The MDDE610 course provided a wonderful opportunity to develop the skills necessary for a cumulative and reflective collection of learning achievements through the ePortfolio assignment. As I worked through the unit modules I was able to practice, apply and reflect on the various uses for a wide variety of technologies, while also completing a sort of dress rehearsal for the overall MEd DE Capstone ePortfolio (3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5). Technologies in this portfolio include:
- Electronic portfolios
- Asynchronous tools
- Synchronous tools
- Social software educational tools
- Computer based education
- Web 2.0 applications
- Mobile applications
- Cloud computing, virtualization
This artefact stands alone as a reflective exercise, but also showcases my technical competencies, interest areas, and collaborative engagement with my classmates.
The ePortfolio was developed with two navigational menus. The first arranges the content by Unit Objectives, the second by technology categories. This allows users to navigate the site according to their preference or needs. Each webpage is linked to it's associated pages, so it doesn't matter which menu is chosen as either selection will still result in navigation across all elements of the collection.
Artefact 2 Link
The following competencies were developed during the process of completing the EPortfolio assignment.
|1. Problem Solving, Analysis, & Decision Making|
|1.4.||Find and access information|
|1.5.||Critically evaluate the relevance of information for a given situation|
|1.6.||Compare alternatives using critical analysis|
|1.7.||Make reasoned arguments using critical reflection, leading to rational solutions.|
|1.9.||Present them to others|
|2. Instructional Design & Development|
|2.1||Critically analyze and discuss the implications of personal perspectives and epistemological orientations for the teaching-learning process|
|3. Communication Technologies and Networking|
|3.1||Use a variety of communication and document-sharing tools to create, reflect, and communicate with others|
|3.2||Analyze and evaluate the various applications and implications of these technologies|
|3.3||Justify the applications of these technologies in real-life contexts on the basis of theory and research|
|3.4||Compare and evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of these technologies in various distance education contexts|
|3.5||Apply these technologies in distance education and in real-life instructional contexts.|
|4. Communication & Interpersonal Skills|
|4.1||Write clearly and in a style appropriate to purpose (e.g. assignments, essays, published documents, and theses)|
|4.2||Construct coherent arguments and articulate ideas clearly to a range of audiences, formally and informally, through a variety of techniques and media|
|4.4||Support the learning of others when involved in teaching, mentoring, moderating, collaboration or demonstration activities|
|4.5||Participate and contribute effectively in collaborative group activities|
|4.6||Demonstrate effective design, delivery and critical evaluation of presentations, computer conferences, or seminars|
|6. Management, Organization and Leadership|
|6.3||Make considered recommendations regarding the selection of appropriate learning technologies and assure that these selections meet organizational needs|
|6.5||Manage workload, other commitments, and information needs within time and structural constraints (in both personal and team management situations)|
The ePortfolio assignment provided ample opportunity to critically analyze the application of a variety of technologies for education (1.5). The assignment required the application of all competencies in the Communications Technologies and Networking domain (3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5). The process generated new insights into my own preferences while also revealing the outdated notions I carried about certain technologies (3.1). For example, I was surprised to see the most basic applications such as email and news-feeds included with more advanced and current technologies: the range was impressive. Initially, some of these older technologies struck me as being obsolete. I wasn't able to fully appreciate their inclusion in the course until I worked through the unit objectives (1.4). As I began to use and discuss the various uses for these technologies in education I came to see that it was my perception of these tools that was actually out-dated (2.1) and I learned that there was much I could do to increase the effectiveness of these tools in my work (1.4, 1.6, 3.4).
The process of collecting and presenting my achievements required a great deal of consideration about what to include and much planning as to the method of presentation for each artifact (1.7, 6.3). I chose to work with WordPress as the presentation tool. I had some previous experience with webdesign software and had focused on WordPress for another assignment in the MDDE610 course (1.9) so it was a natural opportunity to practice what I had learned (4.1). Now, as I look back at my ePortfolio, I can't help but wish I had done one for every course I ever completed. The benefits of being able to select, organize, curate and digitally archive learning experiences are immeasurable. Though they take a great deal of work, I am appreciating the record more and more as time passes and the finer details of my learning become less clear. I'm also very proud of how it turned out. A great deal of effort was invested in its creation and I have shared it many times over with both colleagues and friends. I've found it a useful tool to begin to explain what my education has been about and I look forward to using this Capstone ePortfolio in a similar way.
Group Process & Collaboration:
It’s difficult to separate the assignment from the overall course experience as each aspect of the course fueled and influenced the assignment outcomes. The course demanded interactions and collaborations with others that weren’t specifically tied to the ePortfolio but were in fact evident in the final product (3.1). The support from my group was remarkable. The collaboration between us was so much different than the "divide the work and conquer" approaches I experienced in earlier courses (3.1, 4.4). Most of us were at least half way through the MEd program, so I wondered if perhaps a maturity for collaboration and adequate skill-base was in place to really capitalize on group collaborations. We spent a great deal of time supporting each other, sharing ideas, offering feedback on our work and generally cheering each other on (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6). Though our individual work contexts were quite different, we were able to learn from, with and alongside each other (4.7, 4.8). Our communication continued long after the course finished and we are still sharing ideas, supporting each other and seeking feedback, even though we are no longer in the same class. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank my group members for their contribution to my learning experience.
I believe this course really challenged me to give up my “lone-wolf” approach to learning. This tendency to do things on my own and to shy away from interactive learning has been steadily shifting throughout the program, and this assignment gave me a creative way to make connections with my team members. I believe it was also due in part to the fact that we were assigned to the same group members for the duration of the course. As a result, I believe my team skills have improved, I have increased respect for the work of others, and I’m more likely to engage with fellow learners to enhance my own understanding. These shifts have resulted in a genuine desire to help others succeed. I’m not focused on getting the best grade or being the top of the class, but rather focused on ways to best utilize the input of others so we can all reap greater rewards. As I return to work in the fall as Academic Coordinator, I’m looking forward to seeing how these shifts translate to my leadership style and actions.
Of special note:
The completion of this artefact was also done during an incredibly difficult time. I had travelled a long distance from home and moved in with my sister-in-law who was in her final weeks with cancer. She wanted to die at home and required 24 hr care. It was a privilege to be with her as she passed away but it was also an incredibly trying time, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Despite these circumstances, I was able to continue my studies (6.5). This is one of the most amazing things about distance education; being able to continue studies when significant barriers arise. Having experienced that first-hand during the development of this artefact, I believe it to be significant and worthy of being included in this reflection. One of the quotes from my MDDE 610 ePortfolio sums it up, "Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of technology and the affordances of distance education, I was able to remain connected with my group members and participate as much as possible despite such difficult circumstances. I believe this experience has underlined for me, on a very personal level, the amazing potential of technology to break down barriers to education experienced by people across the globe." (Cross, 2014).
A dedication page to Linda was included in this artefact in honour of her and in gratitude for her never-ending support.