Using the CUBE to evaluate KEEP Toolkit

Warning:  This post is going to be (too?) long.

The product I’ll explore is KEEP Toolkit, an eportfolio tool developed through the Knowledge Media Lab (KML) at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Face 1: Market Focus

Their market is K-12 and Higher Education

“Carnegie is an institution whose thinking and actions are organized around teaching and those who teach, from preschool to graduate school (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/about/index.asp).

Face 2: Types of Offerings

KEEP Toolkit would fall under the category of infrastructure.

Their web page describes the product as follows:

The KEEP Toolkit is a set of web-based tools that help teachers, students and institutions quickly create compact and engaging knowledge representations on the Web. With the KEEP Toolkit you can:

· select and organize teaching and learning materials.

· prompt analysis and reflection by using templates.

· transform materials and reflections into visually appealing and intellectually engaging representations.

· share ideas for peer-review, assessment, and collective knowledge building.

· simplify the technical tasks and facilitate knowledge exchange and dissemination. (http://www.cfkeep.org/static/index.html)

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Rather than buyers, there are users. A university for example is able to install the software free of charge at its own institution and make it accessible to students and faculty from this installation.

Alternatively, anyone can create an eportfolio account that is hosted on Carnegie’s server.

Keep Toolkit stands for The Knowledge Exchange Exhibition and Presentation (KEEP) Toolkit and

is a set of open-source tools developed at the KML [and] is intended to provide an economical and accessible solution to this challenge. The KEEP Toolkit is available to educators and students at all levels as a free service from our website. We have also made the Toolkit available as an open source software application so that institutions, departments, and educational organizations can also implement and administer the Toolkit locally and integrate it into their local systems as needed. (http://www.cfkeep.org/static/about/about.html)

Recently, Keep Toolkit has been placed on the Sourceforge site, and a community to continue developing and sharing developments is being formed. http://sourceforge.net/projects/keeptoolkit/

Interestingly, two Carnegie initiatives will now focus on Higher Education and its need to prepare students for Political Engagement, as well examining how liberal education can give Business Majors a boost.

Face 4 – Global Markets

With this particular product, I would say that most of the users are from Wired Anglophone Countries.

Face 5 – Development of the Market

Market Supports Export Oriented Learning Technologies and Substitution of Imports

The market freely imports content and infrastructure. Local companies also produce similar products for export, as well as providing local services. In some cases, local products replace previously-imported products, either due to better localization of content, or because of a price advantage.

I’m not sure that I am clear on this aspect- my interpretation would be that Keep Toolkit is in a market that freely imports content and infrastructure. Where I work, ( University of Waterloo),  technology is supported centrally. However, because of the nature of higher education, individual instructors may have preferences for one tool over another. Students may decide to use another tool to create their eportfolio, or an instructor may decide to choose another tool. As we try to encourage and help students foster their ability to integrate their learning, it becomes a challenge to support a tool that will be all things to all users. At the same time, reliance on a number of different tools that aim to accomplish the same thing may make it more difficult for students to integrate their learning.

UW has recently chosen to comply with the Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLE’s) http://ocav.uwaterloo.ca/background/. This may make it more attractive to have an eportfolio system that supports administrative purposes of gathering data rather than a system that is more learner-centred.

At the same time, we want to support integration and life long learning. A system that integrates easily with the centrally supported LMS is very attractive. At the same, the ability for a student to have access to the eportfolio after graduation may not be possible using commercial software.

Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

“Fostering students abilities to integrate learning- across courses, over time, and between campus and community life- is one of the most important goals and challenges of higher education” (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/files/elibrary/integrativelearning/what-is-ILP.htm).

Depending upon how it is used, the eportfolio can be very learner centred. Students make connections that are meaningful to them. Although artifacts may come from individual courses, this is not necessarily the case. The eportfolio is a tool that helps students integrate their learning, helps them reflect on what they are learning, and how they are learning, and helps them plan for future actions based upon lessons learned in the past.

In my experience, in some instances, students have been able to choose the tool which best suits their purposes. In other instances, students have been required to use the tool that is centrally supported.

The IMS Global Learning Consortium describes different types and uses of eportfolios (IMS Global Learning Consortium, 2005). The tool that a certain institution chooses to support, or require its students to use will depend upon the way the eportfolio is being used, and what type of information the institution wants to glean from students’ eportfolios. Similarly, the tool that a student chooses to use to create an eportfolio may depend upon the main purpose. Does the student wish to use the eportfolio to showcase strengths to a prospective employer, or does she want to use the eportfolio to help track her development over time, set goals and plan for the future.

The Cube model may not be the best for evaluating initiatives that are open source and encourage a more collaborative and open form of development where all community members adapt tools for their own use, and share this freely with the rest of the community.

I had problems trying to analyse KEEP Toolkit using Faces 5-6. Perhaps there is another model that would work better.

References
IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (June 2005. IMS ePortfolio Best Practice and Implementation Guide. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www.imsglobal.org/ep/epv1p0/imsep_bestv1p0.html#1663759.

2 comments


1 David Vogt { 09.16.08 at 4:49 pm }

Yes, it’s hard to keep these analyses brief, and this blogging format doesn’t seem to support links and structures well, but we appreciate the effort for brevity.

In terms of “buyer” (Face 3) when the product is free you can think of this as “decision maker”. This is an institutional product, so the institution must still make the budget decision surrounding servers, training, technical support, etc, to support the product – which is equivalent to buying a commercial product (and sometimes more expensive!).


2 Laura Macleod { 09.27.08 at 5:01 am }

Katherine

This is a really interesting analysis. I’m very interested in how universities are dealing with the whole open source/commercial product question and your analysis helped me think about a couple of aspects of it. The integrative possibilities (having access well beyond graduation, for example) seem to me to require a cultural shift in the way we approach our education – but in a great way! It has the potential to be not just about credentialism any more (who cares what grade I got in intro biology? Guess what!)

But that takes us well down the road of philosophy, rather than hard headed business analysis, doesn’t it?

Laura

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