What we ask students to do is who we ask them to be.
Kathleen Blake Yancey
The creative potential of digital portfolios inspires me. It is by far the biggest and most meaningful change in teaching that I have faced in my fifteen years at DePaul, and as the paradigm shifts, I am thrilled to be close to the shaky center. Digication allows students to present their work in multi-modal format while creating a four year chronicle of their growth at DePaul to present to future employers.
As with any significant change, this shift received some healthy resistance from some members of our community. This anxious tiptoeing results from interpreting text and image as separate spheres. Now that we are wedding text and image there seems to be concern that we are somehow trespassing on Art’s domain. Historically however, image and text have had a long, successful partnership that we are just now rediscovering. The packaging is new, not the concept. Soon, I hope the nervous tiptoeing will be replaced by raucous dancing to celebrate what students can achieve through Digication.
Despite a few philosophical differences, most instructors agree that it is beneficial to introduce their classes to Digication during the first week, even if it is only to show examples of digital portfolios. Other ideas to consider include:
- Going forward I plan to include a mid-term portfolio, something I did not require during the pilot and now regret. The advantage of the mid-term portfolio is that it familiarizes students with the mechanics of submitting a digital portfolio in a low stakes situation. It also gives the instructor an opportunity to make sure everything is working correctly before final portfolios are due.
- I require students to send a link to my email. This eliminates a lot of wasted time, moving from place to place.
- Invite students to include their own original artwork where appropriate. This works especially well for banners. For example, one of my students designed a charming comic strip to illustrate her literacy narrative. When students create their own designs they eliminate the worry of violating copyrights.
- However, if students decide to include the creative work of others remind them relentlessly to acknowledge it. File sharing web sites such as Flicker make it easy for students to avoid plagiarizing images.
- Finally, schedule lab time as early as possible.
Welcome to the exciting potential of Digication.
-- Nancy LaFever