Mahara: No longer good enough

Portfolio based assessments are a staple in my classes: I design courses so that students build material over the whole course for collection and submission at the end.  I should probably use a ePortfolio tool to support that, but not even Mahara, easily the best of them, is good enough. Why?  it lacks three key features – group export, export to pdf and  capturing bibliographic metadata. Continue reading Mahara: No longer good enough

Persistent Personal Learning Archives

Digitally archiving most of your learning activity is now possible, which means you can share it later, out of context. As an example of how this might be problematic, suppose you present in an interview a short video clip of a classroom discussion on a controversial topic in which you demonstrate excellence and I appear to be incompetent or immoral – and I happen to be the next candidate facing that interview board.

This is now a plausible scenario, whereas a decade ago it was impossible. The transformation in digital media over the past decade has radically changed things which we formerly took for granted. I’m discussing this in my paper at PLEConf14 next week, but I wanted to bring out the central assumption here – that learners can create Persistent Personal  Learning Archives. Continue reading Persistent Personal Learning Archives

Stiviano, Sterling, and personal archivists in the digital age

The enormous financial repercussions of the leaking of a recording of  Donald Sterling, made by mutual agreement by his archivist, Vanessa Stiviano brings the issue of archiving and privacy to the headlines again.  The idea that someone might have a personal archivist might seem odd to most of us, but Sterling would not be the first billionaire with a long and controversial past who felt   it was time to start gather a record of his life. Continue reading Stiviano, Sterling, and personal archivists in the digital age

Why I never set essays anymore

Burning plagiarising students at the stake seems to be a major focus of the academic world these days, and I written about that elsewhere previously on this blog. In passing, I said I would discuss how I create assessments which are mostly proof against plagiarism.

Creating assessments based on learning outcomes is a mugs game – all you are assessing is the outcome, but not the process, and students will find a way to shortcut to the outcome. Academics assume that  an essay or paper of a specific length, with proper references based on assigned readings is a good measure of student learning. Continue reading Why I never set essays anymore