Post #2

Henry Huang

Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies

Last week we had two readings, How Public? Why Public? by Matthew Cheney and The Web We Need To Give Students by Audrey Watters. I really enjoyed the two different arguments for why we should provide students with their own web space and portfolios. Watters sets up her argument to provide more agency and pride for the students in their work. Currently, our system of certified transcripts and schoolwork is typically per school you are at and you must request the transcript from a third party in order to receive and electronic copy. This also tends to come with fees. Why is it so hard to gain a copy of our own transcript? Similarly, I remember coming home with my artwork and having a manila folder as my portfolio for class to bring home at the end of a section of lessons. Now I turn in a copy for my teachers in high school or one to my professors and then it never sees the light of day again. Yes, I received feedback on some bigger assignments, and it was useful, but then that piece of paper that I had worked so hard on to cover in appropriate symbols disappeared into my folder and I never look back on it. Now if I had a place to store/ display my work I would be much more terrified of my work being bad and would have a history of my entire career of being educated in a formal setting.

              Having come to PSU as a transfer student and from a college that closed, I think I have a peculiar position on the continuance of my work. When the school closed all domains, emails, and electronic ownership provided by the college was going to disappear. I had to copy over my school email and google drive to a new account. I was lucky because my college’s drive was relatively small data and as such could fit in a free account. But I have friends who took computer-based classes such as GIS, and had massive data stored on the extended memory of their drives because the college paid for a premium account from Google. As Watters says, “a student’s work exists only inside a learning management system and cannot be accessed once the semester is over.” Although I had two years’ worth of Moodle work, course syllabuses, emails, contacts, and projects. I am still trying to manage all of it and reorganize it as it was a jumbled when it was copied over. However, I would suggest that this is universal issue for all those who are involved with internet-based systems. Each one comes with an annual price tag, very few products are free and available to use and share publicly. Google drive is one such place, but even our ePorts we are currently creating will be subject to deletion after we graduate. We need to pay for a new domain service in order to continue using the ePort.

            An additional issue of switching to primarily offering students to display their work publicly is that “Mostly, the work students have done…has been for the classroom (Cheney).” Without the assignment’s instructions and knowledge of the history of that series of lessons the assignments can look very out of place. This can be addressed by redesigning our coursework to be more practical focused and realistic. As I have moved into college, there is a distinct lack of random, small, assignments that are purely grade valued. I have appreciated this style of coursework as it more mirrors life and cleans up some of the clutter I found high school to have. It would also streamline how we invest our time and effort for those big assignments to then be added to our ePort.

            They have started to shape how I can use this course to set myself up for the next couple years. I have never really thought about the licensure of my work or how I should offer it to future employers/ the public. Use of the ePort can significantly help me strengthen my public image for job prospects and helps myself to store my important work in a single area. It is also cool to think about how with IDS you gain ownership over your major and what you study, so we also gain ownership how we present our work and time at PSU through our ePorts.


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