A copy of my blog post from today:
The excellent website on eportfolios maintained by the Rhetoric and Writing Department at the University of Mississippi contends that since eportfolio pedagogy consistently involves the students directly in their own education, it is then, in fact, active learning or, more precisely in their own words, “student-centered” learning. This latter phrase, of course, is what leads some teachers to reject the idea. In addressing this particular concern, the website authors say that “[t]hough ‘student-centered learning’ has become a cliché [,] such over-generalizations draw their power from an understanding that our students need to be more involved in deciding what is studied, how it is studied, and what learning is significant in relationship to class goals. This does not mean that we are surrendering our role as teachers. Rather, it acknowledges that students experience more meaningful learning and are more apt to keep and apply what they learn when they are invited to help select, in a dialogue with their teachers [my emphasis], what activities they will engage in to improve their understanding of course content.” I would also add that by involving them more in their own education, we are improving the likelihood that they will recognize and acknowledge more of their own responsibility.
What I hope to do this fall is to merge the benefits of active learning exercises and collobarative work in the physical classroom with the cyberspace equivalent through the eportfolio experience in such a way that when they leave the classroom they still carry it with them in their heads and on the internet. They will continue to observe, think, and reflect periodically as they go through their other activities and then share the outcomes with their peers in the classroom and through the web.