Archeologists’ Corner – Reviews

nat048

Read review / response

Cheng – July 6, 2009
Knight – July 13, 2009

Tattrie – July 22, 2009

Klintworth – July 25, 2009

Cheng – August 3, 2009

Uppal – August 7, 2009



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Cheng – July 6, 2009

From: Colin Cheng

Subject: Peer Review – Artefacts

Date Sent: July 6, 2009 9:28 AM

To: Nancy Castonguay

Hi Nancy,

I am pleased to be one of your peer reviewers and I enjoyed viewing your site once more. I will make some general comments and then some specific ones pertaining to the artefacts themselves.

First, I continue to be impressed with the diversity of online sites that you incorporate into your eportfolio. That in itself, demonstrates a certain growth that may have developed during your study (you may also have brought these into the program with you).

Thanks Colin, no, I had not worked with any of these tools prior. Since one of the prevalent themes in the program has been around the concept of ‘affordances’ I wanted to use my needs as the start point (yes! it’s all about me! 😉 ), then find tools which afforded the flexibility I needed… I chose Wix. for my portal because it’s esthetically pleasing to me, but most importantly, I figured out that I could embed the portal into an html page, hand it in, and edit remotely… I used a wiki for my artefact repository simply because wiki affordances make it possible to organize, embed and display artefacts… I used Scribd to store many of the actual works to reduce my storage space in the wiki to a minimum… Then I decided that a blog was the best way to open communication with myself and others…. Several other small tools such as cmap and voicethread were also incorporated for the affordances… Had I used what I was familiar with, which is Dreamweaver, then I would have had to pay for hosting and then I thought that with hypertext I would be able to use various venues since hypertext affords seamless annexation of virtual spaces… Anyway, that’s my rationale for spreading this eP across virtual space…

Second, I admire your willingness to “push the envelope” in choosing topics that you find controversial. That in itself, blends in very nicely with your theme of evolution. Without pushing ourselves, we can never evolve to become more developed beings.

Yes, I don’t believe that what I know is mine, it belongs out there where it can be reviewed, critiqued, expanded on, used as a reference point, … etc. I feel that putting my work in cement, so to speak, would be an attempt at ‘owning’ my thoughts, while my thoughts are very much a product of my interactions with other artefact and learning communities…

You may already have noticed this, but many of your images on your mutation page are not loading. I’m sure this is a simple fix.

I’m not sure what to do about this, they load up for me and I’ve tried opening that page from 3 different computers… If you get a chance, would you try it from another terminal and see if you still encounter the same problem? Let me know….

I was a little confused when looking for the artefacts for ETEC 511 mostly because you listed your courses in numerical order and ETEC 511 was further down the list. Perhaps you may wish to move it further up so that it is in the same order as you listed your courses.

Tee hee hee! Well, I thought that since there is a chronological table of contents, no one whould notice! I worked on them in that order, but you’re right, and I will fix this first chance I get …

The artefacts that you have included are all of excellent quality and show a clear demonstration of learning. The topics of your papers are very original and provide a great source of information relating to educational technology. One thing I found which might only be a personal preference is that I get distracted when directed to both a new tab/webpage as well as having to shift through advertising on the scribd page.

I have reset all the links to open up in a new tab as a full page, let me know if this helps…

I’m wondering if you would consider making the artefacts downloadable so that it can be read on a full screen in a text editor such as Word?

They all are downloadable… Most of them have been converted to PDF and they will download as such… What I can do is include instructions for download. All Scribd doc. are mounted in a tool bar which allows full screen, downloading, saving, etc.

Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding the feedback given.

Thanks so much for taking the time Colin, I really appreciate it…  Nancy

Colin

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Knight – July 13, 2009

Peer Review 1: Nancy Castonguay

My response in gold text

I apologise profusely for this review coming so late: I hope it will still be of benefit.

Reviewer: Duncan Knight

Artefacts Reviewed

  • ETEC 500
  • ETEC 510
  • ETEC 512

I choose these as you have designated them review ready.

Overall Impressions

I am tremendously impressed with the aesthetic quality of the site: It is a truly professional repository of your chosen work. The navigation is smooth and elegant: I found myself drawn into the structure and thoroughly enjoyed exploring your artefacts as if I were an anthropologist tracing the steps towards more complex life forms. Ultimately, your metaphor is cleverly chosen and appropriately parallels your MET development. Thank you!

Assessment Rubric

Your rubric is extensive, yet succinct. I am considering using your heading for “expertise” as this covers many of the technical skills we need to showcase. Your site easily exceeds expectations already, while your blog is above and beyond your already highly reflective entries. I am surprised you don’t mention aesthetics, but I think this is covered under the aegis of “expertise”.

Navigation

The site is very easy to manoeuvre within and the pages load quickly. The metaphorical links, particularly in the Artefacts section, are explained proficiently. The one quibble I had is that the pages within this section do not load within the site frame itself, but open in new windows instead. I think this is appropriate for the artefacts, and Scrib’d via iPaper is fantastic for reading your papers, but it is a little disconcerting to have to close windows or backtrack to check where one is. I am sure you have a technical rationale for this.

I set up all pages to open in a new tab because this is my personal preference but your observation is well noted. The trouble is, Vista viewer does not afford backtracking functions, that is, once you navigate to a page, unless that page is equipped with a back button, you must close the viewer and re-open it to go back to where you were. For example, I am not able to embed a back button on ipaper… but I will look into making navigation less complicated on the pages that afford navigation prompts… Good point Duncan.

The Artefacts

Your paper for ETEC 500 on ICT and teachers, like your site, is comprehensive, detailed and grounded in research. Your explanation of your learning in the course is profound, albeit depressing to think that workloads for teachers are unmanageable and that we fly blind at times when using technology because of the lack of research. While highly reflective and analytical, a sentence connecting your experience to the theme of “mutation” would be the cherry on top.

That’s a great observation Duncan, I will go through all my posts and try to tie them more closely to the theme….

Your ETEC 510 Wiki analysis is detailed and rich with personally salient research. Your conclusion is inspiring and I hadn’t thought of the knowledge advantage of creating or editing Wikis over pre-fabricated text books. Your assertion that Wikis are intrinsically constructivist (collaboration, learner centered etc.) and that we need to reconsider our pedagogies is well justified. Is there a way you could link to your particular Wiki rather than the main page?

Yes, that’s a good idea… from there, if people choose to see the work as a whole they can navigate back to the wiki’s main page…

The ETEC 512 showcases your adeptness at concept mapping: I also remember your fantastic diagram for ETEC 530. I also found your honest appraisal of your experience with Cmaps refreshing: You do, however, clearly show positive mutation (or adaptation).

I guess that here you are recommending that I verbalize this more clearly, again, tying the reflection to the theme?

Your conclusion that students need to able to choose the technology that is the best fit for them, rather than dictating which software to use, is pertinent. I am always surprised at how elementary students can use even the most mundane applications in creative ways. Finally, I really like how you have balanced research based entries to support your artefacts with personal accounts of your evolution.

Thanks… I am still working on these entries actually, and little by little I plan on inserting quotes / passages from course readings… I just haven’t had much time… As stated in my rubric, I wanted my reflections to demonstrate knowledge of the topic and the only way to do this is to base my reflections on other scholarly works… Ultimately, I would like to tie each entry to at least 3 – 5 readings / sources.

Context

Your artefacts are diverse in content and technology. I like the carousel of images at the beginning of the artefacts section: Is there a way to link each image to the actual artefact?

I could, but I worried that viewers might look at the artefact and neglect to navigate to the ‘mutation’ page… I am not totally set on the carousel, I liked that it gives a sneak preview of the types of artefacts selected but your feedback will help with the tweaking of this section…

Your blend of deep reflection, prescient analysis, supporting research, metaphorical references and personal accounts reflects your evolution throughout the programme. The supporting images of evolution effectively create this context as well.

Summary

Outstanding! What else can I say? I tried very hard to provide suggestions for improvement, but your portfolio exceeds expectations in every way. Once again, I apologise for not reviewing it sooner.

Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful review Duncan. You have inspired me to revise several elements… An interesting effect of peer review: I have put in so many hours, as all of you have, staring at the same pages and got to the point where, although I knew some things could be improved on, I had kind of lost the energy to think more deeply about how I would achieve this… Hearing what you had to say, and how some changes might make the site more enjoyable for others has renewed my enthusiasm and refueled my energy… In short, I am finding that peer reviews are indeed very inspiring…

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Tattrie – July 13, 2009

ePo tfolio Review for Nancy Castonguay by Jim Tattrie My response in red.

Overall Impression

Wow!

Thanks Jim. Strange how technology has a way of giving the author the impression that the work is never ‘done’, and the viewer another impression altogether!

Chosen Theme

Do the Metaphor and Artifacts complement each other? Is the eP unique? Is its purpose made clear?

I really like the metaphor of e.volution that you have employed. Education in all aspects is certainly represented by this theme with the emphasis noted on the ‘e’ highlighting the special significance the electronic age has had on both education as a whole and your own personal educational experience.

I thought so too. Technology is the extension of our collective cognitive power, by which we explore the world and ourselves. Without technology, I could not have undertaken this journey, nor would I have been able to become a part of this global community which is the MET program. On the other hand, the virtual world would not exist if it were not for each and every atom of knowledge infused into it by the millions of users. Technology is education, and education is technology. No matter how we slice it.

In my opinion Your eP certainly stands out as unique, the use of the very dynamic Wix environment serves to bring your site to life and hold the interest of the viewer. After experiencing your eP I wish that I had been aware of this platform earlier as I likely would have chosen to work with it myself.

The trouble with Wix is that you cannot, unless you subscribe to a premium membership, backup your site. This is in part why I did not use Wix throughout… It’s a great platform though and affords effortless manipulation of Flash without any previous knowledge off Flash. As you mentioned, it does keep the viewer interested. This in my opinion is an important feature of Flash templates and the likes.

Your purpose for the creation of the portfolio is well stated and clear.

Content

Are the reflections well written? Does the narrative weave nicely with work? Are there grammatical errors and typos? Is the eP short in aspects?

Your portfolio’s content exceeds expectations in every aspect.

Design

Is the framework sound? Is it logically organized with appropriate links? Is the eP well organized and aesthetically pleasing? Is it easy to understand? Is the text consistent in style? Do the included media demonstrate effective application of principles of design?

The framework of your portfolio, although taking sometime to acclimatize to largely due to its comprehensive scope of coverage, is sound and well organized. The information presented is easy to understand, although I would highly recommend that a viewer’s first stop be the guided tour video as it serves well to clarify the site’s structure.

I wonder how I might be able to make the guided tour the first stop? Do you think that it should be the start page?

Functionality

Are the links labeled and working? Is the eP easy/ intuitive to navigate? Are the pages sufficiently wide, too wide? Are page load times appropriate?

Everything seems to function as intended. The ‘Culture’ and ‘Knowledge’ words on the page that discusses the e.Volution theme are not yet linked to resources, but this is likely due to the portfolio’s construction being ongoing.

Also of note is that the guided tour video took quite some time to load and it might be a nice addition to write a little awareness note to this effect beneath the player.

Yes, that is a good idea. I will do that. This is one of the reasons why I kept the length to under 5 minutes as I understand that the longer the video is, the longer it will take to load…

Comparative Assessment

Does the portfolio meet the rubric criteria? The table did not copy well into this document, but it would appear that you feel I was successful in meeting all goals as stated in my rubric.

Suggested Improvements.

On the evolution page I was bothered by the molecules(?) as they moved through the paragraph that I was trying to read. Perhaps there is a way of limiting their travel such that they fade out before reaching the paragraph and if not would it be possible to move the navigation aid further from the paragraph? Not a big thing, just a thing.

That’s an easy fix… It doesn’t bother me, but I wondered how others might feel about that! Thanks for your honesty. 🙂

Also on the e.Volution page, if possible, it would be nice to include hover text with each linked word in the navigation aid. I found myself wondering where some of the links were going to take me and had I been provided with a brief ‘hover’ summary, I might have followed them in an order more to my liking/purpose. For instance, “genetic drift’ leads to your curriculum vitae and although after clicking the link I remembered your stating this in the guided tour, I had forgotten until the window popped up.

I also wondered about that. I’m not sure how this can be done, but I will see to it that it gets resolved.

Closing

Exemplary Job Nancy! You’ve obviously put a lot of time and thought into your portfolio and this clearly shows through in the product. I hope that you find my review to be of use to you as you tie up those final loose ends on this final project in your MET program!

Thank you Jim. I appreciate you taking the time to look through it and to give me such personal and insightful feedback. You know, someone else throughout this program did coin the term e.volution in one of the forums and it always stuck with me. I wish I remembered who it was and in what context it appeared so I could give them due credit as well as add the anecdote to my theme intro. Until then… 🙂
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Klintworth – July 25, 2009

Metaphor & Artifacts

What an original metaphor! Clear linkage between artifacts and metaphor. Artifacts clearly promote further engagement.

Thanks Paul, this is good news!

Reflections

All your reflections are most thoughtful, thought provoking, and very honest. The wiki reflection certainly gave me pause for thought, and I think I’ll be returning here! The Cmaps reflection validated all my !@#$%^& feelings about Cmaps!!!!! Thank you for Bubbl.us2.0 – I’ll try this next!!

Paul, I’m so glad that you are considering coming back to my e.volution page as I hoped that I could engage in dialoguing with others and continue the journey of shaping the discourse of ET in the future… I was a bit stumped when I realized that I had to demonstrate learning once again, given that all these artefacts have already been evaluated… This prompted me to have an open-hearted conversation with myself and the reflection entries are a result of this… Learning is a personal journey, I believe even more so than a collective one, for what is learned is often not at all related to the original goal… I have very much enjoyed this aspect of my journey… Thank you for having been such a big part of it throughout…

Rubric

Very practical and easy to use. Your ePortfolio exceeds expectations in all criteria. I really like the notion of engagement.

Thanks Paul, I think that if we are to use technology to its potential we cannot overlook affordances which create opportunities for growth and change…

Integration, Linkage, Navigation

Circular and intuitive. The Minds and Machines link (screencast) was not working for me.

Ok, I’ll check to see what the trouble is…

Grammar/typos

On the dig site, digital units page, second sentence ‘I build’ instead of ‘I built’

Thanks for your thorough review Paul, I will correct this as well…

Possible improvement

The only suggestion  I can think to improve would be on the dig site; should there be an attribution for the jazz music? Where did it come from?

Well, the sound  file I used was a copyright-free file from Slides.com and I could not figure out how or if credits should be given… I love jazz, and wanted to incorporate this somehow… I am still working on adding music to my main site but I have to find out how I can do this without breaking copyright laws…

Summary

This is a very comprehensive ePortfolio, and in the just the last 2 hours I have learnt a lot!! Thanks, Nancy. Bonne chance!! Á la remise des diplômes!! 🙂

Thanks Paul, I hope to see you there… Novembre oui? Bonne chance à toi aussi, reste en contact dans le futur!


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Cheng – August 3, 2009

Feedback for Nancy Castonguay

Introduction Page: Excellent. Everything an introduction should have. I enjoyed the personal touch where you divulged a little bit of personal information about yourself. The page is set up well so that text is easily read with a nice contrast between white, black and shades of grey. An unintended metaphor perhaps? J

Navigation seems to be immediately obvious with the menu bar at the top. I can see the five main areas and I can guess what they are about.

Guided Tour: Well scripted. The video tour gives a very thorough explanation of how the site is organized. Your voice is very clear and easy to understand. It amazes me how calmly you speak – it took me over twenty tries before I was able to publish my video. Even at that, there were some mistakes.

After I finished viewing your video, I went and browsed through some of the other tabs on the page. I really liked that each of the tab links opened up a document in a new tab/window and not on the same page forcing the viewer to constantly hit the back button. After viewing your proposal and rubric, I wondered whether your title of “Guided Tour” should be more aptly renamed “Introduction”?

That’s a good point Colin. I wanted to incorporate these elements so viewers could see first hand what the process of building this eP had been like… In light of having to viewed others’ eP, I may just create another page specifically for those links and other information that explains and justifies design such as technology used etc.

The Voicethread application was a really cool feature.

e.Volution Theme: Very appropriate metaphor and clever spelling of the word. You should consider a marketing career. Funny! Were it not for the video tour, I would have found this page quite confusing. My immediate reaction was that it was very distracting because of the red dots that keep flying into my face. However, when taken into context, it is easy to relate to these little molecular creatures and understand the rationale for their being there.

Someone else made the same comments about the red dots and I have since lowered the timeline and restricted the effects to a more contained perimeter… When did you view my eP?

I suspect that I’m supposed to be able to click on the “Genetic Drift” button but nothing happens. Your “mutation” and “e.volution” blogs certainly indicate that not only have you put in a lot of work into this project, but you have also reflected much during this entire process.

Thanks, I will check up on this, the link might have been lost when I moved the timeline down and incorporated the sub-titles…

Dig Site: No matter how many times I view your eP, I can never get used to the sudden onset of the music. I get startled every time!

I am going to take that out altogether… It annoys me too!

Similar to the e.volution theme site, I couldn’t get the “Genetic Drift” page to open. Another thing that I have found which is both good and bad is that there are many hyperlinks, many of which overlap. For example, while in the dig site, I clicked onto the rotating slides only to have another dig window open so that now there were two versions open with the music overlapping.

Yikes! That does it! It’s GONE!

With so many links, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss anything so I would always click them but they often led to a page that I had already seen. For example, there are at least four different ways to get to the dig site. First, you can get there from the e.volution theme page. Second, you can get there from the Artefacts page. Third, from the dig site itself, you can open up another dig site by clicking the rotating slides near the top of the dig page. Finally, under the components of my ePortfolio section, you can also look at the artefact repository. There may be more but those are the ones that I have found in the time span.

Yes, I’m not sure how to go about this…I had originally not included hyperlinks on each of these pages, then I worried that, because my eP is protracted over several platforms, it would not be as coherent… But I understand what you mean… I think I may have to take a closer look at that… Really, the essence of this capstone experience is my WordPress blog…

The dig site itself is not as navigatable as your wix page. The artefacts are not immediately visible. While the navigator bar on the side allows sorting by types, it doesn’t group them (at least I couldn’t find it) by course. In this respect, I found the Mutation section easier as a way of browsing through your MET courses.

Right, I did not intend to group them by course, but rather, by type… This is because when I went for an interview a few weeks ago, I was asked precisely what type of media I had worked with… At that time, I had examples scattered through the course categories of my original eP which you have never seen… I was too cumbersome to go from one course to the next to show what I had done with the various media forms… So I decided that for the next interview, I would be prepared… The dig site is really more for me but I thought I would like it to my eP as it holds further evidence of my skills…. I will add commentary to this effect in the eP… Wow! What great feedback you are giving me… Thanks!

Mutation Page: The mutation page is an easy and organized way of listing the courses that you have taken. Having said that, I couldn’t find any records of ETEC 520, 521 or 533.

Right, I haven’t completed these sections yet…

Summary: It is evident that many hours of thoughtful hard work has been poured into this work. It is creative, well presented and technologically … it’s light years ahead of what I could do. I am a very linear thinker and get flustered when there are links and information everywhere. I found that there were sections of your site where I suffered from visual overload.

Sorry to hear that Colin! Hope you have recovered from this overload! I guess I must not be all that linear.. .I will act on your observations.. Thanks again for being honest and thorough…

Best, Nancy

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Uppal – August 7, 2009

Hi Nancy,

I enjoyed your new guided tour. I like your reflection back to theory as referencing materials from our course readings. Your ePortfolio has always been very visually impressive and one that has made me think about my own a lot.

Thanks Jag! The referencing element of my reflections, in my opinion, was necessary to fulfill the goals as outlined in my rubric (expertise)… Reflecting is easy enough to do, but I thought that graduate level reflection should demonstrate a certain level of competency in the subject… This is why I made a conscious effort to  link course readings (or other scholarly works) to my reflections… It also allowed me to put what I had learned to practice..

I liked how your tour made your website simpler and easier to navigate. On a side note…where in New Westminister did you do your practicum? I have a cousin named Sukh Rai also working in that district at a middle school. He was one of the reasons I chose to go into teaching.


The school I did my practicum in was NW secondary… See com
ments below about the process of downsizing…


Back to your portfolio…your mindmap is a great resource for visual learners (like myself) and it gives the viewer the ability to customise their viewing experience. Knowledge is shared within our speicies is a great explanation for our e-volution.

Again, I stole the term e.volution from one of our forum discussion… I wish I had kept the exact quote and the name of the person who actually coined it.. It always stuck with me… Particularly in ETEC 531, which is where I think the concept was born in my mind… As we discussed and argued concepts like technological determinism (especially thinking about Heidegger ‘the question concerning technology’  and Haraway ‘cyborg manifesto’ here), topics like intellectual property, ETEC 512? and situated cognition (particularly exemplified in the navigational instruments of an aircraft)…  it became clear to me that not one person can claim ownership of knowledge in the pure form… This argument is just a continuum of the ‘chicken and the egg’ argument as far as I am concerned… Did thought come before technology? Or did technology come before though? After all , humans had to have been ‘inspired’ in order to develop tools by something they had already seen in nature? Using inductive reasoning can only lead to the conclusion that knowledge is shared within our species… A good argument for the open source movement anyway!

While your ePortfolio maybe complex, your guided tour is short and simple enough to give the viewer a knowledge base of how to navigate through your website. I am sorry I was unable to give you greater detailed review prior to today.

In terms of navigation, your tour helps the viewer tremendously and keeps them from getting lost.

Thanks to peer feedback, I did a complete overall of the navigational system of my eP this week. Colin was very candid in his feedback, pointing out that the design of some pages was to busy and that duplicates in the navigation made viewing for an outsider complicated and confusing… So I deleted several pages… The voice thread presentation altogether since I cam to realize that it didn’t serve the purpose for which it was intended in the first place… Because a protracted sit (built over the span of several virtual spaces) e is not as intuitive as a regular site (contained in one virtual space) I decided to incorporate a concept map that could reinforce this ‘protracted’ concept… In my mind, a site does not have to be contained… Rather, it should expand over as many spaces as purpose requires… So in short, I am glad that the new tour and navigation scheme kept viewing less risky (of loosing onself!)!


I wish you the best of luck in the future and I am thankful that you were in my class as your portfolio definately made me reflect upon not only my journey in the MET program but also the presentation of the ePortfolio in general.

That’s a great compliment Jag. I don’t believe there is a greater purpose in life than to have been an inspiration to other.


Thank you and take care.
The pleasure has been mine. Best of luck in your future endeavors.
Jag Uppal

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