When I first proposed the idea of having an ePortfolio workshop for faculty at the College I was so excited. Things have been going well during my first two months at the College with instructional technology. I’ve had many scheduled and drop in consultations with faculty to help with everything from LMS issues to provide ideas for incorporating technology in their classrooms in different ones. One faculty member even created a full flipped classroom lesson. The professor recorded videos for an existing PowerPoint which we combined using Adobe Presenter, and even included a Quiz at the end for the professor’s students to take. The presentation worked out well and the professor has been very kind and enthusiastic throughout the entire design process.
So I didn’t give it a second thought when I proposed ePortfolios. I had a number of questions over the past weeks about faculty websites and ePortfolios, how to create them, what to include, etc…so when I had the opportunity to host the fall faculty roundtable, I jumped at the chance to present on ePortfolios.
My original plan was to go through the process of setting up a WordPress site to serve as an ePortfolio website. I’d take them through, step-by-step, how to create the site, add pages, add content, design the site, etc…
But then I started to hear some concerns. It seemed that a fair amount of faculty were concerned with putting content online. I have to admit that I was very confused at first.
Concerned about what?
I really didn’t get it right away. After starting to get really nervous about my topic, I started going back and forth with two fear-induced situations:
- Scenario A – where no one shows up to my first roundtable presentation
- Scenario B – where faculty show up and are really upset about the idea
Oh, and then I thought of something even better:
Why did I think a workshop was appropriate for a roundtable discussion? What part of “workshop” implies roundtable discussion? I even planned this to be held in a computer lab and there is not one round table in that room. Oops!
So shortly before I was scheduled to give this workshop, I threw myself into redoing my workshop into a presentation with discussion components, as well as a few hands-on activities. Fortunately, I already had a lot of theory, i.e. the content that addressed topics such as:
- what is an ePortfolio?
- why have an ePortfolio?
- Differences between ePortfolios for students, professionals, and faculty members
- Suggestions for what to include in ePortfolios
I used the SMART Notebook software to create my presentation instead of PowerPoint. That was a very deliberate choice that I’ll talk about in my blog post on Monday.
Have you ever given a lesson when you realized that your content was taking a lot more time than you thought it would?
After redoing my presentation, I knew that there was significantly less time devoted to the actual creating of the ePortfolio because I was incorporating more theory, added content in about privacy considerations and recommendations for limiting the amount of personal content you are sharing (if that is a concern for you), along with time for faculty members to discuss various topics related to ePortfolios (trying to blend in the discussion aspects so it would seem more roundtable-ish). I should have budgeted more time for conversations though (which seems to always happen) because I was thrilled to see that they got pretty lively with many people contributing ideas to the whole group after time sharing in their small groups.
That meant we had very little time to actually begin creating the ePortfolios. As in less than 20 minutes. We managed to get started with WordPress and those who wanted to began creating sites, but we didn’t get much farther than basic theme choices and began looking at the WordPress dashboard.
Ultimately, I think this presentation worked out exactly the way it was supposed to. Despite my initial disappointment that we didn’t get further with the actual creating, I believe that this topic needed to be presented in two parts:
- All the theoretical topics I mentioned above – i.e. the why and what to include
- Creating the portfolio
If we had simply dived into building these ePortfolios, there never would have been time to consider the value in having an ePortfolio (whether looking at it from the perspectives of a new or very experienced faculty member, or from the view of using ePortfolios with students).
I learned many years ago that it’s extremely important to be flexible when planning and giving your lessons. Sometimes you’ll discover, like I did, that you are going to have to change your lesson plan or training session very last minute. Other times (also very common), you’ll learn while giving your lesson or training that something is not working and you have to make a change or you are going to lose the engagement of your students/training participants.
Have you ever had to change a lesson or training plan last minute?
How did it work out for you?