Create. Share. Engage.

Amy Cicchino, Megan Mize, Sarah Zurhellen: Visibility of labour

February 15, 2023 Mahara Project Season 1 Episode 12
Create. Share. Engage.
Amy Cicchino, Megan Mize, Sarah Zurhellen: Visibility of labour
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Dr Sarah Zurhellen (Appalachian State University), Dr Megan Mize (Old Dominion University), and Dr Amy Cicchino (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) talk digital ethics in portfolio practice. The main focus is on the AAEEBL Digital Ethics in ePortfolios Principle 'Visibility of Labor', and how that impacts educators and students alike.

This is the first episode with members of the Digital Ethics Task Force.  The next one will look at the principle of 'Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Decolonization' (DEIBD) with Dr Christine Slade and Dr Kevin Kelly.

Click through to the episode page for the transcript.

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Note: Interviewees are not affiliated with the Mahara community. They use different technologies.

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Production information
Production: Catalyst IT
Host: Kristina Hoeppner
Artwork: Evonne Cheung
Music: The Mahara tune by Josh Woodward

Kristina Hoeppner 00:05

Welcome to 'Create. Share. Engage.' This is the podcast about portfolios for learning and more for educators, learning designers, and managers keen on integrating portfolios with their education and professional development practices. 'Create. Share. Engage.' is brought to you by the Mahara team at Catalyst IT. My name is Kristina Hoeppner. 

Today I'm speaking with three awesome women from the United States whom I have known and worked with on the AAEEBL Digital Ethics Task Force for the past three years and a bit. Let's go south to north with our introductions. Dr Amy Cicchino is the Associate Director for the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She was one of our first two co-chairs of the task force. Amy, how did you get interested in portfolios?

Amy Cicchino 01:03

I actually first encountered ePortfolios as a student, as a graduate student at Florida State University. They were very productive for me. I think I was a typical first gen(eration) student. I wanted to get through everything very quickly all the time. So I appreciated that ePortfolios prompted me as a learner to slow down and make connections. We hear a lot about folio thinking, and I really experienced that first hand as a student before I got into using ePortfolios in my classroom and as an administrator.

Kristina Hoeppner 01:36

Thank you, Amy. It's great to see that you've continued that practice from being a student and carried that into your professional life. Next up on our tour across the United States going north is Dr Sarah Zurhellen who is the Assistant Director of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program and a Professional Consultant in the University Writing Center at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Sarah, for how long have you already been working in the ePortfolio space?

Sarah Zurhellen 02:08

I think since 2014. I started as an adjunct. I was finishing my doctorate and I was adjuncting in the rhetoric and composition programme at App State. They were starting an ePortfolio initiative. So they had done portfolios traditionally before, were moving into the ePortfolio space, and I had some background in web design and was just really comfortable playing with technology.

I started using them in the classroom, but then I also became faculty support for them pretty immediately and introducing faculty to ePortfolios and they were, you know, used to folio thinking from a text based way. So it was really just moving into thinking about how to connect across and reflect on texts in different ways that are allowed and ePortfolios.

Kristina Hoeppner 02:49

Last but not least, Dr Megan Mize is the Director for ePortfolios and Digital Initiatives in the Academic Success Center at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and is also an Elizabethan scholar. Megan, how did you transition into the digital space and now work with portfolios?

Megan Mize 03:07

Yeah, absolutely. I recognise I had a very strange career path. So when I started as a graduate student in the doctoral programme, I was very much centred on historical rhetorics and looking at 16th century in particular, but I was also a teacher in our English department, and I kind of developed a reputation for being willing to play with digital tools. So I would have my students engage in things like transcription marathons that The Folger (Shakespeare Library in Washington. D.C.) would host, being willing to try different media to teach in different ways.

So when our university had a Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a WAC/WID initiative, so Writing Across the Disciplines and Writing in the Disciplines, that really emphasised reflection, they wanted a graduate assistant who would think about how to integrate ePortfolios into teaching. So I got tapped for that. I thought that was a pretty exciting opportunity because it was right when I became a candidate.

So I took the opportunity to do portfolio work archiving my experience with the dissertation, and similar to Amy, it really let me think about how much work I had done, take credit for that work, reflect on things I needed to do differently. Then it actually became something I could give other students I mentored later in my career to be like, 'Well, this is what it looked like for me,' and it was sloppy, and it was painful, and it was, you know, productive, and I think that's really been helpful. Then I got pulled up to the university level, and frankly, I love the programmes and helping faculty think about media and teaching. So you know, you can lift that out of a disciplinary background. 

Kristina Hoeppner 04:34

Since you've worked so much in the media, Megan, is that then also where your interest in digital ethics stems from?

Megan Mize 04:40

Absolutely [laughs]. You know, and I will recognise that when you're really coming from kind of literary, cultural studies, rhetorical studies, sometimes you are maybe not best trained to think about ethical issues in teaching and so as I started really focusing on materials that potentially had students producing content that was public acing, that was so identity centric, and all of that, and drawing on rhetoric and composition, I started to realise that there are assumptions being made here that have not necessarily been investigated by my peers or even upper administration in their rush to do the fun, cool, fancy thing that's harnessing the new media and in working with digital humanities colleagues, so yes, absolutely informed that decision because I recognised there was a risk of harm, and that is not effective pedagogy. 

And so people would ask me questions I didn't have the answers to and would have to discover on my own, which is really where I started seeking out support from AAEEBL to see if other institutions have grappled with some of these really gnarly problems and figuring out what are practical solutions without losing the value of a portfolio's practice. 

Kristina Hoeppner 05:45

Yeah. Amy, you were amongst the founding forces, as far as I can remember it from the conference in the Bronx, behind the task force being formed in 2019 and also served as one of the first two co-chairs besides Megan Haskins when both of you were the Auburn University. Why did you set up the task force and then also joined it?

Amy Cicchino 06:06

I blame the wonderful [laughs] AAEEBL leadership the wonderful people at Auburn University. So Helen Chen and Tracy Penny Light had talked with the WAC Director at Auburn at the time, Margaret Marshall, about the need to just support more explicitly conversations about digital ethics. I'd just joined the Auburn team, and so I was attending AAEEBL for the first time. Helen and I had a conversation.

I think in a really wonderful way of leadership talking to Helen gets you excited about a particular topic. It quickly becomes 'Well, what should we do about this?' So we kind of took hold of the moment and just said, 'Well, if we were to host a more explicit, intentional investigation of digital ethics, who here would want to be involved?' And I think that's really where the first version of the task force emerged. I think it's just sustained some really wonderful momentum under its current leadership from there.

Kristina Hoeppner 07:08

Sarah has also been a member from the start. Sarah, why did you join the task force?

Sarah Zurhellen 07:16

I loved the idea [laughs]. I have been teaching online since 2007. That's a long time to interact with a bunch of different educational technologies. And so by the time I was sort of doing ePortfolios here in the space that I was doing it, I was finding a real disconnect between what I saw as the need to protect our students and the flashy technologies that some faculty really wanted to use and that weren't doing that. So I was just really concerned, but I felt like I lacked the language to talk to people about that in a way that didn't sound either dismissive of their needs or punitive in some way.

And so when the chance came, I literally saw the email, right? And I thought, 'Oh, my God, this is perfect. These are exactly the conversations I've been trying to figure out how to have.' So for me, it was a huge learning opportunity. The first year of the task force, I emailed Amy, I remember emailing Amy and saying, 'I don't really feel like I've contributed much. I feel like I'm just kind of hanging out and like learning a lot.' And she wrote back and was like, 'That's great. That's what we're here for, you know, just participate as you can.' It was a great learning opportunity for me.

kristina Hoeppner07:16

One of the areas that I think all three of you are particularly interested in from what you've already told us and what we've been discussing on the task force is the area of visibility of labour and care work that we've explored in the second year of the task force when that actually became a principle. Can one of you provide a bit of background on this principle and why it is so important to you?

Megan Mize 08:47

Yes, I think that - and certainly Sarah can weigh in because she's done some excellent research on this, but I think that due to the position that a number of us occupy within our institutions, which are often roles that are kind of ambiguous, they have expertise, but because they're often teaching centred, they're not valued as much as like research, and yet, we're seeing all these movements about wellbeing and care and student centred pedagogies and innovation. There's a lot of labour there that gets done in order to implement a High Impact Practice successfully and help a student succeed academically. 

I think especially in the wake of the pandemic, we're seeing such high reports of burnout, empathy and compassion fatigue, fatigue from being flexible and adaptable. You know, I often think about what would a student centred institution really look like? It probably would be that the highest paid folks would be the ones really engaging in new pedagogies and mentorship and care work, and yet that is not where the money is at. Its research, right, often? And I also think just from a tutoring angle, we're so frequently dealing with students who have anxiety, shame, frustration, anger, risking, you know, exposing the lack of knowing certain things.

We kind of brought that like all of us are starting to share all the extra work that we do in order to make portfolio practice really function. It's not just technology, it's not just composition, and then it was like 'What would that look like if we tried to help make people, make that visible?' And I think really all you have to do to recognise this not just us is look at the rise of unions and recent labour strikes to recognise this is something that higher ed is really grappling with throughout the U.S., certainly, and I think elsewhere. Thus we wanted a principle to address that and not just point at it, but try to resolve it or try to help people deal with that burden, you know.

Kristina Hoeppner 10:30

Sarah and Megan, you've facilitated a couple of webinars. One was run more with the North American crowd and the second one more with the Australian crowd, and of course, it's now already been a little while since we've had those webinars. Did anything, Sarah, stick in your mind from what you had heard in the conversations or also what you had seen while researching the principles that you felt needs to be addressed within the portfolio community in order to further that conversation, and then, of course, also inform the research survey to which we are coming?

Sarah Zurhellen 11:08

Yeah, I think actually quite a bit. I think a lot about the principles as a form of advocacy work. And to me, the 'Visibility of Labor' principle is really important in that sense that it is literally bringing visibility to something that people tend not to think about. And so through both of those workshops, I think we had really interesting conversations about how people view the type of work that they do as not seen or recognised by their institutions. In the U.S., we talk about the sort of 'adjunctification' of higher ed and this move toward non tenure track and adjunct labour. I think in the Australian and New Zealand context, Christine's referred to it before as 'casualisation,' and so the more people are put in these positions where they're asked to do more work for less compensation, and that is compensation and all types of forms. And that was one of the things that came out of those conversations from both sides of the world, right [laughs]? That it doesn't necessarily matter what position you're situated in, whether that might be administrative staff or faculty; more and more, you're asked to add on to the labour of what you're doing, not either compensated in additional money or not compensated in time off or not recognised by your institution as that actually being work that you're doing.

And so one of the things that we tried to do in those workshops was start generating strategies that can be useful across contexts. Some of them started out in really simple ways, like sharing ideas for documenting time spent answering emails in support of a particular initiative, like an ePortfolio initiative, the amount of time spent talking to colleagues about digital ethics and why it might matter that their students' identities are protected in certain spaces, and things that just kind of get taken for granted.

The other kind of thing that crossed those boundaries was the emotional side or the actual care work of it, right, the need to modulate your responses [chuckles], right, when people say things that you know are wrong, or potentially, like Megan mentioned earlier, harmful, and finding ways to like navigate those spaces that are rhetorically productive and not negative. That was kind of my initial interest was that I found the work to be really challenging in that way and my own experience, and so I was curious what others' experiences had been and sort of turned to like the feminist history of care work and emotional labour as a way to kind of figure out what was happening in my workplace [laughs].

Kristina Hoeppner 13:27

What I also find fascinating was when we discussed how to set up the principles and create strategies and scenarios, we wanted to make sure that we didn't just look at one particular group of people. So say, just develop strategies for educators or for administrators, but also always look at, 'Well, if we are having this principle, what does that mean for an educator, but also, what does that mean for a student, and also, what does that mean for platform providers?' In particular, for the visibility of labour, I think it's fairly easy to see how that would affect an educator because they are doing the work of creating the activities, needing to learn about that. But how do you see that also, on the side of the students, for example, how do you bring that visibility of labour in?

Sarah Zurhellen 14:14

I do a lot of professional development work with faculty. I mean, a very kind of straightforward way is that I am very clear that ePortfolio pedagogy means integrating the ePortfolio into the class. That means starting early and using it throughout the course and kind of ties into one of our other principles, 'Practice,' but the expectation that it is a form of learning for students and that they need time to invest in that. So thinking about the kind of cognitive work that they are engaging in and giving them the time and space to do that and also recognising the support they give each other.

So we do a lot of peer review in my classes and in the classes that I try to help other faculty construct and think about. I use faculty as examples, right? So think about all the things that you do. Peer review is often not recognised [laughs] in faculty's tenure file, and so I say, you know, 'Think about ways that you can reward your students and recognise the labour that they're putting in for something like peer review, and that kind of work.' So that's a kind of straightforward example, I think, of what I try to do in my own work.

Megan Mize 15:13

We've also done kind of speak aloud protocols with both students and faculty while they're producing ePortfolios and then having them read through each other's like every time they had to stop and find that artefact, mark it. Every time you couldn't find an artefact, how long did it take you to find that, you know? How long did it spend to reflect or what was hard about it? Sometimes we've intentionally targeted folks, particularly faculty who might dash off an assignment that says, 'Go build an ePortfolio,' and it's like, 'What did you just ask them to do? What steps are involved in that? And what assumptions have you made about what your students know?' and then having them watch their students in real time, you know? Just like we've done small scope project portfolios, like build a page, and then they'll go through and just watching that a single page would have them do like 50 manoeuvres and spend X amount of time was very eye opening to them. It's like, 'So if you tell them in week 14 of a 15-week semester, go build an ePortfolio, what did you just say to them? Now, that's why you're going to get less than ideal portfolios that are not high impact. They're just websites or they're just folders. But if you're scaffolding throughout, and you're giving it formative feedback, now you're doing social pedagogies. Now you're building community, and now it has real potential meaning to had. It means something to them beyond just checking a box and handing you a kind of goofy looking website, you know?' Those were very valuable.

Amy Cicchino 16:32

So I think what Megan and Sarah are getting at to kind of tie it in a nice bow is that while an ePortfolio is a product, it's actually a really rigorous process, too. Students aren't just dealing with technology and the technical skills. They're doing a lot of really hard thinking work, too, about who they are, about how to tell their stories. And so we need to make sure that as we're assessing ePortfolios or as we're asking them to create these artefacts with community service or internship experiences that we're actually taking time to recognise fully the social and the emotional and the time based labour that they're engaging with. And I think that's really what the principal gets at, too, from the students' side.

Kristina Hoeppner 17:17

Amy, you mentioned earlier in your introduction that you've been using portfolios as a student, you've created them as a student yourself, then you have supported students and faculty at Auburn, and now at your new university. Do you see any differences or any evolution where you can maybe even pinpoint that the labour that is being put in by the faculty or by students is being more appreciated or what you can do in order to help people see it more?

Amy Cicchino 17:48

I think, that valuing and making visible labour is as much about the systems we exist within as it is about the choices that we make as educators or students. And so I certainly see educators who want to do good work and want to support their students and do everything within their context that they can to recognise student labour through creating smart syllabi, creating smart evaluation tools. I see students who want to do wonderful work as they build ePortfolios, and they do everything they can to tell their professional stories and document their process. 

What I think though needs to happen is a larger systemic change. At some institutions, that change is happening with funding and resources and recognition, and at other institutions it's not. So to a point that Megan raised earlier, I hope what we've learned from the pandemic is that we are no longer interested in doing invisible labour to support a system; that the system needs to meet us halfway. I think, if you want to know if ePortfolio work is valued at your institution, look to the systemic resources that are given to those efforts.

Kristina Hoeppner 18:57

That also takes me to the next question because you've been talking anecdotally about your own experiences and what you've discovered while researching the principle itself, but of course, that doesn't really give us an overview of the entire field of ePortfolios. In order to survey the field, you've created a research project in order to capture these voices and also to bring in all the opinions of people how they are seeing their jobs. Can, Megan, you as one of the principal investigators of the survey, give us a little bit of information on it?

Megan Mize 19:35

Oh, absolutely. So as you said, you know, we've recognised that when we're speaking in our specialised communities together and sharing these kinds of anecdotal stories, they're helpful but they're not a movement, right? And sometimes you really have to as much as it pains me as a humanities folks, sometimes you have to quantify, you know? You have to cast a broad net and see how much of this is a trend? How much of it is just really my institution or my local context?

We were really inspired by previous work. So we would like to acknowledge the international WAC/WID Mapping Project and the National Consensus of Writing Research in which they did similar moves within the field of writing, you know, related to professionals who are often expected to take on a lot of labour, similar to our own. We were thinking about how those kinds of research efforts started changing the conversation about how they're compensated, you know? No longer is that work necessarily a tag on to someone's work. So it's now a dedicated role in many institutions to be the Writing Programme Administrator or the Writing Centre Director instead of service. And also, how might you prepare graduate students to move into these roles that are evolving in higher ed?

So we created this project about ePortfolio labour to figure out what is it that someone who is going to work with portfolios going to do? I mean, not just those of us in dedicated roles, but what do we ask when faculty are the 'go to guy' for portfolio support in the department? Or what are we really asking when we ask of our admin to be ePortfolio advocates? What kind of work is involved in that? And the same with students. We have graduate students who are responding because they do support or tutoring. So we wanted to get a much wider map of the field.

As a field, you need to argue that there are clear discursive practices and expectations that you can train people to support and prepare them to engage with ethically, and then also to turn around and give back the community hopefully a report that they can use within their local contexts to argue that for instance, if I'm at a four-year institution with a comparable population of students, this report shows me that people there typically have, I don't know, a dedicated staff member and a small tutoring team, and we need that here if we're going to successfully implement... So they'll have that. Because right now all that information is not really accessible unless you just happen to know someone at another institution who's doing that work. So trying to get it out of those kind of personal conversations and more into something that's established. And then we hope to do it longitudinally and keep tracking this, you know, over the years to see how does this change? How does this work get promoted or valued and supported well?

Kristina Hoeppner 22:08

Sandra, can anybody participate in the survey?

Sarah Zurhellen 22:11

Anyone in the North American context [laughs]. To Megan's point earlier, we are hoping that this will be iterative and move into new contexts. So one of the things that we learned very, as all of you know, very early on in the task force is that there's a lot of language shifts even within the English language among different contexts globally. And so we recognise when we were creating the survey that it was really important that we consider that and so right now we're focusing on the North American context.

Christine, who's another member of our task force is doing our first run through of like, where the language might be sort of weird, in an Australian, New Zealand context. And so this one, we sort of jumped off at the AAEEBL Annual Meeting over the summer (2022), our summer [laughs], and then we're hoping to do the next one at the next AAEEBL meeting, and then potentially one for Europe in the future.

Kristina Hoeppner 22:59

That's I find the nice thing about the task force: being able to chat with all of you on a regular basis is that of course, we all come from different contexts, bring our own experiences, and can therefore surface things like language differences, cultural differences. And for the longest part the task force had members are in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and now this year for the first time, we also have a participant from the Philippines, which will give us yet again different insight and make us more aware of what is happening in his space. 

Now kind of a bit more personal question for your own practices because we've been talking about the task force and of course, they were informed a lot by your own practices and experiences. But do you want to share each of you maybe one strategy that you use in your own portfolio practice and where you see challenges, and that doesn't necessarily just have to be in regards to the visibility of labour or care work or when you're creating your own portfolio, but could also be when you're supporting faculty, students, or administrators. Amy, do you want to get started?

Amy Cicchino 24:12

Sure. I think the practice I want to highlight relates to sustainability and issues regarding time. I switched institutions over the summer, and so I'm teaching at a new institutional context. All of our students are really aerospace focused. And so they're taking 18 credit hours, some of them are working, and they're also trying to get in flight hours. So I realised this semester, by surveying them, they told me, that time is the biggest barrier to their learning, and I can empathise with that because as a year round administrator time is also something that I struggle with. We've been taking time to work together in class. I think that at first I was very nervous that we would lose something if I gave them that work time, and we haven't. It's been great. It's been productive.

My tip is to think about what will sustain you as you create your portfolio and what will sustain your students as they work towards those larger goals. And to not be afraid to prioritise that sustainability in your class time.

Megan Mize 25:15

I'm going to interpret that in terms that, your question about practice, and think about how folks who are starting new initiatives at other institutions often asked me, 'How do you operate? How do you get people to buy in?' and I think this intersects with our labour discussion and care work because certainly here at ODU, we actually start with faculty development and talk about teaching and learning issues and how the portfolio practice is about resolving learning obstacles instead of the technology.

But more to the point that everyone that I work with, externally, I always say 'You really have to focus on kind of relational power, right, on soft power, on building networks, and amplifying one another.' It's hard at ODU because there's 1,900 faculty, and there's always a ton of turnover [laughs]. And you know, and there's just me. But I absolutely work really hard to listen very carefully to folks individually, like we'll do the big workshops, and I always meet with individuals afterwards. And one thing I stress to them is 'Once you start working with portfolios, you're no longer alone, you know? You have me, you have my team, and we will always support and you can tap this at any point in the year.' And that has huge dividends because I think a lot of faculty and students are really nervous to try new things because they'll feel unsupported. I really, really strive to amplify those folks that I think are advocates, are out there doing the work, who are out there lifting students and each other up.

You will find that all the theory is helpful, all the practice is helpful, but you cannot ignore the human element, and it makes sense because portfolio work is human centred. So the support must also really focus on the person doing that effort. But it's hard to scale up [laughs]. It's definitely sometimes very rough, especially during a pandemic, when suddenly everyone was thinking about digital pedagogy and they're knocking on your door.

Sarah Zurhellen 26:55

Maybe I address this by talking about faculty development, and I'm trying to think about the best way to sort of situate where I'm coming from. But my background is in digital humanities work. I transitioned from studying sort of the history of digital computing and how it impacted fiction in the 20th century to thinking about how our relationship to technology impacts writing across different disciplines, and that's sort of how I ended up in the role that I'm in. Because of that, I'm really committed to the idea of modeling, of working alongside students, and I have a relationship to digital spaces that is maybe a little bit different than a lot of people who do ePortfolio work.

So I don't have a public ePortfolio or website. I don't have much of a digital presence or footprint. I also have a weird name. So I feel like I'm very searchable and findable in a way that a lot of people with more generic names are not. I've always just had this paranoia about my sort of online presence. That has informed a lot of the way I work with students, and then the way that I work with faculty.

One of the things that I always ask faculty to do is to do the work alongside their students. I think this speaks a little bit to what each of you are saying in different contexts in terms of both the time and recognising if you're going to give students an assignment, like actually identifying and knowing how much time that might take them, both the technology side and the thinking through the ideas side, but also if you're going to ask them to put themselves out in the world in some way that it doesn't go beyond what you yourself would be comfortable doing in the same context. That's something that I do across - not just in ePortfolio work, but in everything. I think showing students how we do research and how we work is a really important thing to do because it demystifies so much for them in the process.

Kristina Hoeppner 28:41

Before we end, I have three quick questions for each of you so that we can increase our corpus of words that the community uses to describe portfolio work, and while you've already shared some tips, I'll see if we can get some more tips out of you for learning designers and also portfolio authors. First quick question: which words do you use to describe portfolio work? Let's start with Megan.

Megan Mize 29:14

Just off the top of my head I would say 'creative,' 'personal,' and 'valuable.'

Kristina Hoeppner 29:19


Sarah Zurhellen 29:20

The two that immediately come to mind for me are 'reflection' and 'connection.'

Amy Cicchino 29:24

Mine are 'integrative' so I think that connects to connection, 'constructive,' and then 'hard work.'

Kristina Hoeppner 29:31

What tip do you have for learning designers or instructors who create portfolio activities?

Megan Mize 29:37

Start small, build over time. Keep the scope small when you begin. Attainable goals and then evolve it.

Sarah Zurhellen 29:45

Consider your student audience. Not all students all need to make the same portfolios or do the same portfolio activities.

Amy Cicchino 29:53

I think my tip would be not to overly focus on technology. The technology is important, the technology makes us really nervous. But I have found the technology is not often the hardest part for the student. It is the reflective work, and it is telling their story in a digital way and thinking critically about that. And so I would say don't get lost thinking too much about technology.

Megan Mize 30:17

I agree entirely with everything that's been said before, but also make it social. I mean, that's an element of a High Impact Practice. But that's really where the work comes in because they're communicating. So make sure they're talking to someone. It's the instructor, it's peers, it's employers, it can be a whole wide audience, I had a student who shared it with their grandmother, and they recorded her response and gave it back to me. I mean, I was like, 'Yes,' I mean, ePortfolios are social media. They are media meant to be consumed by audiences. So once they see that, they tend to import more value to them versus just when it's a grade.

Kristina Hoeppner 30:47

I take it that is already your advice for portfolio authors, Megan, or do you want to share yet another one? 

Megan Mize 30:53

Oh, portfolio authors. 'Look at examples.' That is the first thing I tell any student who comes to me, you know, whether they have an assignment, or they're just interested. I just give them a bevy of examples because there's so much you can do. There's an invitation to play and create here that can be intimidating, but if you look at a few and start pulling out what you like, what you find effective and maybe deciding what you don't find as effective that gives you a guiding light. So that's one of my very first pieces of advice: if you've never even really looked at a bunch or if you've only looked at one, you take a breather, look at other models, and start making lists about what stands out for you. And what's appropriate for you. 

Amy Cicchino 31:29

I would say don't feel like an ePortfolio has to define you forever. An affordance of digital texts is that they're changeable. You're not deciding who you are, end of sentence; you're deciding who you are in this moment. I would say embrace that flexibility. As someone who has taken on three very different professional roles, my portfolio has always changed [laughs].

Kristina Hoeppner 31:53

Sarah, do you have another tip for our audience?

Sarah Zurhellen 31:57

I think these kind of follow from what has already been said, but have fun. It can be a place to be playful, to discover things about yourself that you didn't recognise before. I think that that is of real value that I've seen happen repeatedly, particularly to students who are going through that experience of entering new discourse communities and kind of discovering where they want to situate themselves in the future. And I think that doing that playfully alleviates maybe some of that emotional labour in a different way. And also revise.

Kristina Hoeppner 32:26

Thank you so much, Amy, Megan, and Sarah for sharing your insights into parts of your personal professional portfolio journey and also your journey into digital ethics and particularly the visibility of labour, what you have learned along the way during your years on the task force, but also prior to them in your various organisations.

Now over to our listeners. What do you want to try in your own portfolio practice? This was 'Create. Share. Engage.' with Amy Cicchino, Megan Mize, and Sarah Zurhellen. Head to our website where you can find resources and the transcript for this episode. This podcast is produced by Catalyst IT, and I'm your host Kristina Hoeppner, Project Lead and Product Manager of the portfolio platform Mahara. Our next episode will air in two weeks. I hope you'll listen again and tell a colleague about our podcast so they can subscribe. Until then, create, share, and engage.

Digital Ethics Task Force origins
'Visibility of Labor' principle
Principle in action
ePortfolio Mapping Survey
Strategies for making labour visible
Q&A: 3 words to describe portfolio practice
Q&A: A tip for learning designers and educators
Q&A: A tip for portfolio authors