Summary of activity since the last Steering Group meeting:
Clarification and further ongoing work on evaluation
The evaluation of software created using the Rapid Prototyping development method is necessarily incremental and the acceptance of the tools themselves is a significant aspect of meeting success criteria. User testing is underway and on schedule, and impact on teaching and learning – as with most impacts – take longer to assess.
Installation and testing of LT1 server
This raised a number of problems which were not completely resolved. The approach taken with the Portfolio template widget has the advantage of not requiring a separate server for widgets.
Continuing development of e-Portfolio widget & customization for Law
The development of this widget allows a platform independent version to be developed, with only a small interface layer, or configuration, for each different LMS. Further work in refactoring the code and making sure that the customisation can be done in a stand-alone file still needs to be completed, but piloting takes priority at this stage.
Upgrade of Blackboard required extra work to make video widget work again
This sort of problem is sadly all too common when service suppliers make changes to features such as input filters. Any form of customisation adds to a growing maintenance overhead whenever a new version of the underlying software in installed. The design of the system means that there are, unfortunately, a number of weak points where different systems may need to be modified whenever another technology is updated.
Portfolio widgets linked to make a usable product from the parts
These two pieces of work represent a major move forward in providing the ePortfolio functionality
Proposal for presentation at Online Educa accepted
Focussing on UoR’s use and development of ePortfolio approaches, specifically the work done on the Develop project
Portfolio feedback widget
Still actively under development, work on this widget highlights some interesting semiotic elements of feedback and portfolios (which will be covered in a later blog post). There are also some technical issues which still need to be resolved, but the widget as it is now will be given a good work out by a group of IT students in the near future.
Portfolio template piloting
The pilots (still awaiting full analysis) appear to show a marked benefit from the availability of the template wizard Guy has created. Initial analysis of the feedback from the first 8 pilot sessions shows students found the template extremely useful, and allowed them extra time to reflect on the actual purpose of using portfolios, rather than focusing on the technical issues of how to create and update them.
Portfolio export widget
Various ideas are being explored, and the most promising candidate is based on the same framework as the feedback and templating widgets. The main issue here is that the export widget needs to have some semantic knowledge about the content of the portfolio. This can be achieved by having a template which the learner has to fill in, which can work in some circumstances, but lacks flexibility and does not allow for easy customisation. It can also be achieved by using a wizard coupled with a mark-up tool (such as the feedback widget) to annotate information in a portfolio whether it is fixed format or free-text . The latter would seem to be the better approach, and will be explored further when the feedback widget is complete.