ePortfolios and authentic learning on the Michigan campus

The Michigan campus is quite decentralized, which is reflected in the diverse ePortfolio efforts, tools, and approaches. Through the excellent work of Carrie Luke and her team at the library, there was an ePortfolio summit last year to bring a central tone to the conversation on campus. The tide for centralized services seem to be rising with shared services being rolled out in the areas of IT and Finance. Instructional support may go that route as well, and ePortfolio stakeholders need to keep this impending trend in mind. The campuses are also easing into a new LMS, Canvas, which has more native features to support ePortfolios, as compared to the flavor of Sakai currently in use. With the White House’s push for competency based education and workforce development, more programs are expected to turn to ePortfolios and other tools that evaluate performance - especially federally funded education, training, and mentoring programs.

The Michigan campus in general has a dynamic history of ePortfolios, our flagship website is at http://www.mportfolio.umich.edu/. I currently work in training & mentoring of clinical & translational researchers: ePortfolios are highly tailored and personalized for scholars. We are focussed on authentic assessments through methods such as OSCEs (objective structured clinical examination), reflection writing, and more. The newest conversation on the campus is happening at the Digital Education Institute sponsored by the provost: http://digitaleducation.umich.edu/

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Originally posted by gifsourcetheweekmagazine

Towards a Results Accountability-based Program Charter Template

Towards a Results Accountability-based Program Charter Template

As a certified professional, jargon is my default setting. I have to work on making stuff plain language for non-engineers (pretty much the rest of my world.) Last year I helped establish a PMO, and an important part was the program management template for our unit, which could use a little more plain language.

A great way to synthethize RA learning is to start modifying the program charter I…

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Training: Applying “Talk to Action” to two personal concerns

Situation

After having reviewed the textbook, seen the first 20 minutes of Mark Friedman’s hour long talk in Toronto, and scanned implementations in Wales, New Zealand, I was itching to get my hands dirty and do something. Anything.

Task

I picked two things important to me: professional development and elder parents care, neither a crises, and both requiring long term planning and sustained…

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External Enemy: Sense of Urgency

There is a lot of talk on rapid failure. However, if failure is not sowed back quickly, fertilized by a sense of urgency in the soil of good culture, it becomes a candidate for cover up.

My first national scale, multimillion dollar project had completed it’s first major milestone: hosting a national conference. Complacency from the success seemed to be getting better of the team. An error in procurements for the next meeting did not show itself until about 6 weeks before the next national meeting. The error meant a few 10s of thousands of dollars worth of expense or sacrifice in features. 

I was glad to have read (and listened) Kotter’s book Sense of Urgency twice in 2014: Once in May, and then again in Fall. Converting the failure into a story, finding an external artifact to fight against, the team started coming together as one force against all odds to prevent further slip ups. Inspired by the determination to make the best of the situation, people put their game faces on and started delivering high quality productivity within a week, well in advance of the national conference. 

The road ahead is tough. Four more weeks to the conference, but at least the support team is acting like one big coalition towards this deliverable. I wish them and myself luck on the uphill task ahead.

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Education xChange

Design Thinking Conference at the U-M Ross School of Business 

January 23, 2015

This one day event was organized jointly by U-M with local tech companies actively presenting and showing demos. Assessment, Technology vs Instructional Design, Games for Education, and K-12 education were themes visible throughout the talks. 

The keynote highlighted Google’s past, present, and future with education. The case of a geography teacher from Grand Rapids visiting CERN in Switzerland, and doing a Google hangout with his class while in the CERN reactor, as he biked along the accelerator was an impressive idea. It highlighted Google’s commitment to 10X improvements, not small incremental improvements in technology available to the masses. Speakers were Michigan alumni, working at Google. U-M faculty like Barry Fishman and Perry Samson presented and/or participated in panels on improving education. I learnt that Dr. Fishman (School of Ed) led President Obama’s digital education initiative planning team. Nice.

Overall, the resounding message said: technology is a means to the end of quality education. Teaching and assessment design matter much more than technology, and Jordan won a Samsung Galaxy tablet in Google’s end-of-keynote raffle.