This question first arose for me a few years ago when I started implementing e-portfolios in some of my courses and published an article on its efficacy to promote student learning outcomes. Back then there were a few articles (see below) that seemed to suggest to me that social pedagogy simply involves having students make their learning public. I found this dis-satisfying because it didn't explain to me how one makes this a requirement or how one grades it. It seems to me that it involves inviting students to publicize their learning, but then how does one assess that? My 27 years of teaching experience has taught me that unless instructors assess something, students will not attend to it. In teaching and learning, assessment is what produces value for students. If instructors do not assess it, students are being sent the message that the instructor does not value it. A bit black and white I know, but that is my sense of the interaction between students, instructors, and student learning. Granted, when students become independent learners, assessment is done by the students themselves. But that only happens after students have developed some expertise in learning and understand the value of self-assessment and how to go about engaging in the constructive criticism of their own abilities and learning.
After a short perusal of the web, it appears that some (see resources below) use social pedagogy to define a way of being in community and caring for each others' learning. I guess that could encompass e-portfolio practice. But it seems that those practitioners are advocating for living in community. Would this include e-portfolio practice? I don't understand how advocates of e-portfolio practice are invoking social pedagogy in this context.
So, back to my question: what is social pedagogy? Pedagogy involves an understanding of how teaching and learning are practised. The articles on social pedagogy in an e-portfolio context advocate for students to make their own learning public and to publically respond to the feedback they receive in the public forum. But I am having difficulty understanding how we, as instructors, support students' forays into publicizing their learning, and more importantly how we support our students' response to their peers publicized learning. The closest understanding I have is the peer review in which students provide their fellow students with constructive criticism of their peers' term papers, presentations, participation, etc. But I don't think this is really what those who have successfully implemented e-portfolios are meaning when they advocate for social pedagogy. Or rather, it is more than simply peer review, because peer review can be a private transaction between only two students. In contrast, e-portfolios are intended to make student learning public; i.e. beyond the classroom. How does this get assessed and supported?
The reason this is an issue for me is that I understand how making my learning public provokes me to really consider my thinking. Hence, why I keep this blog. But this does take courage to make public our own misunderstandings and the possibility of being found to have a mistake in our thinking - in a public forum. One has to have the courage to make learning public. So, many of my students are very reticent to open their e-portfolios to the public and encourage responses from the public. As instructors do we simply tell students to get over it and grow up? That seems a little harsh to me. What practices do instructors use to help students understand the value of making their learning public? How do we assess our students' participation in social pedagogy on both the giving and receiving end? Is it a matter of simply indicating in our e-portfolio rubric that it is a requirement for e-portfolios to be public and to not do so elicits a failing grade? That doesn't make sense to me. Rather, there must be some approach that enables students to see the value in publicizing their learning. How do we do that beyond simply assigning some marks for the number of comments they give or receive on their e-portfolios?
How do we assess students' publication of their learning in the midst of their learning? This is different from simply publishing their final paper - that is summative assessment. I want to know how to provide students with a formative assessment of their social learning.
What is social pedagogy in higher education?
Bhika, R., Francis, A., & Miller, D. (2013). Faculty professional development: Advancing integrative social pedagogy using ePortfolio. International Journal of ePortfolio, 3(2), 117–133.
Editors. (2011 May 3). What is Social Pedagogy? The Therapeutic Care Journal.
Eynon, B., & Gambino, L. M. (2017). High-impact ePortfolio practice: A catalyst of student, faculty, and institutional learning. Sterling,VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Eynon, B., Gambino, L. M., & Török, J. (2014). Completion, quality, and change: The difference e-portfolios make. Peer Review, 16(1).
Eynon, B., Gambino, L. M., & Török, J. (2014). What difference can eportfolio make? A field report from the connect to learning project. International Journal of ePortfolio, 4(1), 95–114.
Five Rivers Child Care Center. 2017. The application of social pedagogy at Five Rivers: What is social pedagogy?
Gambino, L. M. (2014). Putting e-portfolios at the center of our learning. Peer Review, 16(1).
Jensen, N. R. (2013). Social pedagogy in modern times. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21(43), 1–16.
Rafeldt, L. A., Bader, H. J., Lesnick Czarzasty, N., Freeman, E., Ouellet, E., & Snayd, J. M. (2014). Reflection builds twenty-first-century professionals. Peer Review, 16(1).
Storø, J. (2013). Practical social pedagogy: Theories, values and tools for working with children and young people. Policy Press. University of Bristol.