This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Wk 1-Introductions

Welcome to this learning group! Our purpose here is to look at online portfolios as a personal learning tool for teachers.

Introduce yourself here. Tell a little about why you're interested in this group and what you'd like to learn, talk about, and do in our time together.

If you'd like, you can make a short video for your introduction or you can post a written comment.

A group of us are helping facilitate this discussion, as well as learning with the group, including:

  • Karen Fasimpaur
  • Liz Renshaw
  • Jonas Backelin
  • Joe Dillon
  • (others to be added)


We'll introduce ourselves here as well. :)

Task Discussion

  • Harry B   July 20, 2012, 7:09 a.m.

    Okay - wow, I truly slipped the boat in coming into this forum, lol, so I am playing catch up!  

    I am Harry Brake, now media Specialist at ASF, the American School Foundaton in Mexico City.  I love it for many reasons. I am an avid contributor to NCTE conferences, and want to step up to the next level and write for the publications!

    As an English teacher, I love literature, I love media, and I love pop culture.  I love all disciplines and see them blended together. 

    I am intrigured by the idea of eportfolios, and want to know as much as there is about this topic.

    Below is the porfile I usually write for into's!:

     I am currently a 12 year experienced English Educator at a Community College and Secondary English level at various high school, public and private.

    I am now located in Mexico City, working at ASF (American School Foundation) as the Assistant Librarian and Media Specialist.  I plan on staying in Mexico City to maximize my experiences of developing technology in a different environment.

    I love grant writing, working with environmental issues, nd of course, as an English instructor, love world literature!  

  • John   July 19, 2012, 3:17 a.m.

    Hi i'm jOhn
      So i'm always interested in the professorship and i think going on this track for my craeer.. I thinh that this learning willl help me to learn new techniques which will help me afterwards. I very excited an reallly want to go at the end of this course

  • Liz Renshaw   July 19, 2012, 4:04 a.m.
    In Reply To:   John   July 19, 2012, 3:17 a.m.

    Welcome John.  I hope u enjoy the course. I am keen to hear anything about education from. Ur. Country. 

  • Jonas Backelin   July 14, 2012, 7:18 a.m.

    In this presentation I share some of my experience with professional development for teachers in Bulgaria and my aim in this course.

  • RachelCorrine   July 12, 2012, 7:35 a.m.

    Hi! My name is Rachel - sorry to post a little late, but I teach for a private college and our summer quarter started this week!

    I am interested in ePortfolios because I have been working to create one.  While I love my current work, I how to work for a public university at some point, and want to make sure I am building an appropriate teaching portfolio.

    Looking forward to sharing ideas!

  • Selim   July 12, 2012, 1:49 a.m.



    My name is Selim.  I just returned to teaching after an eight year hiatus and I am looking to find new ways of engaging students and demonstrating my impact on student performance.  I know that my students have learned a lot with me but it while I can articulate what I have done with my students and they can answer questions posed to them, it is difficult to demonstrate my personal impact on students - I believe that learning how to develop an ePortfolio would help alleviate that problem, while also giving me a record of my accomplishments with students over many years (hopefully).  

  • Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 2:33 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Selim   July 12, 2012, 1:49 a.m.

    I agree Selim- an eportfolio would certainly help teachers demonstrate their  competency over the years. Hope your return to teaching has been smooth. I guess you will be seeing some changes in your area. Have you noticed major  changes in the use of technology?

  • Selim   July 12, 2012, 1:05 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 2:33 a.m.

    Hi Liz


    It's funny you mention that - I remember when I first taught the AP that was mentoring me told me that using Powerpoint for lessons is a terrible idea and that students do not learn thru that medium.  Suffice to say that kind of thinking doesn't appear to be fashionable anymore.  

    The technology has changed dramatically - no smart boards when I first taught, wireless internet was not available throughout the school, and there was no meaningful way for teachers to collaborate online.  

    Sadly another thing that I have seen change, and maybe this is predominately in nyc, is the amount of blame teachers receive for student performance.  It is disheartening to see that teachers are attacked regularly in the news and that it seems like the entire outside world believes that teachers are lazy people who simply lounge around doing the minimum while students fall behind.  The fact that we are doing this over the summer shows just how committed many of us are to empowering students with great opportunities.

  • karen   July 12, 2012, 6:10 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Selim   July 12, 2012, 1:05 p.m.

    Teacher bashing is prevalent all over the U.S. It is very sad. What are ways we can fight back against this?

  • Jason Dillon   July 11, 2012, 6:32 p.m.


    My name is Jason Dillon.  I have worked as a special education teacher, a middle school English teacher, and most recently as a secondary school principal.  I have worked in independent schools in: Sonoma County, California; Beijing, China; Caracas, Venezuela; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    While I am interested in putting together my own personal e-portfolio, I also want to explore the potential for the e-portfolio to serve as a pivot point in professional dialogue amongst teachers and between teachers and administration.

    I look forward to our ongoing discussion.

    Best regards,


  • Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 2:40 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Jason Dillon   July 11, 2012, 6:32 p.m.

    Im interested in your point about wanting e portfolios to serve as a pivot point in professional dialogue between teachers and administration. I have been involved in many teacher appraisals that were just 'events' in a teachers professional life. Teachers have spent a whole lot of time producing documents, and preparing excellent lessons but very limited time is spent in any sort of professional dialogue or deeper questioning about their practices and experiences. I think that challenge is how do we ensure e portfolios are dynamic and active 'documents'?  What are your thoughts?


  • umbkwormbandit   July 9, 2012, 11:34 p.m.


    My name is Monica Russell and I work for a corporate healthcare university.  I have been in healthcare education for 20+ years and am currently enrolled in an online master's program for distance education so that I can learn more about the foundational aspects of where we are from an education/technology perspective.  I am really interested in sharing resources, open source learning and creating my own courses for teens.  I also have an ePortfolio project due at the end of my online degree program and I am looking forward to participating in this class and learning about ePortfolios and getting the perspectives of people from different places with different interests and experience.

    Best regards,


  • Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 2:42 a.m.
    In Reply To:   umbkwormbandit   July 9, 2012, 11:34 p.m.

    I'm not familiar with the concept of a corporate healthcare university- could you send me a link so I can do some background reading please. I find I learn so much about education and training around the world from P2pU.... much more than the course focus! which is really great and widens my world view... I love your avatar .....

  • Sue K   July 9, 2012, 9:01 p.m.


    My name is Sue King. I have spent 25 years in public education - first as a teacher and the last 11 years as a middle school principal. I am currently between jobs - looking for a new opportunity that will allow me to contribute meaningfully to K - 12 education.

    My interest in ePortfolios is multi-faceted. I would like to explore the potential for using a digital portfolio for personal reflection and growth and learn how to use various tools in the creation of that portfolio (that is an area in which I feel I have a great deal to learn). From what I have seen, a digital portfolio can be an excellent tool for professsionals to document and then reflect upon their professional practice and even seek critique from others. I also would like to use an ePortfolio - or a portion of it - to make my professional experiences, skills, and competencies "come alive;" to give some life to my resume. 

    Secondly, I would like to explore the potential of ePortfolios to be used as a way for all educators to document their professional development and growth as part of their 'evaluations.' Rather than focusing so much of accountability on student achievement as measured by students' scores on high stakes assessments, I would love to see teachers and other educators being able to use ePortfolios as a way to highlight different aspects of their practice, including evidence of student learning in very rich and meaningful ways. 

    Finally, I am eager to participate in this type of learning experience. It is new for me! I am sure I will learn a great deal and hope the group will help keep me focused and 'on task!' I think the diversity of the group is fabulous and will provide a rich learning environment. 

  • Liz Renshaw   July 10, 2012, 3:12 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Sue K   July 9, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

    Hello Sue


    In regard to your last comment. I have found p2pu to be the best learning experience I have ever done. I've done lots of formal and informal study but the level of participation in these courses is amazing. The diversity of the groups experience really has added a very rich thread to my learning and keeps me coming back for more. Enjoy!

  • Beca   July 9, 2012, 2:59 p.m.


    My name is Beca and I teach high school chemistry & physics.  I'm interested in learning both about creating/enchancing my own digital teaching portfolio, as well as using eportfolios in the classroom.  I will have a class of 13 seniors this coming school year in physics and I plan on having them keep a digital portfolio with a reflection component as part of their assessment.
    I'm looking forward to getting to know the group and sharing ideas.
    BTW: I'm among those in the midwest who have been without power/water/phone for 11 days now, and counting... so I may not be able to participate as fully in the first sessions.  I had PD today at school so I'm checking in; hopefully things will be back to normal very soon so I can jump into the discussions.
  • Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 2:44 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Beca   July 9, 2012, 2:59 p.m.

    Hello Beca- im in Australia and havent seen any news items about the Midwest having no power etc etc for 11 days.. that is absolutely awful. How on earth did you all manage? Hope things are restored now....

  • Ms Renee Science   July 9, 2012, 9:56 a.m.


    Rosie the Robot


    My name is Renee Henderson. I am an Instructional Technology Specialist for a large suburban school district in Maryland. I work in the office the provides technology training for the entire district. I am also an adjunct professor at a local University.

    Sometime I feel like Rosie the robot from the Jetsons. Rosie, the maid robot was (and is) a sweet, caring robot.  She added charm to the cartoon that complimented the other characters.  Rosie had a mothering quality and was always trying to make things better for everyone around her.  That sort of describes me.

    I want to participate in this group to gather more information for my undergrad students and to share what I know about e-portfolos.  I think that's what open courses are about , sharing and gettiing.  PLNs are so important to me  and I am always looking for ways to extend my network of awesome educators willing to grow and learning togther.

  • Joe Dillon   July 8, 2012, 9:33 p.m.
  • evan williams   July 8, 2012, 7:44 p.m.


    My name is evan. I'm heading into my 9th year of teaching. I'm a journalism teacher, but I'll be adding digital video production to my list of classes this year. I'm a bit nervous. Since documentation is becoming such a thing, I thought learning ePortfolios would be good to learn about. 

  • Liz Renshaw   July 10, 2012, 3:17 a.m.
    In Reply To:   evan williams   July 8, 2012, 7:44 p.m.

    I love your image. I've been pondering the very strong presence of journalism teachers or people with journalism backgrounds involved in P2Pu.. Do lots of people train in journalism at uni and then go into teaching/? Does the American education curriculum have a focus on journalism? Where is journalism taught in the US? is it like a higher education course ? Just a few ponders ?

  • evan williams   July 11, 2012, 6:36 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 10, 2012, 3:17 a.m.

    In my experience, students who realized they didn't really want to go INTO the field of journalism as a profession, but still love it, switched to journalism education. In my class, the journalism education majors was a REALLY small group. A lot of journalism teachers will back up their ed. degree with English or a foreign language certification, too. 

    There are a lot of American high schools that have student-produced newspapers and the yearbooks that come out at the end of the year are also student-produced. If it's a bigger high school, they will also have curriculum for radio and TV, too. Morning announcements are, then, produced by students like a news program. 

    Student newspapers usually come out every three weeks. They sell advertising space to local businesses to pay for the paper (there is rarely funding from the school district for the paper, so it's a self-financed product). High schools with decent programs are also moving to create online newspapers by posting updated stories, photos and videos of the daily goings-on at the school. 

    Journalism can be found at many high schools, and there are schools around the country that have journalism programs in the middle school/junior high level. 

    Oddly enough, I am a full-time journalism teacher at the middle school level. I teach sixth, seventh and eighth grade students (from 11-14 in age range). We produce a student newspaper twice every 9 weeks and the yearbook my kids produce has actually won awards from a nearby university. It's also been featured in print and online by my yearbook publisher. 

  • Liz Renshaw   July 12, 2012, 2:52 a.m.
    In Reply To:   evan williams   July 11, 2012, 6:36 p.m.

    Most interesting thanks, US has a much strong history of student produced media that we have in Australia. Yes, I knew about the yearbooks as they are often used in US crime shows! In Australian high school we dont have specialist journalist teachers - it falls to the English teachers to do an additional activities such as newspapers . I love the idea that it is part of your curriculum and not an incidental or perpherial activity. Online newspapers.... selling space to advertises brilliant- talk about authentic literacy activities ....... smiley

  • Anonym   July 8, 2012, 3:28 p.m.

    Hi Everyone:

    I am a Sp. Ed. teacher in NYC(21 years). I am always on the lookout for interesting Professional Development. This course looks like one that is going to be not only interesting but truly useful.

    I not only want to learn about E-Portfolios in a professional setting but to utilize them in student work.


    See ya all soon in V-E learning all about E-P.

  • karen   July 7, 2012, 1:23 p.m.

    Hi, I'm Karen. Looking forward to this group!

  • Liz Renshaw   July 7, 2012, 3:38 a.m.

    So in trying to push some boundaries on the way I usually introduce myself, and certainly inspired by the efforts of others in P2PU gigs I've had a look at Readwritethink. I wont give up my day job quite yet.! I'm one of the organisers of this course and I'm really looking forward to some great discussions. It's great to see such wonderful enthusiasm with lots of input before the 'official kick off time.'. Im in Australia and Im really enjoying learning about some corners of the US formal and informal learning scene. 

  • Anonym   July 8, 2012, 3:32 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 7, 2012, 3:38 a.m.

    Just to add a thought here:


    I have used this particular R-W app in first grade an up to have students develop their writing skills. The kids love this particular one aswell as a Garfield cartoon maker that is also out their in V-E.



  • Leah MacVie   July 6, 2012, 10:35 p.m.

    Hi all, this is Leah. I think I already did an intro, so forgive me me for doing it again- I don't see it! I know Liz and she rocks. I am also interested in eportfolios in classes- but primarily this group may help me learn a little more about their best practices, which I can then pass on to my faculty. :)

  • Janet Ilko   July 4, 2012, 12:19 a.m.


    My name is Janet Ilko and I teach in El Cajon, California in the United States. I teach middle school students in grades 7 and 8. My passion is teaching students that the written word is powerful and they have stories to share. I have two distinct groups of students 3 classes of students who are long term English Learners ( been in the country for over 5 years but still struggling with academic writing) and two classes of AVID students (Advancement Via Individual Determination) an academic and leadership class. I am looking to use eportfolios for the first time with my students and I am so excited to be part of such an experienced and dynamic group. The first two weeks of this class I will also be teaching a digital writing camp called Writing for Change as part of the National Writing Project and the San DIego Area Writing Project. Each student will be creating a portfolio and hosting a blog. I am not sure how it will all go, but we are willing to share our journey and would love suggestions and feedback.

    Can't wait to begin this project with everyone, hope I have things to share in addtion to my enthusiasm and desire to learn.


  • mtillson   July 3, 2012, 7:01 p.m.


    I teach Ceramics, Multimedia and Computer Applications.  I am interested in using a portfolio as a resource area for my students in addition to having students create portfolios.  I look forward to conversation that may open up ideas I had not thought about.

  • MissionV   June 18, 2012, 5:41 a.m.

    Hi, we run a Virtual Worlds programme for Game-based Learning in Irish schools. We were supported by the Department of Education in 2011, through the National Centre for Technology in Education, to run a pilot project in 20 primary schools across the country.

    Recently we've been in discussion with the National Centre for Excellence in Maths & Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MTSL) about using our platform to support e-Portfolios for second-level projects and thus our interst in this course.

  • Liz Renshaw   July 10, 2012, 3:19 a.m.
    In Reply To:   MissionV   June 18, 2012, 5:41 a.m.

    I do hope we get a chance to hear about how you would envisage using 'your platform' for e portfolios.. Certainly sounds very innovative.... Would it be something like Mahara?