The following is a post I wrote for Dean Zumwalt summarizing faculty and student uses of blogs and e-portfolios. This is my last post as the Digital Design Fellow. This has been a WONDERFUL year–thank you to everyone who has worked with me to make this fellowship a success! Emily Grim, ’10 will be the next Fellow. She will become the author of this blog on June 14th. Welcome Emily!!
When I started as the first Digital Design Fellow, I wasn’t sure where to begin. How was I supposed to encourage students to build a website from scratch and keep up with it? Make it a requirement? Introduce it in classes? Promise everyone that consistent reflection deepens learning and looks great on a resumé and hope they’d buy it? With the help of Emily Gwynn and many others, we took all of these approaches and have some exciting results.
The idea of a class blog or e-portfolio seemed confusing at first. However, thanks to the openness and creativity of several professors and the dedication and enthusiasm typical of Agnes Scott students, after two semesters of experimentation in courses across disciplines, they have become a dynamic teaching and learning tool. I’ve worked with faculty from Studio Art, Art History, Economics, German, History, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Sociology/Anthropology to encourage blogs in 14 courses this academic year. Eleven course blogs are linked to the right sidebar.
The art department has spearheaded the use of blogs in the classroom, requiring that each student in five different studio classes and one interdisciplinary course create an individual blog that documents their making and learning process. Nell Ruby compiles the individual sites on class blogs where she reviews students’ work. (See her favorite example.) Lisa Alembik posts images of drawings students may use for inspiration. Emily Grim has helped the art department launch a student-run blog that talks about art at Agnes Scott and in Atlanta.
One unique take on a class e-portfolio is Gundolf Graml’s German 340 class’s “Afro-Deutsche: Geschichte, Literatur, Kultur,” a site created for high school students about Afro-Germans. The class presented the project at SpARC, stating that there is a sore lack of resources about Afro-German history and culture. They hope their research will contribute to the few resources easily available online.
In an effort to encourage first-years to start their consistent digital reflective practice early, I presented e-portfolios at the ASC 101 sessions in the fall. Several students did indeed believe that consistent digital reflection is a good idea and started sites of their own. First-years are using their blogs to debate major decisions, explore study abroad options, reflect on Agnes Scott events, brainstorm for research papers, critique movies, analyze poetry, and comment on controversial news articles.
I appreciate the openness and excitement faculty and students have demonstrated this year toward blogs and e-portfolios. The launch of this thorough, dynamic, reflective content was possible because of collaborations spanning disciplines and departments. As a proud recent graduate, I’m excited to see that blogs and e-portfolios are becoming yet another avenue for Scotties to find their voice.