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Howard Tinberg

Holly, your posting reminded me of something I contemplated last semester as I asked students to prepare visual representations of research (drawing upon our reading in "visual literacy"). Is it worthwhile to encourage students in their written products to include evidence of that visual literacy: in other words should we encourage students to embed charts, graphs, photos in their writing? Then I wondered how other faculty (the faculty, specifically, who would read my students' portfolios as required in our department's portfolio assessment)would react to "reading" mixed media compositions. Was I setting up my students, in other words, for disappointment if those faculty weren't, as it were, on the same page?

Holly

Howard, I'm really curious about this idea of "visual representations of research." (Maybe you would be willing to write a post about it?) What sorts of things did students come up with, and how did they integrate the visual with the verbal?

The anticipated/potential difficulties of using such an assignment in our portfolio assessment setting seems to me a different (and equally interesting) question.

I'm planning a research assignment that works (I think) in the reverse direction, adapting the method (i.e., copying) Harper's Annotations section by having students select a visual document to use as a prompt for research. More details of that forthcoming, I hope...

Howard Tinberg

Well, we were at a very basic stage: I asked students to write a somewhat traditional research-based paper but then to produce a visually-based version of the work, either through a conventional poster or through a web page (via Carnegie's keeptoolkit). What I'm thinking about doing is having students either compose a digitally enhanced research paper with visual evidence and hypertext or a out and out web page, with proper attention paid to compelling design. To ease matters, I've decided to part ways with the paper portfolio assessment group, since I'm now moving on to having students produce e-portfolios.

Holly

I love the idea of e-portfolios. (I've read a little by Kathleen Blake Yancey on reflective opportunities they provide.) I'm sorry, though, that you don't think portfolio assessment group is open to broadening their view. Would you make use of the pubic nature of electronic media to encourage an audience for these portfolios outside the classroom (either college-wide or beyond)? I do worry a bit about the the lack of tech experience of some of our students (I just spent time in class going over yet again how to attach files to email messges), and I wonder whether a shift to e-portfolios would unfairly handicap some of those tech-novices.

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