I caught a ride to Stanford yesterday to discuss eportfolios with Dr. Helen Chen. We didn’t get a chance to talk at the recent Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) conference in Portland. My friend had an appointment at Stanford Hospital and being early for my meeting, I walked over to the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. I wandered around the Rodin sculpture garden and then sat on the cafe patio to wait for the museum to open.
I signed into the free wifi and checked my phone to see if the orientation hold had been lifted on my account at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. One morning at the AAEEBL conference Paul Wasko had introduced me to Marcia Anderson, the director of Academic Advising in the College of Individualized Studies at Metro State. She encouraged me to apply that day in order to be enrolled for the fall semester. Metro State was founded in 1971 as a ‘University without Walls’ “serving adult students by recognizing demonstrated learning gained outside the classroom” while working toward their higher educational goals. I applied and during the one day I was home from Portland before leaving for a weekend training in LA, I went online and had my transcripts sent. From all of the eleven colleges I have attended!
The email had arrived, inviting me to register for “Educational Philosophy & Planning” the foundation class all Individualized Studies students take to create their personal learning plan. I had been working with Jane Kreuger, my admissions advisor, and Marcia had contacted Dr. Tedder, the Chair of Individualized, Interdisciplinary and Life Long Learning in the College of Individualized Studies, and convinced him to enroll me in his already full class. I went to the website, selected the class (the override worked!), finished enrolling, went to the payment site and paid my fees. I still had five minutes before the museum opened so I called Jane and told her I was sitting on the Cantor Arts Center patio at Stanford and had successfully enrolled using my phone! It was Friday afternoon in Minnesota and classes begin the following Monday.
I toured the main exhibit, Creativity on the Line: Design for the Corporate World, 1950–1975, and had lunch on the patio; a Cobb salad and iced tea. (only $20!) I was reminded by the planes overhead, that on Friday afternoons the private jets leave San Jose International Airport every ten or fifteen minutes. I then saw the Modern & Contemporary exhibit and some of the main collection, Object Lessons: Art & Its Histories, before meeting with Helen in her office in Wallenburg Hall.
We discussed my ‘controlled vocabulary (ontology) for eportfolios and the semantic web’ project (the reason I joined AAEEBL and went to the conference in Boston two years ago) and I shared that the AAEEBL Technology Special Interest Group had decided to take on this project. I also shared my newest project: creating a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) stack for any learner to have the tools to create a lifewide eportfolio, on their own domain, to collect their lifetimes of learning. It all come together after I learned about semantic triples in Beyond TEI: Metadata for Digital Humanities at the University of Victoria, BC, during this years’ Digital Humanities Summer Institute. But that’s another story. Helen asked if this had anything to do with “Linked Data”, so I took out my phone and showed her the picture I had taken earlier that morning.
As far as I can tell (I’ll never have a degree in Library and Information Science nor Computer and Information Systems), having an ontology and using semantic triples are the basis for the latest graph databases, being able to discover fellow researchers on the internet and structuring one’s eportfolio to take advantage of ‘faceted’ (semantic) searches. It’s my theory that creating a properly structured database for an eportfolio of one’s lifetime of learning projects and products can lead to perspectives only made possible by computing. These unique clusters of data should help generate the deep reflections that are central to eportfolios function of supporting lifewide learning.
Aint digital technology amazing? I’m glad I spent most of my glassblowing career supporting California’s computer industry. I regret that the term ‘Silicon Valley’ is now being used in place of ‘predatory venture capital.’ What we workers created in Silicon Valley has linked together the entire world (with some areas and peoples yet to be connected). Workers are not responsible for how their products are used, nor who buys the companies we work for. Capitalist predation is a centuries old problem. I look forward to using these new technologies and sharing FOSS platforms with everyone, especially under served adult learners. It was a good day in the (former) Valley of Hearts’ Delight.