Green Squiggly Lines:
Electronic Portfolios: Macro-level Reading, Responding, and Evaluating
For our purposes, it is
worth noting the Online Learning Record's insistence on the scientific and posivistist
ideas of "observation" and "data gathering." The value of
these observations and data are not simply taken as an end in and of themselves.
In the Online Learning Record, the descriptive actions of observation and data
gathering are then subjected to interpretation and public scrutiny. The Online
Learning Record attempts to incorporate the subjectivities of other observers
in the judgment of a student's electronic portfolio. This use of observation
through community interaction is intended to subvert
critiques of the system as positivist and neo-Aristotelian. By presenting the
observations as contextualized and distributed, Syverson believes that the Online
Learning Record "refutes the reductionism of theoretical approaches that
depend on individualist assumptions about readers, writers, and texts"
(p. 182). However, she also argues the perspective behind the Online Learning
Record "refutes the opposite form of reductionism, which implies that writing
situations are so culturally, historically, and socially contingent that each
is unique and incomparable" (182). The logic behind Syverson's Online
Learning Record parallels the logic behind Barbara Herrnstein Smith's argument
that value judgments are placed "among the most fundamental forms of social
communication and also among the most primitive benefits of social interaction"
(p. 96). However, the reliance of the Online Learning Record on "observation"
as a tool to "gather data" returns us to the problems of the objectivity
in the scientific method.