In my Computer Authoring course, I ask students to share Clear and Unclear blog posts each week, reflecting on what they learn and do not understand in the module. I use Canvas’ group feature to have them share the URL for their blog post with blog buddies. I ask them to give their blog buddies feedback on each new post. Students do this by creating announcements in their Canvas group area. They can even get fancy and add their blogs as external feeds so that new posts automatically appear as group announcements when new reflections are posted.
I also ask students to share the URL for their blog post with me through a Canvas assignment web link. This allows me to know when new posts are ready for assessment. I then use Canvas’ SpeedGrader tool to quickly move from assignment to assignment, which saves me precious time when grading. This pays off for students because the less time I spend hunting for their blog posts, the more time I can spend giving feedback and getting their graded work to them in a timely manner.
I created this short video to explain how students should submit their blog posts and what I see when it is submitted correctly.
Workshop at the 2014 NCCE Conference in Seattle
Blogging portfolios or bPortfolios will be introduced, including how they can be used to improve student achievement. Participants will learn how to: implement bPortfolios, assess student reflections, scaffold students in reflective writing, particularly with regards to Common Core Standards, and implement learning analytics based on bPortfolio and student achievement data.
Wicks, D., Lumpe, A., Chen, D., Sallee, J. (2014, March). Blogging to improve student achievement. Workshop presented at the Northwest Council for Computer Education, Seattle, WA.
The maturation of free ubiquitous video conferencing tools provides an opportunity for faculty members to experiment with alternatives to conventional asynchronous discussion forums commonly used in online courses. However, there continues to be debate about whether synchronous video conferencing has a meaningful role to play in an online course environment. Although the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework’s influence in asynchronous discussion is well documented in the literature, it is less clear what role synchronous conferencing has in a Community of Inquiry (CoI). It is also unclear whether synchronous modes of inquiry provide worthwhile benefits for an online instructor. This study explores how the use of innovative video conferencing tools in an online course attends to the elements of the CoI.
In this mixed methods study, we observed weekly teacher and student inquiry by examining Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts through the lens of CoI. The course used for this study was an online graduate course focused on the use of technology for teaching. We hypothesized that those students who participated in more synchronous conferencing sessions would perceive significantly higher levels of all three CoI elements and would engage in richer discourse supporting learning of the course content. We also analyzed student perceptions of the social, teaching, and cognitive presence through the CoI survey (Swan, 2008).
In order to examine the CoI related discourse, a corpus of text was utilized in this study which included Google Hangout transcripts, Vialogues threaded discussions, and student reflective WordPress blog posts. Text content analysis of this corpus represented a form of learning analytics. The text corpus was compiled and key themes were noted via qualitative constant-comparative analyses. The themes were analyzed using analytic induction to test hypotheses connecting discourse to CoI element. A form of text analytics was then applied to the text corpus in order to analyze the content of the student and teacher discourse.All text was compiled and analyzed using the Semantria (www.semantria.com) semantic linguistic program. Based on semantic algorithms from http://www.lexalytics.com/,All compiled text was analyzed for themes and sentiment. After compiling the linguistic components, statistical models were developed to compare discourse between synchronous and asynchronous environments and to predict the level of community of inquiry.
We used the Sloan Consortium’s Five Pillars to reflect on how the course’s interactive activities addressed quality. Learning effectiveness was demonstrated by increased opportunities for meaning making students had through discourse with each other and with the instructor. They were able to discuss courses readings in either a real-time Google Hangout or an asynchronous Vialogues threaded discussion. The use of freely available and ubiquitous tools makes it possible to scale the tools to multiple courses and programs. The tools provide access and flexibility for students who prefer face-to-face but need to take online courses because of work schedule or physical location. Faculty are satisfied to be able to provide options that address student discourse preferences. Finally, students report being satisfied with options to use synchronous conferencing for discussions which increases student voice.
Our presentation will share the results of our findings. Participants will learn how both synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools may be used for meaning making in an online course. We will engage the audience by web polling their preferences and promising practices pertaining to uses of synchronous technologies in primarily asynchronous online environments.
Synchronous and asynchronous video conferencing tools (Presentation PDF)
bPortfolios: Blogging for Reflective Practice
Seattle Pacific University
School of Education
David Wicks, Andrew Lumpe, Henry Algera, Kris Gritter, Helen Barrett, Janiess Sallee
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice
Web 2.0 technology, such as blogging, allows for locally developed, cost effective, and holistic alternative portfolio assessment systems. By enhancing critical reflection and fostering social interaction, blogging portfolios are seen as an integral learning tool for all students enrolled in a university program.
Description of the Effective Practice
As Ellis (2001) noted, metacognition is simply thinking about thinking. Metacognition in practice can serve as “the critical revisiting of the learning process” (Georghiades, 2004, p. 171). Critical reflection, as a form of metacognition, occurs when learners construct their own narratives based of learning experiences and professional practice. As applied to professional practices, approaches that support the examination of beliefs that emerge from these practices promote the development of more flexible and intentional approaches to effective teaching and learning (Sockman & Sharma, 2008).
Web 2.0 systems (O’Reilly, 2005), including blogs and social networks, are proposed as effective online vehicles for fostering critical reflection and feedback (Godwin-Jones, 2008). These systems can act as a form of an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) which can serve the dual role of personal reflection and program evaluation (Barrett, 2009; Yang, 2009). Blog portfolios, or bPortfolios, are one form of electronic portfolios well suited for enhancing the professional learning of teachers (Lumpe, Wicks, & Williams 2011; Wicks, 2009; Tan, 2006). The following characteristics of bPortfolios enhance critical reflection:
- Social interaction – Students share their learning reflections in an open format.
- Developmental – The reverse chronological order of posts shows learning growth.
- Organization – Categories and tags allow students to classify their reflections.
- Autonomy – Students have ownership of their personal content management system.
- Reflective – Students consider which standards are being addressed and what key words best describe the post.
- Digital citizenship – Students practice using social media to enhance digital reputations (Chaplin, 2011).
Barrett (2009) described how electronic portfolios can capture both the process and product of learning over time. The portfolio can be used as a workspace to document ongoing learning (process) and as a final showcase of achievements during a program (product). She proposes using blogging tools for such portfolios.
Up until 2009, Seattle Pacific University was using a commercially available electronic portfolio system. In addition to being rather costly, this system did not enhance aspects of critical reflection (see Chaplin’s list above), was cumbersome, and was perceived by students and faculty as a hoop to jump through in order to graduate. A more holistic approach that fostered both the process and product side of electronic portfolios was sought. A switch to bPortfolios using the freely available WordPress blogging tool (www.wordpress.com) was implemented by SPU’s School of Education beginning in 2009.
Programs using bPortfolios include the following: undergraduate teacher education, Masters of Arts in Teaching, Masters of Teaching Mathematics and Science, and Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Early during a degree or certification program, students sign up for a personal account on WordPress and set up a professional bPortfolio. The following screencasts are designed to help with bPortfolio setup: 4 Steps to Set up Your bPortfolio, 10 Questions about bPortfolios, and Assessing bPortfolios.
As students matriculate through a program (courses, internships, etc.), reflective posts documenting learning are made in the portfolio. Students add tags of keywords from the post in order to annotate content. Self-tagging is a form of personal reflection rather than social learning (Sun & Datta, 2009). Posts are linked to standards (program, state, or national) via categories. Associated artifacts including text files, graphics, videos, or links can be tied to posts to further enhance and document growth. Meta-reflections, serving as summative reflective posts, are written at the end of a course, internship experience, or other program activity. Peer and instructor feedback via the comments link on each blog post is used for formative assessment throughout a course. Summative (end of program) evaluation of the bPortfolio is conducted by faculty with a formal scoring system using rubrics. In one degree program, students self-assess their bPortfolios using rubrics tied to the program standards. When students graduate, the bPortfolio can continue to serve as a professional portfolio by the educator as they pursue jobs and higher level certifications (i.e., State and National Board Certification). Below are screenshots of several bPortfolios.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Since 2009, 113 bPortfolios were created by Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Master’s degree students. These students are practicing K-12 teachers who already held teacher certification. On average, C&I students made 46 blog posts including formative course reflections and summative meta-reflections. For the students completing this program in 2011 (the first group required to maintain a bPortfolio), the bPortfolio passing rates ranged from 89 – 95% for each of the 12 program standards with the average overall passing rate being 93.1%.
Since 2009, there were 236 bPortfolios created by teacher certification students from both graduate and undergraduate programs. On average, certification students made 95 blog posts including formative course reflections and summative meta-reflections. The number of reflective posts by certification students is twice the amount made by non-certification students possibly due to the high stakes nature of state standards for certification. In end of program evaluations, one student describes how the bPortfolio served as a holistic tool for documenting her growth.
“I felt that there was little duplication (of performance assessment data) as the bPortfolio is so much more comprehensible. The performance assessment material served as evidence in some of the bPortfolio sections, but the bPortfolio paints a more complete picture of our skills and experience.”
A research study on student use of bPortfolios tags was recently conducted (Lumpe, Wicks, & Williams, 2011). The most used blogs tags were compiled and it was noted that they represented the key themes from the students’ degree programs. Due to the high stakes nature of state standards, certification students made almost twice as many more blog posts than students in non-certification programs. Students averaged about 3 tags per post and used about 40 unique tags. Students self-annotated reflective posts with a wide variety of tags. The tags co-occurred and clustered together to annotate similar blog content. Tag phrase use can significantly predict group membership (certification vs. non-certification).
How does this practice relate to pillars?
There is a strong interrelationship among the pillars of learning effectiveness (above), access, scale and student satisfaction.
Access. Since basic WordPress accounts are free of charge, all students are able to create and publish to their bPortfolio while enrolled in the School of Education. Students document their progress through a degree program by using their bPortfolio in numerous on-campus and online courses and/or during their field experiences. In this way, the bPortfolio is an integral learning tool for all students while enrolled. One particularly beneficial aspect is that students may then continue to maintain their site upon completion of the program, as their individual accounts are not registered on a university server. In an online course discussion, one student describes why he likes having his work stored in the cloud (WordPress.com).
“I am glad that my work is in a central location and that I can build on it. I think I have old papers from my undergrad work, but they are stored away. Now, if I need to reference materials I used in this course, I can go right to my bPortfolio.”
Scale. The university can focus its time and efforts on improving instruction and student support for the bPortfolio rather than allocate funds and personnel to web-hosting, software upgrades, and software support, etc. in the bPortfolio project. In this manner, the bPortfolio is a highly cost effective approach to supporting reflective practice.
Student Satisfaction. Faculty have been able to use student survey feedback to improve the bPortfolio experience for their students. As a result, student satisfaction in using bPortfolio continues to improve. Students in one graduate teacher certification program were asked to rate their overall satisfaction in using the bPortfolio on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 7 (very satisfied) upon completion of their one-year program.
Results indicate increased student satisfaction between the initial year of implementation (2009-2010; N=43) and the second year (2010-2011; N=40) on the following five aspects:
|The usefulness of the bPortfolio site as a resource for feedback and professional growth.||
|The ease of maintaining a bPortfolio site on a regular basis.||
|The educational value of a regular blogging requirement in the certification program.||
|Using the bPortfolio as a communication tool with instructors, coordinators and fellow students.||
|The overall bPortfolio preparation and assessment process (e.g. drafting a meta-reflection, gathering evidence, receiving scores and feedback, etc.)||
In an online course discussion, two students share their satisfaction with creating a bPortfolio. They also share how it helps them assess their learning and produce higher quality of work.
“I have really enjoyed posting each week on our bPortfolios. I have to say I thought I would hate it because this is my first ever experience in blogging of any kind. Having this bPortfolio has been a great way to share what I am learning and help me assess my own learning. Writing the blog each week has helped me get excited about what I am learning and is a great way to practice my summarizing skills. I hope to expand my use of the bPortfolio throughout these next two years at SPU. I vote yes for e-portfolios and classroom blogs to make learning more holistic and collaborative.”
“We kept seeing over and over in our materials through out the course that students create better work when they know the public can see it. I agree that the use of bPortfolios, blogs, and other public tools motivate students to produce a more polished product. I also love that so many tools reference students assisting one another and contributing ideas. Education shouldn’t be just a one directional practice with the teacher educating the students. Our educational institutions should allow learning from all direction.”
Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice
Students only need access to a web browser and a freely available WordPress.com account. Faculty only need a browser to access student bPortfolios.
Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice
Since WordPress accounts are free of charge, there are few costs involved. Students are charged a onetime $60 institutional fee to help cover the costs of ongoing training, support and portfolio assessment.
The following screencasts were developed and recorded by the university’s Instructional Technology Services department as training tools for students and faculty:
Faculty in the teacher certification programs developed their own blog to serve as a template for student organization of their own bPortfolios – http://spurescert.wordpress.com (2009-2011) and http://sputeacher.wordpress.com (2011-2012).
Faculty in the Curriculum and Instruction program developed a sample blog as a training tool for students as they set up their bPortfolios – http://spubportfolio.wordpress.com.
A brief executive summary of the bPortfolio process was developed by faculty and is used as a training document for both faculty and students – http://www.spu.edu/depts/soe/documents/bPortfolio-Executive-Summary.pdf.
A description, a scoring rubric used by faculty for evaluation, and a timeline of implementation of bPortfolios in teacher certification can be found on pages 79-83 of the Residency Teacher Certification Handbook – http://www.spu.edu/depts/soe/documents/2011-12ResCertHandbook.pdf.
Examples of Student bPortfolios
- http://hamiltonlauren.wordpress.com/ (Masters of Arts in Teaching student)
- http://susancarlsonsbportfolio.wordpress.com/ (Curriculum and Instruction Master’s student)
- http://rollis1.wordpress.com (undergraduate teacher education student)
Barrett, H. (2009, August 23). Balancing the Two Faces of E-Portfolios. Retrieved from
Chaplin, H. (2011, November 23). The future of reading and writing is collaborative. Retrieved from http://spotlight.macfound.org/featured-stories/entry/the-future-of-reading-and-writing-is-collaborative/
Ellis, A. K. (2001). Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Together: The Reflective Classroom. Poughkeepsie, NY: Eye on Education.
Georghiades, P. (2004). From the general to the situated: Three decades of metacognition. International Journal of Science Education, 26(3), 365-383.
Godwin-Jones, R. (2003). Blogs and wikis: Environments for on-line collaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 7(2), 12-16.
Lumpe, A.T., Wicks, D., & Williams, T. (July, 2011). bPortfolios: Blog Portfolios and Self-Tagging as Reflective Practice for Teachers. A paper presented at the Sloan-C International Symposium on Emerging Technology Applications for Online Learning, San Jose, California.
O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 9). What is web 2.0 – Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. O’Reilly Media, Retrieved from http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html
Sockman, B. R., & Sharma, P. (2008). Struggling toward a transformative model of instruction: It’s not so easy! Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(4), 1070-1082.
Sun, A., & Datta, A. (2009). On Stability, Clarity, and Co-occurrence of Self-Tagging. A paper presented at the 2nd ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, Barcelona, Spain.
Tan, Ashley (2006). Does Scaffolded Blogging Promote Preservice Teacher Reflection? Examining the Relationships Between Learning Tool and Scaffolding in a Blended Learning Environment (unpublished doctoral dissertation). Indiana University, Bloomington , IN.
Wicks, D. (2009, April 17). Coining a new term – bPortfolios. David Wicks: Educational Technology. Retrieved 28 September, 2011 from https://dwicksspu.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/coining-a-new-term-bportfolios/
Yang, S.-H. (2009). Using Blogs to Enhance Critical Reflection and Community of Practice. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (2), 11–21.
This presentation provides answers to ten common questions about bPortfolios that students have when the are first introduced to this tool for reflecting and documenting their learning, and working towards competency on program standards.
- What is a blog?
- What is an electronic portfolio?
- What is a bPortfolio?
- Who is the audience?
- What are we supposed to blog about?
- How often should we blog?
- What about privacy concerns?
- How are tags and categories used to organize content?
- Can I create my own categories?
- What tags should we be using?
During the Residency Teacher Certification program you will be asked to document evidence of your good work and the good work of your students. To accomplish this, you will set up and maintain a blog. A blog is an online journaling tool that includes links to other media (or artifacts) such as documents, images, and video. During this program your blog will be referred to as a bPortfolio. Here are several examples of other students’ bPortfolios.
Jordan Swain – Art
Lauren Hamilton – Math & Science
Heidi Ruff – Elementary
Here are four steps you can follow to set up your bPortfolio. These steps are specifically for students in the Residency Teacher Certification Program.
- Review the portfolios listed above.
What is similar about each of them? What is different?
- Create your own portfolio. (Allow several hours to complete this step.)
Go to http://spurescert.wordpress.com. This is a blog that explains how to set up your bPortfolio. Scroll to the bottom of the blog and start with the post titled Sign Up with WordPress. Read and follow the instructions for each post working your way from the bottom to the top. When you finish with the post titled A bit of Review you can come back here and move to Step 3.
- Review the bPortfolio Checklist
Open the bPortfolio Checklist and be ready to refer to it in Step 4. This checklist is included in the Residency Teacher Certification Handbook and can be found on the School of Education website.
- Watch this playlist of 7 bPortfolio workshop videos (Allow 30-45 minutes to complete this step.)
This will help you make sure that your bPortfolio is ready for use in the Residency Teacher Certification Program.