Word of the day – Eporticulture


Reading around the topic of ePortfolios, I came across the work of Kevin Kelly and Ruth Cox who define Eporticulture as follows:

Eporticulture (n.) the act or custom of learning, developing intellectually and professionally, and transmitting knowledge through the creation, review, and assessment of authentic, reflective, and integrative student work that is shared over time via electronic portfolios.

Etymology: e (electronic) + portfolio (a selection of a student’s work compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress) + culture (the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations).

Kelly and Cox argue that ePortfolios should be an integral teaching and learning tool. Taking the example of the evolution of horticultural testing into a complex science, they make the case for using the new tools and technology at our disposal to assess or ‘harvest’ students’ work in new and exciting ways.

Writing strategies

It’s been a busy week gathering all the data for inclusion in my ePortfolio. As usual, it will be a case of what to leave out and hoping that what stays in is of a good enough standard. As someone who struggles sometimes to commit thoughts to paper, I found Dr Pat Thomson‘s post on writing strategies made great reading. She argues that it’s not a bad thing to write in long chunks of time or to write in short bursts, or as she refers to it ‘snacking and bingeing’. I constantly wonder if my ‘method’ of writing is correct. Sometimes I get absorbed in research and will write for hours, while there are other times when I just need to step away from the laptop and clear my head. Usually, I’m more productive when I’ve had a break and managed to ‘unclog’ an idea. Could there be a better way?

When I was given my first writing assignments, I found it difficult to commit my ideas to paper, wanting a ‘finished’ draft with my first attempt. However, I’ve found that this is impossible. There is never a perfect first draft. I just need to put something down on paper and banish that blank screen. Each assignment is reworked until I have something I can bear to submit. Academic and instructional design bloggers note that it is usually better to get something finished than to keep trying to get it perfect. Certainly, in the instructional design arena, there won’t be the luxury of unlimited time to get a product out to a client, so it’s a matter of structuring my time in order to meet the deadline set.

My strategy is always to compile a daily list of tasks, no matter how small, and set myself a short deadline for completion. That way, I have the satisfaction of striking each task through and getting on with the next list! This was essential while I was completing my development proposal. Doing this helps me feel in control of a project and I prefer to give myself bit of breathing room by bringing an assignment deadline forward by a few days. That way, I can step away from the ‘finished’ product for a day or two, then read it with fresh eyes just before submission.


Having fallen victim to the dreaded ‘lurgy’ I wasn’t able to record my podcast last weekend so that is on my task list for this weekend. I’ve also chosen my song snippets and hope I remember how to put it all together on Audacity!



Kelly, Kevin and Ruth Cox. “ePorticulture: Growing A New Culture of Assessment.” E-Portfolios and Global Diffusion: Solutions for Collaborative Education. IGI Global, 2012. 56-69. Web. 9 Apr. 2017. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-0143-7.ch005


Planes, trains, and barges

Week 9

It all sounded like a good idea back in February. I booked a short break, secure in the knowledge that the deadline for my development proposal was 20 March. I couldn’t have foreseen that we would receive an extension. Thus, this time last week, I was desperately trying to stick to my original submission deadline and ‘reward’ myself with a trip to Amsterdam.

Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. The proposal has been submitted and I can move on to my other assignments.


Now that I have submitted my Summer development proposal, I can concentrate more on my ePortfolio assignment for EL6052. Having researched several tools for creating an ePortfolio, I have decided to work with Weebly. Having looked at several YouTube clips, Weebly looks quite manageable. While the look of my ePortfolio is important, I am more concerned about writing the personal reflections that will accompany each digital artefact. I am only sorry that I didn’t take the opportunity to write a reflective blog last year, or at least document the process of creating each artefact, from inception to completion. Once some time passes, remembering the minutiae of each assignment becomes more difficult. I have found myself still dithering over what artefacts to include. Even though I am still focused on creating an Instructional Design ePortfolio, I am reluctant to omit an example of a Technical Communications assignment. I will make a decision this week and live with the consequences!

MadCap Flare or Podcast?

Our final assignment for EL6082 was posted last week. We may choose to create a 10 minute podcast on a topic of interest or create a digital artefact, using MadCap Flare or an alternative software tool. Because my Summer development project will necessitate creating many audio files, I’ve decided to create a podcast. This assignment will give me the opportunity to practice recording and editing with Audacity. I haven’t used Audacity since this time last year, and need to re-familiarise myself with this software. However, the greater challenge will be in listening to myself speaking. My singing students regularly record our lessons, so I am familiar with how my speaking voice sounds.

What I am not comfortable with is how dissimilar the recorded sound is to how I perceive my voice sounds in reality. Of course, everyone says this, so I hope that repeated listening to my voice recordings will reduce my sensitivities on that score.

What is a podcast?

A podcast, (a conflation of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’) is an audio or video file which can be downloaded onto a desktop computer or mobile device and played back at a time of the listener’s choosing. Listeners can access podcasts via a podcatcher such as iTunes.  The beauty of the podcast is that the user can subscribe to a feed so that their favourite podcasts are automatically downloaded to a mobile device, or other specified location, as they appear. Podcasting may be perceived as a low threshold application, i.e. they are deemed a more accessible technology than other digital media and are a relatively simple tool for users.

Users have a degree of comfort in using podcasts, as they are akin to listening to the radio. However, podcasts come with an added bonus: they may be listened to multiple times, and at a time of the user’s convenience. Over the course of this MA, I have found this feature of podcasts invaluable. It has enabled me to listen to lectures while driving or walking. It has allowed me to get a ‘sense’ of the topic on an initial hearing, and then to listen a second time while viewing the PowerPoint slides to gain a more detailed picture of the topic being discussed. I have accessed great content via this medium, mainly for entertainment, but also for informal learning. Podcasts are a great way to engage in micro-learning. They have also made me aware that I need to create short audio clips for my Summer development project. My target audience will be accessing this e-learning resource while on the move and therefore key information needs to be conveyed quickly.

Images: www.pixabay.com