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ePortfolio Community Profiles: Pete Vandenberg
Courses and Assignments
Pete’s most recent experience with ePortfolios was teaching an undergraduate capstone course for the Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse major. This project-based course allowed senior undergraduate students to both work on individual writing projects and collaborate with one another on an ePortfolio that introduces new students to a liberal arts education at DePaul.
ePortfolios make audiences real
One of the most fundamental lessons any writing student must learn is how to write for different audiences. Arguably, teaching audience using paper- or essay-based assignments can be difficult because students understand that, oftentimes, their sole audiences are their instructors. But writing and publishing work using ePortfolios, especially when when they are shared and made public, can help students in any discipline identify who their audiences are and how best to reach them.
“Teaching audience and learning about writing for audience is making decisions about style, mode choice, arrangement--those kinds of things in relation to audience and occasion. And when you can really sense the possibility your audience may in fact read what you’re doing--rather than just the teacher--those choices become real.”
Technology follows learning outcomes
According to Pete, for technology to be appropriately integrated into courses, instructors must first outline their learning outcomes, asking themselves two questions: “What do I want students to be able to know?” and “What do I want them to be able to do?” when the course is over. It is only after answering those two questions when the role of technology should be addressed, in terms of how it can help students achieve the learning outcomes for the course.
"The key thing about technology is that it always follows the learning outcomes... we don't want technology to lead; we want technology to follow effectively."