Constructive Alignment: Phil Gravestock from University of Gloucestershire: 31st Jan - - 4th Feb 2011

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Sarah Chesney
17 December 2010

Phil Gravestock from University of Gloucestershire will lead a discussion around e-portfolios and constructive alignment that underpins their JISC funded Co-gent Project.

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Introduction

The aim of the ‘Co-generative Toolkit’ (Co-genT) project has been to develop a resource which will support employer co-generated curricula.  The resource developed to address this includes: a vocabulary which maps and aligns the academic and professional standards of learning opportunities; and a process for the generation of learning profiles, which can be published to an e-portfolio so that learners can evidence their progress against set outcomes.

The specific elements of the Toolkit are:

  • Vocabulary Builder
  • Outcome Builder
  • Task Builder
  • Design Builder

The Co-genT toolkit is available at http://www.pebblepad.co.uk/cogent/.  A temporary username and password has been set up for the period of this discussion, so that participants can use the Toolkit to create their own learning outcomes, tasks and designs.

  • Username: epcop
  • Password: eportfolio

Two user guides are available to support users: ‘Creating Higher Education Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Using the Task and Design Builders’.  These guides are available at http://resources.glos.ac.uk/tli/lets/projects/cogent/userguides.cfm.

The development of the Task and Design Builders has been informed by the learning design work of Ron Oliver and colleagues, which focuses on learning activities, learning resources and learning supports.  The Co-genT Task Builder allows users to describe activities and to link these with specific learning outcomes and relevant resources and supports.  The specific tasks can include assessment activities or learning activities used within a face-to-face or online teaching environment.

The Design Builder brings together different tasks into a learner profile.  This profile can be published to an e-portfolio (currently PebblePad) so that the learner can provide evidence to demonstrate their learning against specific activities and learning outcomes.

In terms of constructive alignment, the key stages identified by Biggs (2003) can be addressed by different components of the Toolkit:

  1. defining the intended learning outcomes (ILOs) – Vocabulary and Outcome Builders
  2. choosing teaching/learning activities likely to lead to the ILOs – Task and Design Builders
  3. assessing students’ actual learning outcomes to see how well they match what was intended – learner profile from the Design Builder

In addition the Toolkit addresses the wider interpretation of constructive alignment as discussed by Entwistle (2003) which includes, for example, learning support and course organisation and management.  The Task and Design Builders allow for the addition of resources and support linked directly to activities.

The ‘constructive’ aspect of the process (i.e. allowing learners to construct their own meaning by participating in learning activities) is supported by the learner profile within the e-portfolio.  This may be particularly true within a work-based setting, where the profile can be used to support learners to provide work-related evidence towards addressing the intended learning outcomes.  Discussions with individual learners about their learning profiles, and the way in which they intend to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes, may be a key role for a tutor within an e-portfolio system.

Links

Biggs, J. (2003) Aligning teaching for constructing learning, [Online].  Available at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/resource_database/id477_aligning_teaching_for_constructing_learning (Accessed: January 2011).

Entwistle, N. (2003) Concepts and conceptual frameworks underpinning the ETL project, Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments for Undergraduate Courses, Occasional Report 3.

Oliver, R., Herrington, A., Herrington, J. & Reeves, T.C. (2007) Representing authentic learning designs supporting the development of online communities of learners, Journal of Learning Design, vol.2, no.2, pp.1-21, [Online].  Available at: http://www.jld.qut.edu.au/publications/vol2no2/documents/OliveretalJLDVol2No2.pdf (Accessed: January 2011).

Points to consider

  • In addition to the learner profile, what other ways can e-portfolios be used to support and enhance constructive alignment?
  • What pedagogic principles relating to e-portfolios support the development of constructively aligned curricula?
  • Are there ways in which constructive alignment and learning design processes can support the development of communities of practice?

Phil Gravestock
07:28 on 28 January 2011 (Edited 07:29 on 28 January 2011)

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Rebecca Galley
10:50am 28 January 2011 (Edited 10:52am 28 January 2011)


Hi Phil - thank you for this - a really interesting discussion theme. We (the OULDI project) met with Martin before he went to New Zealand to look at the connections between our projects and recongnised that there were some really significant ones, not least some of the core pedagogical philosphies behind what we were doing.  We have started to develop some learning design activities for course teams using the CogenT toolkit.

One of our 5 curriculum representations is informed by Bigg's work. The following image is a clip from a poster of all 5 views:

Learning Outcomes View

I think it is interesting to begin to piece together what a design - where ePortfolios and an ePortfolio pedagogy are intrinsic/embedded in the structure - might look like visually.

The example above uses CompendiumLD but could of course be drawn out with pencil and paper, Excel, PowerPoint etc. This example only shows 3 dimensions (learning outcomes, student activity and learning output). What we are finding when staff use the view in practice and independently is that they find it useful to include some of the dimensions from the more detailed activity/ micro view - especially teacher intent, media and tools and resources. There is a good (but not ePortfolio) example of a course team in Reading doing just this - (see about point 5:18 on the video for a representation they did of the modules).

Phil Gravestock
7:02am 31 January 2011


Hi Rebecca.  Welcome to the Cloud and many thanks for this information.

I've had a quick look at the OULDI project webpages and I agree that there are a lot of connections with the Co-genT project.  Hopefully Martin will be able to join this discussion at some point in the week, and may wish to add his thoughts on effective learning design processes.

I must confess that I've not investigated CompendiumLD yet, but will do so soon!  I find that many (but not all) of our PG Cert participants like to think of course design in a visual way, and a combination of this tool and Co-genT might be very useful for this purpose.  One of the key aspects of your work is that constructive alignment is explicit in the design process.

In addressing the second of the 'Points to Consider' (What pedagogic principles relating to e-portfolios support the development of constructively aligned curricula?), I like your idea of doing this visually.  Maybe this could be an outcome from the week's discussion?

Phil

Martin Jenkins
8:41am 31 January 2011


Rebecca, it will be good to see those learning design activities that you are developing.

The point you raise about staff bringing in different dimensions is interesting.  The Co-genT toolkit is based on the AUTC project model which includes activities, supports and resources.  I do find this a very simple and effective model.  However, as work elsewhere on the use of learning design frameworks has shown different frameworks are needed to present a complete picture of a design.  The 5 representations that you have produced as part of the OULDI project help to provide this, which is useful for staff.  With the Co-genT project the focus is on conveying that information to the students.  I would be interested to hear if you have used your representations with students.

Martin

Nicholas Bowskill
11:36am 31 January 2011


Hi Everyone,

Interesting discussion. I think we could have a very interesting conversation on the notion of 'authentic' tasks and constructive alignment. Both seem full of questions and assumptions. Both could be constructively re-aligned!  However, I suspect time and space may be against us for that one.  

I would like to raise one additional point about learning designs and representational frameworks. A lot of the focus has been on the optimal granularity and form for such representations including flexible granularity or multiple frameworks etc. I think this overlooks one important point. What about the student experience of these designs?

In offering  a representation of the course design (an abstraction) should we not also seek to represent the collective experience of those designs? Otherwise they are surely also lacking authenticity and risk being similarly decontextualised. Just a thought. And along the way, Shared Thinking is a process for collective reflection and perspective-taking. It would provide the missing ingredient for those designs - a representation of collective and grounded experience. I'm happy to provide more on this if anyone is interested. Interesting discussion so far and looking forward to hearing more.

Nick Bowskill

email: nicholas.bowskill@gmail.com

( http://theirtake.com )

Martin Jenkins
7:33pm 31 January 2011


Nick, I think your suggestion of representing the collective experience of a design is an interesting one.  But the thought that then came to mind was the need to walk before we run.  Through the Co-genT project we are trying to provide a way of clearly representing the design (in terms of activties, supports and resources) to the students.  Not graphically but through its organisation in Learner Profile the e-portfolio.  I would argue that generally in HE we are not making the designs clear to students at this level yet, let alone how you suggest (which I do think would be good by the way) so I think Co-genT has real potential to start making some of this thinking more explicit.

Phil Gravestock
7:56pm 31 January 2011


Hi Nick.  Many thanks for your comment.

I agree that we do need to consider the authenticity of the tasks (in the broadest sense), and that student feedback on the design process is an important element.  As Martin has pointed out (good morning Martin), it's something that is supported indirectly through Co-genT, and it may be interesting to consider a more explicit use of visual learning designs with students and how this impacts upon their learning.  Given the focus of this Cloudscape, an e-portfolio is one way in which this could be presented and discussed with students over a study period.

Nicholas Bowskill
10:19am 1 February 2011


Hi Martin/Phil (and everyone),

So am I understanding you correctly if I say that your goal is to construct learning designs that incorporate eportfolios and that show the way they can be integrated into learning designs? I realise at this moment I'm not fully up to speed in your project and should perhaps have looked before I leaped.

So I guess, if I was thinking about such a task I'd need to be clear about the role(s) of eportfolios in learning and teaching and roll on from there. If I tried to answer that question it might be something along the lines of trying to make sense of my experience in the world by documenting it somehow.

My own view at this point would to be raise issues around solo processes of documentation (plus the form that took - writing, pictures etc) and the multiple perspectives that surround me (peers, mentors, tutors, learning support etc) that would be missing in such a document.

So, my question to you, and to myself, at the moment would be to ask about the social context and how that is supported in the grand plan for eportfolios. My answer would be to collaboratively document the social perspective as a support for the individual task of reflection. That's what led me to the Shared Thinking approach. But then that's just my individual reflection ;-) I may need a wider view.

Nick  

Sarah Chesney
11:02am 1 February 2011


Hi - do Nick's comments tie in with the fact that the learners are potentially in a 'work-based setting, where the profile can be used to support learners to provide work-related evidence towards addressing the intended learning outcomes.'
Nick is this the social context?
Sarah.

Nicholas Bowskill
2:57pm 1 February 2011


Good point Sarah. I think there are actually 2 (at least) social contexts in work-related learning. One of them is the work context and the other is that of the university course. The weakness for a student looking at their own placement context, just as it is for looking at their own thinking, is that it is often narrow. They don't know how representative it is of the wider picture. 

Universities are looking for a role in WBL etc. I think the role is to pool distributed individual experiences and make sense of them together for the course. In this way the course is the social context and not the work-place. The local group can then be aligned to the global professional knowledge.

Having said that, it would also be equally productive to gather the social contextual-view of a given workplace and their collective view of an issue. That would then help the individual on placement understand the collective view so they can better align to it (constructive alignment in the article you offer is really about alignment to what's in the tutor's head not an alignment between the individual and their social professional context).

Shared Thinking can do both. We've applied it to students on different work placements and brought them together to pool their views in a reflective conversation that leads to them generating a visual representation. We've also done it for academics in a department to reflect on assessment practices and generate a similar product to better understand their currrent work environment.

It is perfectly possible and may be very useful for individuals to then start filling up portfolios - after they've had a sense making and generative understanding of their social and professional context. To just point them to reflective tools is to leave them without the socail knowledge they really need to understand their thinking and their context.

This is my PhD work and my consultancy. People get so lost in their studies that they often have a distorted view of their thinking. I may be just as guilty of this in promoting these ideas. The only saving grace is that they have worked very well in practice. They also complement rather than discredit portfolios and individual thinking.

Nick

University of Glasgow

( http://theirtake.com )

Phil Gravestock
3:19pm 1 February 2011 (Edited 4:01pm 1 February 2011)


Hi Nick,

In response to your earlier comment (10:19am, 1 Feb), our goal isn't necessarily to create learning designs which incorporate eportfolios (most aspects of the Co-genT toolkit can be used without an eportfolio), but we feel that for the learner to get the most benefit out of the designs it is useful if this is presented through an eportfolio.

What we don't anticipate is that this has to be a solo experience: quite the contrary.  Publishing this through an eportfolio allows the information to be shared with peers and tutors, especially for formative feedback purposes.  The eportfolio format will also allow a range of evidence to be presented (i.e. not just written).  Although the Co-genT project was originally aimed at employer co-generated curricula, and therefore the learners would primarily be work-based (picking up on Sarah's comment) and who may be providing a range of evidence to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes, we do not feel that these learners are the only audience for the eportfolio designs and that social learning and demonstration of learning outcomes through a range of evidence types should be supported by the toolkit.

Apologies if the following example is a bit crude, but I have mocked it up to give you an idea about how the final design may work as part of a learner's portfolio:

http://pebblepad.glos.ac.uk/viewasset.aspx?oid=111207&type=profileresponse&setid=29778

I have added a couple of pieces of evidence to show what could be submitted (please note that the evidence is not directly relevant to the learning outcomes!), and I have also allowed comments to be left should you wish to do so in the same way that this could be done (more privately) with peers or tutors.  (Select the magnifying glass to view the evidence, or the speech bubble to add a comment.  Evidence has only been submitted for a couple of learning outcomes relating to the first assignment.)

Does this help?

Phil Gravestock
4:41pm 1 February 2011


Hi Nick,

I think we were both working on comments at the same time.  In response to your last comment (2:57pm, 1 Feb), I like the idea of engaging with learners (in whatever setting) as part of a "reflective conversation that leads to them generating a visual representation"; however, do you feel that tools such as CompendiumLD or Co-genT have a part to play in this discussion and visualisation, or do you feel that they support a different stage in the process?

Shane Sutherland
5:12pm 1 February 2011


Hello Nick (Rebecca, Phil, Martin, Sarah),

sorry for being a pedant but I would like to make the point that one learning design (of many) can be presented as one eportfolio (of many) and the learners can draw upon examples of evidence (from many) some of which may have been gathered specifically to address an outcome and some of which may have already been available within the learner's wider eportfolio system (ePS).

Well developed ePS will help learners articulate their thinking by providing scaffolding to help them reflect on experience (or plan for new ones). A number of observers have suggested that the system (Personal Learning Space is my preferred term) actually provides a quasi-mentoring role through its prompts and structure. Of course, it can only ask the routine questions that might be anticipated when planning, reflecting, interpreting - but the ability of learners to easily share their thoughts, experiences etc with others for comments (anywhere within their personal, professional, social learning contexts) contributes significantly to the richness of the records themselves. Shared Thinking?

At one of the Telling Stories conferences two student nurses provided a wonderful example of how they used their PLS to record clinical experiences (births, deaths, equipment shortages) and then shared them with incrementally larger groups of peers who would comment, reply, weave and synthesise each others 'conversations'. Whether or not these records ever became 'evidence' was immaterial to the quality of the 'social' learning. Never-the-less, it was the 'system' which allowed this to happen. Having written that I ought to qualify that the 'system' included both the tool (PLS) and the excellent teacher who originally modelled the way of working.

Back to Constructive Alignment... some of Biggs' earlier work drew upon the 3Ps model of Dunkin and Biddle where perception of self as a learner and perception of the learning context was really important in understanding how to plan (or interpret) learning designs. Equally the perceptions of the teacher (and skills) need surfacing in a dynamic curriculum model. Seems to me that Shared Thinking would be a valuable technique to consider in that regard.

Sorry, wrote more than I intended to...

Rebecca Galley
5:28pm 1 February 2011 (Edited 6:00pm 1 February 2011)


Hi all,

@Martin 31 Jan Although we believe that our curriculum representations will be of interest to students, and absolutely recognize the value of finding better ways of sharing designs with students (and think the Course Map might prove especially useful for this) this is unfortunately outside of the scope of our current project, except where students happen to be part of course/module design teams. But we would be *really* interested if anyone would like to trial them with students.

We are increasingly gathering evidence that  suggests that although representations of a curriculum (i.e. the outputs of a design process/ the worked designs themselves) are of some interest in isolation, their significant value is a) in the design process they support/guide and b) as 'mediating artifacts' in discussions between people about the design. They seem to support a shared language, focus and understanding about the design that may not otherwise be possible. It is the dialogue and discussion which seems important - and the best design discussions generally include a variety of experiences/points of view (student, employer, tutor, library/ media services etc) and a level of disagreement or difference (discussions not so rich where everyone agrees!) and are focused and purposeful.

Birmingham City's T-SPARC project (http://www.netvibes.com/tsparc#T-SPARC) may also be of interest here as they are developing the use of ePortfolios (specifically Mahara and I think SharePoint) as a way of collecting evidence of design processes for course validation (again outputs from design processes i.e. video of meetings, drawings, diagrams, consultation documents, podcasts of interviews etc). I believe that they've recently had the inclusion of ePortfolios in the validation process approved by senate for all new courses from September 2011.

Rebecca

 

Martin Jenkins
7:04am 2 February 2011


Rebecca, I agree with your observation that learning design representations have significant value in supporting the discussions around the design process.  Here in NZ they have just change their national qualifications framework such that all qualifications (in Polytechnic sector) including degrees need a graduate profile from which the programmes flow.  Here at CPIT constructive alignment is one of our guiding principles and the use of learning design frameworks will I think help with those design discussions.  I will be really interested to see outcomes of the T-SPARC project, the potential for for using e-portfolios in making the decision-making explicit in the design process could have real value.  

In a similar vein, Nick's point about the importance of sharing is well noted.  Within the Co-gent project while it can align WBL opportunities it is possible those could be individual rather than cohort based.  Keeping in mind creating opportunities for social context is important.  This highlights how constructive alignment is not just about aligning the learning outcomes, tasks and assessments but also needs to consider learning support and other factors.

Sarah Chesney
8:37am 4 February 2011


Hello all, the discussions this week have been intense yet very rewarding and some new resources shared. THe week isn't over yet, and as there is still a day to go, I would like to pick up on one of Phil's early points to Rebecca:
'Points to Consider' (What pedagogic principles relating to e-portfolios support the development of constructively aligned curricula?), I like your idea of doing this visually. Maybe this could be an outcome from the week's discussion?
It would be valuable if we could achieve this visual representation - I suspect it will take longer than a week. Could the visualisation include employers, learners and tutors taking a lead from CompendiumLD as a way of describing the design and process?
Best wishes, Sarah.

Rebecca Galley
9:08am 4 February 2011 (Edited 10:15am 4 February 2011)


Hi Sarah - excellent idea.

Unfortunately we can't yet use CompendiumLD collaboratively over the web but there are other tools where we could work together ie Wallwisher, Prezi, Slatebox etc (see Cloud http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/2201/links#contribute for many more, most of which I haven't tried out). I think we'll need a concept/organisational rather than mind mapping tool (so we can have swimlanes rather than a centre point).

Phil Gravestock
9:33am 4 February 2011


Thanks Sarah.  I think this would be a useful way forward.  I agree that it will take longer than a week, but as an outcome from this discussion I think it will be very useful and hopefully we could encourage other colleagues to input ideas.

I think Rebecca's suggestion about conceptualisation as opposed to mind mapping is sensible (and also highlights that I need to be more up-to-date with my software knowledge).

Rebecca Galley
11:07am 4 February 2011


Looks like Gliffy could be a good one to try. There is a review here: http://www.techsavvyed.net/?p=164 . As far as I can work out from the outside it is still free to use but one would have to sign in to find out for sure.

Rebecca Galley
11:09am 4 February 2011 (Edited 9:23am 8 February 2011)


Frustrating because CompendiumLD is getting close to being an embeddable collaborative tool...

Phil Gravestock
1:38pm 4 February 2011


In that case, would it be worth waiting?

Rebecca Galley
1:55pm 4 February 2011


No, I think it would be good to get started while we have some momentum going :-) We can always retrofit it into CompendiumLD if that seems useful.

Rebecca Galley
1:56pm 4 February 2011


Sarah, could this activity be scheduled as a seperate/ new CoP activity?

Sarah Chesney
5:12pm 4 February 2011


Hello Rebecca, of course it can be scheduled in - I'll sort it out early next week by creating a new cloud and starting that cloud with a summary of our discussions and links to the tools you suggest. I don't know what everyone's timetables are like, but we can give it a go and see how we get on. Nice note to end the week on, and thanks to Phil and Martin for such a productive activity. Sarah.

George Roberts
6:47am 6 February 2011 (Edited 6:49am 6 February 2011)


Sorry I have joined so late. (This is a hard forum in which to follow threads...)

Thank you Phil for kicking it off. I was reading through and was struck by Nick's statement about the role of universities:

I think the role is to pool distributed individual experiences and make sense of them together for the course.

I'll need to go back to the conversation to see where this led, but, I thought it was a perceptive insight into something of the Graduate (or Academic) Literacy agenda. Elsewhere (http://rworld2.posterous.com/students-could-boost-marks-by-showing-corpora) questions have been raised about the correllation between Academic Literacy and what might soon - here - get called employment literacy, or employability. Where Academic Literacy (or practice) might embrace three things:

  • Threshold (or liminal, boundary-layer, assessment) concepts
  • Scholarlship (professional/academic practice)
  • Community (of practice)

Nicks statement suggested something of the role of universities in forming a wider community context: a community of practice which transcends single institutions or workplaces, indeed which provides a door (threshold) into other institutions and other workplaces with the skills to practice.

George Roberts
7:05am 6 February 2011


... and Shane, excellent as ever on personal learning spaces:

Well developed ePS will help learners articulate their thinking by providing scaffolding to help them reflect on experience (or plan for new ones). A number of observers have suggested that the system (Personal Learning Space is my preferred term) actually provides a quasi-mentoring role through its prompts and structure.

When the system is presented by the institution and framed in a curriculum and supports that curriculum, it is not always possible for the individual to experience those affordances of the ePS, which tend towards personalisation, or to experience it as a personal learning space.

George Roberts
7:07am 6 February 2011


And now to look for the visual LD tool mentioned by Rebecca and Sarah ... thanks, all

Rebecca Galley
8:40pm 6 February 2011


Hi George, you can get the RSS feed for the Cloudscape page (just scroll to the bottom of that page). That will alert you to anything that happens in this community Cloudscape including in Clouds/ discussions that don't exist yet. Rebecca

Sarah Chesney
12:54pm 7 February 2011 (Edited 12:56pm 7 February 2011)


Hello everyone, The fact that we got so much out of this ‘week’ (which was really five days) is all credit to Phil and Martin, both for the background they gave us to the Co-Gent project, the links they provided and then the energy with which they led the discussions.

There have been intermittent recaps and clarifications throughout the week – I notice that a number of the postings sought clarification in order to move forward. With that in mind, I am cautious of posting a ‘summary’ and this is more of a chance to briefly consolidate and move ourselves forward.

One of the outcomes of the week was a decision to collectively/collaboratively produce a visual representation of a learning design that:
Expressed the pedagogic principles relating to e-portfolios that supports the development of constructively aligned curricula.
Picking up on some of the themes that emerged from the discussions, this visual representation will be valuable because it will provide the opportunity to build a dialogue around learning design (and specifically e-portfolio use) whilst providing a presentation of what the learning design process is (Rebecca’s point). An object of this kind crystallizes so much and provides a stepping stone or bridge to further understanding.

During the week, we also tried to articulate the role and perspective of the student within learning design – and I’m not sure we really came to a consensus, or if any can be reached. Martin pointed out that very often, visualisations are often created for and from a staff perspective. Nick was keen to incorporate the student experience – something that has to be done, but not an easy ask in a context where the student is in a work setting and capturing how they make sense of their learning may be difficult. Nick raised the question of what is aligned to what – but I think this is where the Co-Gent project offers the solution. This is where the e-portfolio as a tool is of real value and Phil gave us an example of how this may look, relating back to the purpose behind the Co-Gent project.

So where to next?
I have set up a separate Cloud to work on the visualisation, and put in links to the tools Rebecca has suggested we all look at. All are welcome to participate in creating this output. I anticipate it will take us until the end of this funded period (end of March) to produce the visualisation, given other work commitments and the nature of working online. I look forward to the process of creating this, and the idea that we are producing an output as a result of the e-portfolio community of practice discussions.

Oliver Jenkins
11:17am 18 February 2011 (Edited 11:18am 18 February 2011)


Hi all, Oliver here from the T-SPARC project at Birmingham City University.

We received an email a few days ago from Sarah asking for some more information on T-SPARCs use of Mahara as our e-portfolio so here goes! As far as using Mahara to store evidence and artefact on, such as images, videos of engagement activities and meetings with stakeholders, and evidence that the course teams feel is documenting the decision making process whilst undertaking course design, we have only recently began to pilot the methodologies. We have a couple of courses identified that will be piloting the new design and approval processes, one of them being a new MEd that will is being run internally within the same department that the T-SPARC project is managed from. It is envisaged that this internal pilot will allow us to iron out the majority, if not all of the details before the approach goes university wide in September 2011. We have recently set up accounts for all staff involved in the development of the course and have created a 'group' where documents and artefacts (including multimedia artefacts such as videos, interviews, video diary excerpts etc) will be added to, and a series of views created to share sets of project activity with specific groups of stakeholders, such as PSRBs, students, employers. These stakeholders will then have the opportunity to comment on and discuss (via Mahara blogs) their opinions on the decisions the course teams have made during the design process and feedback directly to them. As the new approval processes have no end validation point (because approval will be inferred throughout the process at specific checkpoints), teams will have the ability to work with stakeholders and use their input to directly shape the courses design on an ongoing basis. 

At the same time as the development work on the use of Mahara is taking place, we are also designing a new SharePoint workflow architecture to underpin and automate major parts of course approval processes. An external SharePoint designer has been contracted in to help our CICT team with the design. We are looking at designing it using SP2010 and the designer is confident that we will have workflows in place that we will be able to begin piloting as soon as May 2011. The university is also looking at upgrading the central document repository system at the moment, and it has been suggested that SharePoint may also be up to this job. In theory, one benefit for the project would be that media artefacts, such as video media could be stored on the course teams SharePoint development site, and linked directly into Mahara.

Hope this may have shed a bit of light on what we've been up to recently, you can find more information on our project blog. If there’s anything else you'd like to know please let me know!

Best regards, Oliver

 

Sarah Chesney
8:04am 21 February 2011


Hi Oliver, thanks for sharing this information with us. It sounds really interesting - so you are using Mahara to support your course design as well as as an e-portfolio for learners?
Another question - when a learner finishes their course and leaves the university, can they still access their material on Sharepoint if they have linked to it from Mahara?
Best wishes,
Sarah

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