DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Ride the New Wave of Accountability and Assessment in Education

There is a lot of excitement in the room this morning.  People are finding their way to their seats in front of two big screens with an elevated stage and podium between them. I have high expectations for Melissa’s keynote. I ‘ve come all the way from Boston to learn about the ways e-portfolios are changing education. In this room with all the people it feels like this is a real educational movement, a future vehicle for creating high impact and deep learning, the twenty first century tool for accountability and assessment for both faculty and students. Are we riding the gathering wave for changing our education paradigm?


There are many people and organizations involved in the e-portfolio landscape- AAEEBL, EPAC, INCEPR (research on e-portfolios). There are grants; Connect to Learning and the Lifelong Learning Curriculum Transformation Project (PHIPSE) of which I and my institution are a part.


I am hear to learn about what Melissa Peet has been doing at Michigan with the integrated knowledge process. She is going to talk about tacit knowledge and the role it plays for practitioners, leaders and innovators. It’s a theme I think we will come back to frequently in the breakout session during the during the conference.





Here is what is capturing my attention and what I am processing during her incredibly charasmatic presentation. Here is what I am thinking about. 

Melissa described the fundamental problem at the University of Michigan, which is also true of my own university. Students and staff do extraordinary things and we have no record of it. How can we capture it?


Here is the story with an important lesson that she told about the medicine integrative scholars program of which she is a part. The program brings doctors from many disciplines together to reflect on adverse events to reduce fatalities. Its aim is to create better practitioners who can see their practice in a more expansive and integrated way.  This preeminent group of practitioners invited an alternative practitioner, Dr. Lu, to come and meet with their group. In their meeting he explains his philosophy of medicine learned in a monastery when he was five years old. He observes the tongue, eyes, ears, nose, and feet and feels for the pulse. To provide evidence of the validity of his diagnostic method he examines a volunteer with rare illness. After a short while he explains that he understands everything about the patient and her illness and in a series of several short questions he reveals the same diagnosis made after a 150,000-dollar workup by the Western medical doctors. How could he do this? The pulse! He made his diagnosis by feeling the pulse. Apparently, he has learned how to identify 100 different manifestations of the pulse and the disease state with which they are associated. A hundred different pulses for what in our binary vocabulary is either bounding or thready. But here is the lesson of the story. For 6000 years these practitioners have been doing this and we have absolutely no way of knowing what it is or how it works. (Photo Credit: The Pulse in Traditional Medicine imonline.org)


Melissa’s little questions for us- what is the knowledge we need to change the world? Where does it come from?


As educators, when we teach something in one course, we assume that it will translate into another course; but it doesn’t because students have to know to integrate their experiences. Most people have zero idea what they know and there is no knowledge without a knower.


The integrative knowledge process helps us find what we know by

  • Identifying and organizing key learning experiences
  • Creating knowledge artifacts (a meta-reflection on their experience- what did you learn from this experience and how can you relate it to other things in your life)
  • Mapping learning to institutional outcomes

Once you do something or learn something it recedes into the tacit knowledge area and you will loose it or can’t find it. So you need to be able to tell a story so you can identify it. Currently our notion of what knowledge is is so small, like a shoebox; but our real tacit knowledge is huge like the ocean.


When you are doing and thinking about what matters to you, matter is arising within you. The generative interview brings to the center what inspires and will help students understand better what they are getting from their courses and how they relate to other aspects of life.


Store these tidbits:

1. Types of learning: explicit, cognitive, experiential, affective, intuitive and embodied knowledge.

2. It takes two years for leaders to acquire the tacit knowledge needed to do the new job.

3. The ordering parameters of human evolution are purpose, core capacities, challenges and potholes, and enabling context, relationships and conditions. Anything that you have done that is creative came out of your relationship, core capacities, and circumnavigating potholes.

4. Teaching for coherence, foster holarchial (not hierarchical) knowledge development, trust, and collaboration.

5.Thirty years of unequivocal research that shows that trust and collaboration empowers and supports transformational learning.


GKI is transformative because it follows the rules of nature. Nature has principles- if you learn the rules and adhere to them- amazing things happen.

1.     We are made of dynamic complexity- change is constant

2.     Nature creates infinite complexity from a few simple elements or ordering parameters.

3.     When ordering parameters interact with the environment new patterns arise

4.     Connections give rise to patterns that express new forms of coordinated intelligence (all knowing is context dependent).


Note to self: Generative Knowledge Interviewing works because it reveals, anchors, and amplifies the coordinated forms of intelligence and the genome – the template that generates our intelligence. The field of business has been doing this for a long time. For example, Scrum teams at Google are reported to produce 400-700 times greater productivity and velocity than normal teams. The scrum masters job is to help people find what matters to them and remove barriers to self-organization. You can check this out on YouTube by searching for a video on Google scrum teams.


The great experiment put into practice: reflection, tacit knowledge, documenting what you are learning while you in a learning environment, getting it down when your ordering parameters are being lit up, capturing those AHA moments; that’s what we are going to do on Twitter, Facebook, and Google phone. Document them or loose them! Leave them public for future analysis.  


And I am doing it now!- recording insights and looking forward to understanding how I can apply what I am learning her to the rest of my work and life? Keep it going.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Identifying and understanding stakeholders in a successful e-portfolio implementation


I had read a few of Helen Chan’s papers so I was really looking forward to this session on understanding stakeholders in a successful e-portfolio implementation.


Slides for the session are available in adobe PDF portfolio in acrobat at http://epac.pbworks.com


I know that I am an early adapter. I like the challenge of experimenting with something new. What I am not that good at is bringing other people along institutionalizing new initiatives. I’ve been using e-portfolios and deeply believe in them and I have been talking to colleagues and trying to build a critical mass of users, so this session is perfect to help me think through the challenge of scaling up the use of e-portfolios in my department. Working with the session facilitators to


  • Identify stakeholders
  • Bench mark needs
  • Brainstorm strategies

is something that I should be able to use with the committee I am on that is reviewing our international health curriculum.


First question: who is interested in the e-portfolio? Which stakeholder do I want to focus on to deepen my understanding of the stakeholder?


Note to self: Drawing a map of stakeholders with the others at my table was a great activity. I am definitely going to use this technique when I ask students to identify stakeholders in my courses.

Interviewing a partner with the question why do you need an e portfolio? what can stakeholder contribute? was also useful to clarify my own needs. 2. Something we might want to do: emulate

e-portfolio contest at University Washington. 


Pay attention to context, vocabulary, and departmental, program, and institutional culture when introducing and talking about e-portfolios.


Here is something that I really need to do before our next curriculum review meeting.


Develop a matrix illustrating the ways e-portfolio will build student skills and integrate IH course work. I also should try to imagine how e-portfolios could be implemented in my department by filling out the e-portfolio implementation matrix.



(course, program, institution)





Resources required (tools, personnel, etc.)



I will need to identify champions who are willing and want to work on this. I will have to help faculty fit e-portfolios into what they are already doing.


Advice to self: Start small like what is an outcome in your course that could be used for an e-portfolio? Listen to needs and goals and find opportunities where they exist- outcomes, reflection…Design courses around e-portfolio

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Creating a New Institutional Context for e-portfolios: Student Outcomes as Academic Currency


This was an awesome session given by David Shupe, Chief Innovation Officer, eLumen Collaborative. I was thinking so fast trying to make connections between academia, business planning, my own courses, and the role of e-portfolio in the classroom for reflection and assessment that I got a brain freeze. It happened also to the women at my table that I was working with too. She said she was thinking so hard she got a headache. I’ll want to review the slides for this session; I couldn’t capture and reflect on all the issues that came up fast enough.


The context for teachers and learners is everything. Context defines how we think and what we do. If suddenly in this session the walls started to shake, we would be thinking very differently than we are now. In academia the context that drives the system. “Credit as currency “defines the terms of student engagement and assessment.


Here is a quick critique of the credit as currency paradigm. Credits as currency system:

  • Excludes everything related to learning except credits and grades
  • Doesn’t care about student engagement, learning environments, etc. Everything outside and inside of credit courses goes unrecognized.
  • Misrepresents any gradient in learning
  • Documents student achievement only when the course is completely finished
  • Imposes the value of the business endeavor on the academic endeavor – the credit system was designed to manage the business endeavor.
  • Maintains inequality of data
  • Distorts student attention to learning
  • Institutional focus on credits and grades, specific activities within a course, individual student variation, credit system is set up to – asks faculty to improve student learning with only one part of the data.
  • Creates extra work for faculty- things to be done that faculty have to do. Does not provide adequate information to assess students (letters of reference, certification exams, mid term alerts for at risk students, point based systems of grading, standardized achievement tests, assessment are needed to overcome tis deficiency.
  • Graduates students as commodities- this school/ this major

Why do we not address this?

Pricing, faculty load, currency for transfer, business model depends on it.


What are our choices?

Disregard this choice and keep doing what we are doing.


Change the system? Who is going to do this? We know that credit as currency inhibits student learning. Research could be done; so what, would it change anything?


If we change the system we have to start with the current situation and academic faculty must develop their own system that will do all the things that we have to do for an “academic endeavor”.


What this model look like and how could we set it up?


The point of arrival will be student outcomes that refer normally to competencies or attainment levels reached by students on the completion of an academic program.


Colleges and universities will:

  • Define each degree as a set of expected learning outcomes
  • Evaluate student work/activity relative to standards (as evidence for one or more learning outcome
  • Track each student’s progress as a developing set of actual learning outcomes.

Credits are specified: counted, linked, categorized and qualified by grade


Outcomes are precisely defined, calibrated by size, counted, categorized, qualified by status, qualified by condition, linked (courses, activities, evidence), interconnected, evaluated by explicit criteria, subdivided by performance criteria.


You can have two independent ways of measuring students, by outcomes and by credits, and you can create a perfect match


Focusing on outcomes engages the entire university not just the sum of the courses students take.


Specifically in my situation in my department I think I must compile a list of learning outcomes taught in each course and analyze which outcomes go together- at what level? How many times?


Reason that an activity counts as a learning outcome, not because of any ones assertion that it does but because the student action or activity has been examined through the lens of a context appropriate rubric.


Note to self: Educational GPS: the institutional capacity to know in real time where any student or any set of students stands relative to any set of expected student learning outcomes. Three things need to happen to create an educational GPS:

1.     needs to be a rich full imagination of what it would mean to base assessment on academic endeavor (future of higher ed)

2.     Places that have leverage can affect change in this area

3.     Has to be feasible, need a technology that makes it possible to do (e-portfolio- elumen)


After the workshop I will need to Google “E-lumen” to find out more about how it works. I did: check it out at www.elumen.info...

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Integrating the principles of life long life wide learning into institutions, courses, and assessment practices


This session facilitated by Melissa Peet, Nancy Pawlyshyn, and Laura Reynolds-Keefer was about life long and life wide learning. The concept that this is for faculty as well as students is critical because we are modeling this for students. At Mercy College faculty situate themselves as life long learning and try to facilitate that experience for their students.


This topic reiterates the theme from the last session. Student outcomes should become the currency for student engagement and assessment. We need to shift from compliance with accreditation criteria (David Shupe’s language “credit as currency”) to a commitment to student learning and assessment of  that learning.


Basically I am here to learn how to, just as the title of the session states, integrate principles of life long and life wide learning into my institution, my courses, and my assessment practices.


Here are some of the things I learned and am now thinking about.


Holarchies concept:

  • Growth in student use and faculty use campus-wide
  • Inclusion of portfolio in the emerging strategic plan for the campus
  • Program proposals now include the planned use of e-portfolio
  • Ability to use portfolios as one “data point’ in unit and campus wide accreditation efforts.

Some lessons from Laura that I think are pretty universal (I can use them where I work too.)

  • Grass grows up
  • It’s not about the money (unless it is for resource allocation)
  • It’s not about the technology (unless it is)

Ah-ha moments:

o   Do you really need a hammer?

o   Little shampoo bottles

o   No sudden moves

o   It isn’t my portfolio


Notion that what it means to bring all of a learners subsidiary knowledge into the classroom- can we get through the content that we want to cover? As you invite more and more students into this process the faster you actually cover the material that you want to cover. The process will fundamentally change the arc of the learning curve.


There is a period of time when you are leaving an old paradigm and moving toward a new one. I now see a different realm of learning than I did before. But that is not how we are taught. I have a PHD and am an expert. Put a bunch of PHD’s in meat grinder and you get a curriculum.

It should not be “about my expertise and my content”- it should be about student learning. However most universities are faculty-centered environments.


When you think about the course you are teaching, what do you want your students to take away from your course five years for now? (Note that this is the same concept as Dee Fink’s significant learning”.)


Life long life wide learning; we have to change our paradigm about when and how learning happens. GKI is a very specific meta reflection and its prompts work for all disciplines.


  • What did I learn and why was it important? What were the aha moments?
  • What knowledge skills and or capacities did I gain or demonstrate?
  • How does it relate to other contexts of experiences?
  • How does it relate to my own interests, passion and goals,?
  • How might I use this knowledge in the future?


Reflection exhaustion- we need to learn how to talk about this process without using the word reflection.


Principles behind GKI (now there is a certification program- one day)

  • Story telling, generative listening- listening to a story to find the things that are not being said. 
  • When you tell your story you have to describe (no reflection) STAY DESCRIPTIVE

Note to self: Laura’s randomization trick: scratch piece of paper – piece of candy- match candy favorites really works. I am going to use this in the future!


Workshop Activity

We paired up and in pairs thought of two different learning experiences where we taught, designed or led a learning activity. We weren’t looking for a huge lightening bolt moments just an experience to talk about without getting emotionally unzipped. As Melissa says: “Tacit knowledge lives in the magic of the everyday.”

We were told as listeners not to personally relate to the story (oh my god I know what you are talking about- send it back). Story tellers were told to use descriptive language involving I, direct verbs, and objects.


Workshop Debrief:  in doing this exercise- did anyone hear learn something about yourself that you didn’t know.  If you can reflect back both concretely and in metaphor it is very helpful. We have so many forms of intelligence that we can’t name. One of the things that is common is that who we think we are is actually a reversal of who we are.


What I am going to take away from this session is that I need to practice GKI so I can use it in a productive and effective way. I also will remember Laura’s lessons and Nancy’s open and supportive faculty development program at Mercy. I can start with a little shampoo bottle. I believe that the grass grows up and I and a few colleages could be the first seeds. Who knows where that will lead?

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.