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Wende Morgaine 18 January 2008

Wende Morgaine

Educator. Connector. Innovator.

Wende Morgaine has taught at Portland State University for more than five years. In 2005 and 2006 she was the Chief Portfolio Architect and Faculty Team Leader for ePortfolio Expansion, working on spreading and digitizing existing portfolio practices (through the Open Source Portfolio) across all of Portland State, Oregon’s largest university. In that capacity, she also served as CLE Communications Lead, planning the migration to Sakai from WebCT. During this time, in addition, she served as Conference Chair for the Sakai Foundation. Finally, she helped organize some strategic planning and grant writing among leaders in open source on the Portland State campus and across the region.

In 2007, Wende continued to serve as a consultant to higher education institutions around the country for implementing the Open Source Portfolio, Sakai, and for doing faculty development around technology adoption. She has written and presented about this work at length.

For the majority of the past three years, Wende had the great pleasure of doing some community management work for the Open Source Portfolio community. Having done a fair amount of this type of work while in graduate school, she was grateful to serve in the role of Geeky Border Collie yet again.

Wende holds an MST in Interdisciplinary Film Studies, specializing in genre scholarship and has taught courses on film and television for sophomore, juniors, and seniors in Portland State’s award-winning University Studies program. Course she has taught include “Gay Rights, Film, Television, & Social Change”, “The Serial Killer Film Genre”, and “Politics, the Silver Screen, & You”.

Wende has lived in Portland since 1996, as well as spending her late elementary school years here, back in the 1970s. Wende mostly grew up in the Midwest, particularly in Minnesota and Kansas. She has had the great pleasure of living in downtown Portland since 1998, in the middle of Portland State’s lovely campus.

What are you up to?

Currently Wende works at the Association of American Colleges and Universities on the VALUE portfolio grant funded through FIPSE and State Farm. She is a passionate advocate of portfolios for both student learning and authentic assessment in education.

Wende also teaches at Portland State most quarters. This quarter, she is teaching “The American Family on Television” and “The City in Film”.

What are you into?

Wende is obsessed with Facebook and social networking in general. Her latest social networking discovery is a social network for professors. After having spent significant time in her professional life on an open source course management system, she is fascinated by the thought that social networking tools might be much better suited to the task. She was also struck, the first time she used Facebook, at what a perfect portfolio tool it would be. She eagerly awaits the emergence of an open source product as the dominant social network.

Wende is also fascinated by blogging and maintains three public blogs:  one on technology, one on travel and one on film & television, as well as three private ones. She doesn’t blog as often as she would like, but that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.

She is also into her iPhone and all things Google and Apple. Wende keeps her eye out for the coming of a centralized site that will aggregate all her online interactions and tasks. She knows it won’t be long.

What do you like most about Portland?

Having traveled extensively in the US, Wende continually marvels at how beautiful Portland is. The rain, rivers, and the lush greenness of Portland feeds her soul. Being from the arctic tundra of Minnesota, when its 40 and rainy in January, Wende still, 12 years later, feels like she lives in Hawaii. A nearby ocean doesn’t hurt any.

She has the good fortune to live downtown, right on the Park Blocks, and can see the mountains from her apartment.

In addition, nostalgic as she is for the delightful socialism of Minnesota, she is comforted by the liberal nature of most Portland citizens.

When Wende hosts visitors and they comment on any of Portland’s great achievements (great public transit, lively downtown, urban growth boundary, being bike-friendly, Powells, etc.), Wende feels very proud to call such an innovative city home.

Portfolios? Really?

Portfolios are at the intersection of higher education and technology, Wende’s two main passions. She was very privileged to get a graduate assistantship and then a full-time teaching job at University Studies at Portland State, one of the foremost portfolio-centered programs in the country. So most of what Wende knows about teaching (and assessment of student learning) is based on portfolios.

Portfolios provide a much more authentic methodology than standardized testing or even single-assignment assessment because the picture of student learning presented is comprehensive rather than isolated. In addition, making a portfolio is truly a learning experience, and often a transformational one, for students. The same cannot be said of most other assessment practices.

What Wende thinks is really great, though, about portfolios, is the ways technology enriches what was already a great educational practice. When students create an eportfolio (making links, digitally connecting and reflecting on learning experiences) they have a persistent, sharable, and visual representation of themselves as knowledge creators. The identity transformation that often happens during portfolio creation is uniquely augmented by technology, with its ease of both connection and sharing and with its visual nature. If making an eportfolio could be expanded by integration with existing social networking sites, learning would skyrocket.

Don’t get Wende started.

Do you really wake up without an alarm at 4 am?

Yes. On most mornings. This is a family trait and has been true of Wende all her life. An extrovert, it was always hard for Wende to be up and awake while it seemed everyone else was sleeping. But with the advent of email, IM, and social networks, it seems someone else is always awake now. Yay.

Also, this quirk comes in handy when working with international open source and educational communities—the members of which are mostly east of Portland. Wende looks very dedicated when she sends email at 4 am and participates in conference calls at 5 am.


Email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pronetos, Twitter, Blogs – opened, serendipity, movingpictures

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