This is my first time in San Francisco. I know the trip is quick and I will not see much but hope to experience a lot of what the city and the Embarcadero have to offer. Likewise it is my first AACU meeting. I have been to several similar academic meetings (AHHE, POD and AAEEBL), so I will likely meet old acquaintances and make some new ones. I am excited to join the FIPSE team and to make personal connections with academic innovators who have been able to advance the portfolio initiative on their campuses. My focus at previous portfolio meetings was to develop simple but effective reflective prompts that I can use in my portfolio-based teaching. My portfolio experience has progressed and I’m more confident in talking about integrative assessment, so my focus on this trip is to learn processes that institutions have set up to integrate student learning over the length of the program and last but not least ,what is this generative knowledge concept anyway?
What I noticed
Campuses are at different locations on a continuum in terms of a student vs. teacher centered culture of teaching and learning. At the same time there are different cultures of faculty development on campus. The status of faculty development can likewise be placed on a continuum of research on one end and a teaching focus on the other. There are probably better ways to describe this continuum, but what is most important is the sense of community around teaching (versus research) that these institutions tend to support. In other academic meetings that I am familiar with there is greater representation of faculty who have worked to support student centered teaching cultures. Since the AACU represents a different cohort, where are these schools and individuals located with regard to the establishment and support of faculty development and teaching learning cultures that I have been familiar with through POD and the POD list serv?
I'm glad for the opportunity to work with individuals exploring the portfolio process and a broader understanding of assessment which derives from and supports a student centered learning paradigm and to share the approaches we have found more or less successful in our setting.
What I’ll keep thinking about…the bridge..
In terms of the implementation of the portfolio technology at Boston University I believe the technology support will develop as it did for Blackboard. Despite the student centered functionality of this LMS it remains on most campuses including BU as a teacher centric technology. The portfolio is student centered and will require a coordinated faculty development effort as well as a technology effort. Blackboard can be successfully implemented and not change the culture of teaching and learning very much. I don't think the portfolio can be successful unless the culture of student centered learning is more fully developed. I think faculty development will be the bridge to a new more robust conceptual framework that will provide a fuller implementation of this technology.