Here’s where we’ll talk about JS Dunn’s, Carrie Luke’s, and David Nassar’s “Valuing the Resources of Infrastructure: Beyond From-Scratch and Off-the-Shelf Technology Options for Electronic Portfolio Assessment in First-Year Writing.” One of the appeals to this piece for me is I know these folks and it is about something very very local!
I think it’s a pretty straight-forward essay, so I will just mention two things for now. First, here’s a link to the ePortfolio Resources site that John and Carrie and Dave put together and that they mention in the essay as a way of supporting this Google approach to electronic portfolios. I refer students to it all the time, and not just students in first year writing. While I’m at it, let me share again a link to my English 121 from Fall 2012 where students used a combination of Google Sites and Google Docs to put together their portfolios. This is what I mean by students working being “public” the way that Moran was talking about this.
Second, I think there is a bit of a cautionary tale out there right now about using Google for things like this. John and Carrie and Dave mention this near the end of their essay when they point out that while their manuscript was being reviewed, Google changed how Google docs works– now it’s Google Drive. Just recently, Google announced that they are ending their Google Reader service, which is very popular amongst a lot of folks who are interested in reading blogs and the like. And right now if you do a search for Google Reader, you’ll find a lot of really freaked out and mad people who relied on Google Reader who can’t believe that Google is shutting this service down. (BTW, I am one of those people).
So the issue is while Google’s free services are great and I’m going to keep using them and probably keep teaching with things like Google docs, I do wonder if I was in charge of the first year writing program now if I were to suggest a big program-wide move to Google docs and Google sites. It’s not that anything that John and Dave and Carrie says is wrong– far from it– but I just don’t know if I can continue to trust Google, frankly. What’s to stop them from turning off Google Docs or Google Sites? And if they did, well, that free solution wouldn’t be much of a solution anymore.