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Digicational: Teaching and Learning with Digication May 16, 2011

Filed under: what do you think? — Mia Amélie @ 10:23 am
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This year, I joined the UCWbL team at DePaul’s 16th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference to present my e-portfolio with my fellow Digicators. Faculty drawn to the conference from across the university had the opportunity to browse the various e-portfolios on display and direct Digication questions to the presenters of each digital portfolio.  Consequently, many of the conversations I found myself engaged in had to do with my experience with class sites on Digication. Admittedly, I’ve only had one class with a page on Digication instead of D2L, but upon reflecting and investigating class e-pages, I’ve found many that prove Digication to be full of helpful tools for both professors and students.

Thomas Menchhofer‘s**  LSP 320 course for peer mentors of the Discover and Explore Chicago classes uses pages and sections to his advantage to create a course syllabus and weekly schedule that is very comprehensive. While D2L and other similar course websites typically only offer syllabi as documents, the tab feature on Digication transforms the syllabus into a navigational resource for students.

Similar to Professor Menchhofer’s page, Michelle Navarre Cleary** uses pages and sections to make her School of New Learning LSP 320 course page easy to navigate, using the functionality of pages to keep her class up to date. Professor Cleary uses  the drag and drop feature of the pages to make sure the current week is the page with first appears on the Weekly Schedule Immediate updates and that important notices on first page stay relevant.

The UCWbL’s own Matthew Pearson** hosted a WRD 396 Writing Fellows class page on Digication which looks amazing and makes the one section approach work. Not only did Matthew take advantage of the “Custom CSS” section in the Portfolio Settings to alter the coloring and text format of his page in an appealing way, but he also took advantage of the “Advanced Settings and toggle features of each page to make his single section e-portfolio work. Typically I encourage the use of multiple sections and pages to organize the e-portfolio, but Matthew’s short and simple outline appearance works well to make his class page comprehensive.

Thomas McNamara‘s** Winter Quarter WRD 104 portfolio has been among the featured e-portfolios for quite some time, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the portfolio visually pleasing, but Tom, another UCWbLer, used links to connect students with various resources (like the course goals website of the First Year Writing Program) and other applicable pages within the class site, i.e. connecting “readings and assignments” and “essay assignments” to the “grades” page. Of course, McNamara also made sure to specify when creating the links that they open in a new tab, making this technique all the more navigational for students. While links accessed in D2L typically open within the D2L page, making multitasking nearly impossible, McNamara’s use of tabs makes the Digication page up to speed with a fast-moving, tech-savvy student body.

Another feature to consider as an educator using Digication includes a submission feature similar to the D2L “Dropbox.” Students can submit assignments posted on Digication to a certain class by clicking on the “Portfolio Tools” tab on their portfolio and selecting “Submit.” Tools like this make it clear that Digication is working towards becoming a teacher-friendly tool, so you can certainly expect to see more features like this popping up.

In many ways, Digication is made for educational purposes, but the reason I enjoy seeing teachers using it forclass pages goes beyond the nifty tools and features. Professors who use Digication expose their students to this great resource. Using Digication as class pages encourages students to explore this tool and creates more Digication experts as professors become more and more familiar with operating an e-portfolio.

**Having trouble accessing the portfolios for viewing? Try logging into Digication and accessing the e-portfolios through a name search in the Digication search engine under “e-Portfolios.” Keep in mind that many of the portfolios showcased in this blog are only viewable to members of the DePaul community.
For more tips and discussions on Digication and e-portfolios, check out the entries listed under the category “Digication,” explore relevant tabs, and stay tuned for additional posts in this series on “Digicating.”

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