Portfolios have many uses ranging from assessment in an academic program to personal marketing in the job search process. As I prepared for a recent conference presentation on career ePortfolios for students, I wondered how many instructional designers have portfolios. This post explores the possibility of using a blog as a portfolio presentation tool.
Why use a blog?
The features and functions of a blog lend themselves to both presenting work samples and reflection on the work itself. They allow you to tell the story of a project and demonstrate the result. Blogs are also low or no cost alternatives to having a personal website. And since blogging toolsare designed for those without advanced web design and programming skills, they offer quick set-up, a professional look and feel, and intuitive administrative dashboards.
Blog pages allow for easy organization of portfolio artifacts. Think about structure before you get started. Two approaches to consider:
- Resume/CV – use typical resume sub-headings to create your blog and present related information (Education, Experience, Certification, Publications, etc.)
- Standards/Competencies – consider using an existing list of standards or professional competencies to frame your portfolio (AECT, ASTD, IBSTPI, etc.)
Selecting Portfolio Artifacts
- If you decide to include current or past coursework assignments, review and modify, tweak, to make as perfect as possible. Only your best work should make it into the portfolio!
- If you decide to include current or past work projects, make sure you have permission to make them, or elements of them, available online. This work is usually owned by your employer or a client, so prepare accordingly.
- Build something from scratch for the purpose of the portfolio if you don’t already have something available.
- Focus on what you want to do in the future and choose artifacts that demonstrate skills and experience related to your goals.
A Few Examples
- Eric Stoller’s Blog – organized using College Student Services Administration’s Nine Competencies.
- Denzinger Design Portfolio – interesting layout using images, combination of school and experience artifacts.
- Kerstin Howard’s e-Portfolio – basic WordPress.com blog used as a portfolio. Resume tab, reflections on coursework, and work samples.
A lot of portfolio/ePortfolio advice is available online. Here are a few sites to get you started:
- ePortfolios for Learning – Helen Barrett (Check out steps for setting up Blogger as an eportfolio.)
- Career Oriented ePortfolio Resources – MERLOT
- What is an ePortfolio? – Career Opportunities
Share your portfolio! Do you have a web-based portfolio? If so, please share your lessons learned (and your link!) in the comments area.
Image credit: Plearn, Flickr
Melissa—This is a great idea for faculty too. The online portfolio could convey so much more detail and breadth that can’t show up in an application letter and cv. Potential employers are going to google you anyway, this let’s you go on offense in that realm.
Hi Steve – Thanks for making this point. Creating a blog-portfolio would be a great step toward “going on the offensive” where creating an online presence is concerned. Hadn’t considered that it might be a part of a faculty application, but I do like the idea. Thanks again! – Melissa
You make an excellent point on how the fluidity of blogs lend themselves to ongoing revisions and future professional developments and projects as is the case in the life of IDs.
Hi Millie – Thanks so much for your comment! I continue to sing the praises of the blog format – so much flexibility and potential for customization/personalization both for developers and non-developers. – Melissa
Thank you for including the “selecting portfolio artifacts” section. As an Intervention Specialist with 16 years experience, I was a bit overwhelmed with designing an ePortfolio. I was over-analyzing the process and making it much harder than it should be. :) Your entire blog site has re-energized me and I am ready to tackle my own WordPress site! :)
Thanks for the comment and encouragement, Leanne! I am glad this post and the info on selection was helpful. I agree that trying to decide what to include can get overwhelming. A concise list that presents your best work is a more powerful alternative to a long list of items that may/may not be relevant to your viewer/reader. Looking forward to hearing more from you at design4instruction. :) – Melissa
I created my ePortfolio using WordPress. This is my first draft and I am sure I will create and fix it while I attempt to sleep :) http://design4instruction.wordpress.com/ My husband and family don’t really understand what “instructional design” is so this is also a nice way to show them what I create. Thank you again! ~Leanne