Why use an ePortfolio?

We have been getting a lot of great questions about ePortfolios lately.  An ePortfolio is a tool that students can use to keep track of and share their achievements, projects, and reflections to document and provide evidence of learning.  There are several different types of ePortfolios including:

Developmental portfolios:  Provide evidence of progress or improvement over a period of time.  Developmental portfolios are works-in-progress and serve a purpose of self-reflection, self-assessment, and engaging in communication between faculty and students.

Assessment portfolios:  Provide evidence of student competence in a specific area.  While the purpose of a developmental portfolio is to engage in critical reflection, assessment portfolios are used to evaluate student competency.  Assessment portfolios are often used at the end of a course or program.

Showcase portfolio:  Provide evidence of student work, most often seen as career portfolios.  While showcase and assessment portfolios are often used to demonstrate learning and growth, showcase portfolios are a tool to highlight quality work.  Often, people will have multiple versions of their career portfolio, based on who will be viewing it.

So why use an ePortfolio?  There are benefits to be seen from both the process and the product.  Building an ePortfolio requires organizing and reflecting on experiences, choosing artifacts that provide evidence of learning or competencies, and conceptualizing learning experiences.  Building a portfolio is a lot of work, and all of that work can help to enhance a student’s ability to speak to their knowledge and skills.  Portfolios promote a new depth to self-reflection and can help students focus their goal-setting.  The product itself becomes a concrete way of showcasing strengths, a personal learning record, and a tool to jumpstart future personal development.

There are many ways to implement ePortfolios into academic and co-curricular programs.  We would love to see every student at UPEI engaging in the process of building their ePortfolio.  Want to learn more?  Ready to get started?  Contact the E-Learning Office by clicking here.

Hot Tips for Forum Posting

The use of discussion forums in undergraduate and graduate classes is getting more and more common at UPEI.  Usually an instructor will ask you to post in a forum when they want you to engage with your classmates in some discussion outside of class time.

But how do you compose a top-notch post?  It is formal or casual?  Is it time-sensitive?  Who is the audience?  What happens after you post it?

Well, you are in luck.  We are going to break down our top five tips for being a forum superstar.

1.  Post Early.  Often you will be required to post a response to a reading or activity; or maybe to reflect on an experience.  Usually you will be given a few days (or up to a week) to post.  Do everyone a favour and do it early, in order to give your classmates and instructor enough time to read and respond to you.  Remember, the purpose of a discussion forum is to engage in discussion.  If you leave your post until the last day, your procrastinating ways have an impact on everyone else.

2.  Know your audience.  Yes, your peers are the primary audience.  But your instructor is also reading your posts.  A general rule is that your forum posts can be less formal than other academic writing, but should always remain professional, constructive, and well-written.  Sometimes your instructor will tell you to use bullets or tables; sometimes you will have a word limit.  And, as always, don’t forget to cite your sources!  If you are unsure what your instructor is looking for – ask!

3.  Back up your work.  A reality of working online is that sometimes technology fails.  The last thing you want is to compose a beautiful forum post and have your internet disconnect on you.  Some people like to write their posts in a Google Doc or Word file and copy the text in the forum.  This is a good practice because it gives you time to come back and edit your work before you post it.  If you choose to compose directly in the forum… don’t say we didn’t warn you!

4.  Check back often.  Don’t just post and be done with it!  The richest conversation (and best learning) comes from the feedback you will exchange with your peers.  Read your peers’ posts, leave comments, and ask questions.  Forums are a great opportunity to dig deep and take your learning one step further.

5.  Read through the forums before your final exam.  Your instructor will often choose the big-ticket topics to focus class discussion.  What could be better than having a written record of all of those class discussions??  If your instructor thinks it was important enough to dedicate an entire forum, chances are you will see that topic on your exam.  Don’t forget to go back and review those discussions while studying.  You can thank us later.

Need some help navigating your Moodle course?  Have further questions about posting in a forum?  Get in touch with the E-Learning Office by clicking here.

Happy posting!!


Moodle – Q&A Forums

One of the most popular activities in Moodle is the use of forums to promote discussion and engagement with students.  There are several types of forums to choose from, and most people use a standard forum for general use.

A Q&A forum is (you guessed it) a place where you can post questions and students can post responses.  But what makes Q&A forums different is that a student cannot see responses from other students until they post their own response.  You might choose to use a Q&A forum over a different type of forum if you wanted to ensure that each student posted an original response before they could read and consider other students’ perspectives.

We often get questions about academic integrity and forums, especially around ensuring that students are not simply using other students’ ideas in their posts.  These concerns are valid, and the Instructional Designers in the E-Learning Office are available to help you communicate your expectations to your students.  Q&A forums can address some of these concerns, as a student must post their own response before other responses are visible.

If you have questions about using Q&A forums, please click here to get in touch with the E-Learning Office.

For detailed steps on how to set up a Q&A forum in your course, click here.

Blackboard Collaborate

Collaborate is a virtual meeting space in which you can facilitate online interactions via voice, video, and text.  Blackboard Collaborate can be used as a virtual classroom, a medium to hold virtual office hours, or as an online meeting space for group work and communication.

Collaborate has a number of features that make it an interactive way to communicate with students online including voice and text chat and the interactive whiteboard.  You can use this whiteboard to post content and engage students in activities.  With a little practice, you can facilitate virtual meetings using breakout rooms, timed activities, polls, and quizzes.

Watch the tutorials below to see what Blackboard Collaborate is all about!

Visit the E-Learning YouTube channel for more useful e-learning tips!

Interested in learning more? Want a Collaborate room of your own?  Click here to contact the E-Learning Office.

Google Sites

Google Sites is a tool where you can create websites, allowing for multiple contributors to edit, collaborate, and share.  Google Sites has a huge selection of themes and features which allow you to customize your website with limited knowledge of website development.

The greatest feature of Google Sites is the ability to make sites private.  This means that you can create websites that are only accessible to a select group of individuals.  Google Sites is a great option for creating an ePortfolio, because you get to decide who sees what!

If you are already a user of Google Drive or Google Calendar, you can easily integrate documents, forms, and calendars into your Google Site.  Every student at UPEI already has a Google Account, while staff and faculty must contact ITSS to make the switch from Groupwise.

Watch the tutorials below to learn more if you are interested in creating a website, ePortfolio, or blog!  It is super easy to get started!

Interested in learning more?  Visit the E-Learning YouTube Channel.

Still looking for more information?  Click here to contact the E-Learning Office.