530-11 Using Digication e-Portfolios in Introductory Soils Class.

Monday, 6 October 2008
George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E
Josef H. Gorres, Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI and Jeffrey Yan, Digication, Providence, RI
Digication is a digital portfolio system developed at the Rhode Island School of Design as learning and teaching tool.  However, the philosophy of digication includes the idea of collaborative learning where the portfolio community emulates a studio environment with students and instructors able to review the work of others in the community. While Digication was developed for college students and teachers, the tool is now widely used by middle and high school students to document special projects. Students can publish their work at three web community levels: student-instructor, immediate peer group and the world wide web. The portolio system affords students a high level of creativity by allowing incorporation of multi-media files. In addition, the templates and the architecture of the portfolio facilitate organization of projects into logical units.  We used Digication as a reflective tool in an introductory soil science course at the University of Rhode Island.  The course was taught as a problem based learning class and we thought the learning format lent itself to electronic portfolios, in particular Digication because of its versatility and ability to provide students with space to exhibit artifacts in a creative way to a wider web community. As part of their grade, students had the choice to post a short biography with how soil science was important to their major or a solution for a problem posed in the class. While most students opted for the short biography, the projects posted exhibited good organization and creativity. In general, students were able to use the tool after one 45 minute hands-on introduction and accepted the tool quickly.