverywhere or something like that to an upcoming 1/2 day student event. We were talking about the faculty involved and their level of tech. We talked about the event and what the agenda is looking like so far. Then we talked about the audience and where they are at right now (med students have it rough, this group of students in particular). This is the summary of our text chat late this afternoon as I started to wrap things up and get ready to hit the treadmill.

I had had a difficult morning having to 'go there' with a colleague. I felt stressed, emotional and pinned down most of the day because of that morning encounter. Having an intelligent, productive conversation with this faculty helped to shake off that 'icky' feeling from this morning, but what she said in closing really made me smile. Sometimes people say exactly what you need to hear when you need to hear it. My treadmill won't get such a beating now.

me: don't like the ads. don't see a mobile app for it. never mind... : (
might work for the (project) though, if we ever needed an online chat room.

suzanakm: yup.. might work there... :)

me: At any rate, could talk more about the (student event) and adding a tech piece to it. But i dare repeat: know your audience. They are tired (student group), at this stage in the AY most of 'em are just wanting to get their rotations over with and move into 4th year and start applying for residency. If you can engage them somehow so the day is fun that's good, but the fun should support the learning objective first & foremost.

suzanakm: ok.. That makes sense. Keep it simple, focus on the learning objectives, pick tech that can enhance and avoid that which can distract - and don't overuse. Does that summarize it?

me: you got it, suzanakm!

suzanakm: btw - EVERYONE loves you at UMMS!

me: LOL....thanks. i needed to hear that today.

suzanakm: all I need to say is "Ca..." and I am interrupted with fabulous, positive words and sentences about you. I ask, You are speaking of (carrie@umass), aren't you? They nod enthusiastically. :)

me: LOL... : )