About rebekahmcbrown

I am a veterinarian with a special interest in instructional design and developing eLearning in the veterinary and medical areas. I write teaching materials for both face-to-face and online learning as well as writing and editing articles.

Level 3 – Where?

Unfortunately I largely fell of the MOOC wagon this week due mainly to the pressure of the delivery stage of TAE and having to conduct the appraisal interviews at kinder. As I’m doing a compressed version it’s all happening in a very short space of time and family commitments make it hard to keep up. I do plan to catch up with the webinars, especially the Mahara one. I’ve still been reading some comments etc in the foruI think part of the problem is that I’m so confused by all the choices I don’t know where to start thinking.

I will do better next week.

Level 2 – Why?

Another week of learning heaps, obviously with the major focus being on ePs but also coming across heaps of disparate but extremely useful and thought provoking ideas ranging from software hints (OhLife is exactly what I’ve needed for ages to allow me to record all the little thoughts of a day) to philosophies of teaching and learning.

Among (but by no means all) the useful resources of the week for me were Graham Attwell’s video and Sarah Stewart’s blog and eP. I found the clarity of  Graham’s presentation helpful and loved his summary of new vs old learning. Sarah Stewart’s work was quite inspirational and very relevant to me moving out of a very hands-on career to teaching and learning with a strong digital focus and eye to the future. I think I would find a career path like hers fascinating and fulfilling. I may consider contacting her directly in the future if my thoughts continue along the same lines.

The main reasons for me to have a ePortfolio are to record the different areas of my education and work experience. I understand now that I will end up with different portfolios for different experiences and that reflecting on all of them will help my clarity of thought and allow others to appreciate my understanding and motivations.

Although I haven’t quite got to creating a planning document it is slowly forming in my mind and I feel ready to move onto the question of where, which has started to occupy my mind this week.

If it were able to award myself 3/4 of a badge that would be about right.

 

First webinar experience

I was very fortunate to be able to go running straight after the webinar today (thanks Mum and Dad for looking after Nick for a few hours) as it is the only time I really think well. I’ve never participated in a session like it before. Before I lose all my thoughts these were some my reflections about the experience and some ideas I took from it:

At the beginning I didn’t think I would contribute at all but slowly became more involved.

The quick run over the tools was very useful.

Based on the two examples of portfolios, both of which had tremendous merit, I think the more structured Mahara framework might suit me better but I need more information before deciding.

I really like the ability to give people different views.

There are so many people out there doing such great things.

I’m going to suggest to our kinder teacher that she introduce ePortfolios to replace/complement the current Link books.

Are there examples of organisations having ePortfolios? I think it would be great if the kinder had one for parents to look at. We have a website but an ePortfolio could be so much more.

I wish I had had an ePortfolio years ago. I can’t even find the hard copy of my thesis and had to search for my papers on Pubmed when I redid my CV recently. I did retrieve my Uni teaching material but even that was a struggle. I’m going to make sure I don’t do the same with my TAE work and anything I create from now.

I’m going to try to do the unit of competency that covers ePortfolios.

Thanks to all who have made this MOOC possible.

I know I’ve already forgotten some of my thoughts. What I need is mind-reading software that writes down my thoughts while I’m running. Who knows – it may happen one day.

First steps – Level 1

Level 1 – What?

On Tuesday I accessed the level 1 quests and found I’d already done quite a few of them :). I discovered the resource kit on the site but that was, of necessity, consigned to the Wednesday. My major focus was continuing to find my way around the learnspace. I managed a brief glance at one of the staff egs from HK City U and, being a novice to the world of ePortfolios, was intrigued immediately by the structure; in this case profile, summary, showcase, qualifications. As I investigate further perhaps they will not all follow that structure. I also really like this graphic:

Wednesday saw some early morning reading of resource material; the NZ experience, the recruitment article (too dense for me at the moment), Dean Fisher’s (HK) ePortfolio in which I was especially interested in his comment about conceptual elements of ePortfolios. This lead me to find an article called ‘Conflicting Paradigms in Electronic Portfolio Approaches’  by Helen Barrett. It defined the difference between positivist vs constructivist portfolios. It was interesting but I’m not sure what to do with the information at this stage. I added her blog to my RSS. I also discovered The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-based Learning through the article ‘Review of Portfolios in Higher Education’.

The light-bulb moment of the week was that I decided to start own career journey blog – BIG decision – as my career ideas and resources are changing and developing at light speed at the moment and I often wish I could remember the sequences of things or where I saw pieces of information first. I do already reflect quite a lot, mostly while running as it gives me the mental space to do so, but it would be great to be able to look back over it all. The blog may form part of my ePortfolio in the future but will be of benefit regardless, providing I can find time to keep it up.

On Friday I became interested in fellow MOOCers (if that’s a word) and looked through a few of the profiles and found a couple of people in areas I’m interested in. I feel a bit of a leech as I’m sucking information from people (some of the blogs and forum posts make me realise that others are thinking more deeply than I am) and sites without contributing but hopefully in the future I’ll be able to redress the balance. I also discovered the Challenge Gallery and plan to try Wikispaces, LiveBinder and Prezi as my first new Web 2.0 tools.

I haven’t quite achieved all the quests – the mapping of my pathway seems challenging at the moment but perhaps it will come to me later. As I read this I realise quite a lot of my time has not been focused on the learning material but I needed to do the other things to get orientated. I hope to participate in the Webinar on Tuesday and am looking forward to hearing and reading other experiences.

At the end of Level 1 my understanding of ePortfolios is that they are in some ways like a combination of a super CV where potential employers can see in a very powerful way your achievements and your ideas for the future and a personal log of achievements that have been important to you and how you felt about them at the time and on reflection. If I apply Bloom’s taxonomy to my thoughts about ePortfolios (the influence of my concurrent TAE showing through!) I’m about level 2 so a long way to go yet.

PS. About an hour after I completed this post I read this quote from Ray Tolley, which sums up well what I haven’t completely grasped about ePortfolios:

‘An ePortfolio is just not a glorified CV or Showcasing tool – although these are very valuable aspects of an ePortfolio. Perhaps, in one phrase, I would sum up a true ePortfolio as ‘a place of conversation’ ‘

Before the learning

I am new to the VET sector. I’m a veterinary surgeon by training and for a few years worked in various private clinics and university clinical positions. The university positions involved some teaching of undergraduates on the clinic floor and in small group tutorials and I realised that I enjoyed that more than the clinical work itself. I moved to a role writing online teaching material for undergraduate vet students which I really enjoyed, although a lack of formal training and support made it challenging at times. After 7 years of maternity leave I’m ready to re-enter the workforce and hope to move into the e-learning area.

My hopes for the course are to form connections with like-minded people and to learn about both e-portfolios, which I suspect will become more and more important in the future, and the MOOC process itself.

My fears are that I won’t have the time to get as much out of it as I would like. I have 3 young children, am studying for Cert IV TAE in a compressed 12 week course which unfortunately falls exactly over the MOOC time, and spend many hours a week jointly running a community kindergarten so time is limited. But I’ll give it a good try.

At this stage I plan to reflect on teaching and learning but that may change as I get into the process.

Success will be having found enough time to get the benefit from the process.