Tag Archives: Instructional Design

Blog as ePortfolio: Demonstrate Your Skills

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.

Organization

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

Resources

A lot of portfolio/ePortfolio advice is available online. Here are a few sites to get you started:

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

 

Instructional Design and Technology Skills in Demand? Career Outlook Resources

Job and Career OutlookOver the last couple of weeks, I’ve fielded questions from people interested in making the move from instructor/trainer to instructional designer/technologist. Two previous posts Breaking into the Business and Jobs in Instructional Design and Technology provide a few job search resources and recommendations for documenting your experience. But is anyone hiring? This post outlines two resources I recommend to anyone considering a career change.

Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)

The OOH is published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that provides information about hundreds of occupational fields.  The categories of information provided include: education and experience requirements, salary data, job descriptions, and employment projections. The current projections are for 2008-2018. You can also find specific data related to your State.

To get to the information most closely related to Instructional Design, you’ll need to drill down from Professional to: Education, Training, Library, Museum > Instructional Coordinator.

Other related occupational groups to explore include Art and Design and Media and Communication Related.

O*Net Online

Published by the Department of Labor’s Education and Training Administration, O*Net offers a different format with more search options and a detailed framework of information designed for career exploration. The two entries below are a good place to start.

Using these resources:

The detailed information, thorough descriptions, and wealth of data provided on these sites can be helpful in several ways.

  • Look for keywords and phrases you can use as starting points for writing about your job-related accomplishments in your resume.
  • Look for descriptions of knowledge, skills, and abilities that you can speak to in interviews and provide evidence of in a portfolio.
  • Use these sites as a launching pad. Explore. Each career page includes a list of links to related occupations and other related sites.

Instructional design and technology are still relatively new as occupational fields. Hopefully information provided in the OOH and O*Net will expand as the career fields expand. Defining instructional design and technology is a topic in and of itself!

Overall the OOH and O*Net forecasts for jobs in instructional design and technology look good, with job growth “much faster than average.” Include this information as part of your career research and job search. (Don’t neglect networking!)

Have you recently entered instructional design as a second (or third) career? What were your favorite resources for researching the field?

Image credit: stock.xchng

What I learned at WordCamp 2011: Messages for eLearning

Last weekend I attended WordCamp Miami. This was my second year at this event and I highly recommend it if you use WordPress or are interested in blogging. WordCamp is…

“…a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users…. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.” – WordCamp Central

This one-day event featured three tracks – beginner/blogger, marketing/design, and development/coding. I felt like I fell a little in between the tracks – not a beginning blogger, but also not a skilled programmer. That being said, I really enjoyed the sessions I attended and left with a list of ideas that will keep me busy for some time to come.

Getting started with WordPress:

If you aren’t familiar but want to find out more, take a look at this Introduction to WordPress presentation from Adam Warner. It’s a nice place to start.

Take-aways for eLearning:

I found that many of the presentations spoke not only to bloggers and WordPress users, but also to designers and developers of online education experiences. We’re concerned about a lot of the same things. The ideas and tips described below could be adapted for use in instructional design and development.

  • Keep mobile development in mind – “The mobile web is growing”, says Steven Mautone. Check out this presentation: WordPress for Mobile. Kevin Zurawel’s presentation on Responsive Web Design recommends developers plan for mobile delivery first, then look at the rest.
  • Let data drive your decisions – In a session on analytics, the stress was on gathering data about blog members and visitors. What data do we collect about online students? How can we better leverage the existing information to improve learning and the online experience? For WordPress users, several presenters mentioned WP SEO by Yost.
  • Improve user experience – We know we don’t ask our students and faculty enough about their experiences with our online courses. How can we get better at this? A user experience checklist might help. Jeremy Harrington presented a User Experience Flight Checklist for a WordPress site that could be adapted for use in eLearning.
  • Prepare to hand-off to your client – In this case I think we could consider both instructor and student “clients”. Too often we complete course development, upload the course pages, then more or less walk away. What can we do to make the transition easier? Tammy Hart discussed future proofing and tips for simplification.
  • WordPress as an LMS – I have friends at the University of Hawaii who are using WordPress to develop and deliver online courses. They are not alone in taking WordPress beyond the blog. Take a look at this presentation by Josh Guffey about using WordPress as a CMS to create a portfolio site. How could students do this for study and/or career portfolios? This plug-in was lauded for making the admin side a lot easier – CMS Tree Page View.
  • Take a long-term approach – It takes time to develop a quality product of any kind. Multiple presenters, especially those talking about the art and science of blogging, stressed this point. It takes time…and practice. And you get better.

Thanks to all:

Thanks to the organizers and speakers for a great event! Lost of positive energy and ideas, all at an affordable price. Visit the WordCamp Miami website for more information about the event and additional links to presentations. If you are at all interested in blogging, social media, or the WordPress platform, find a WordCamp in your area and go!

See you in 2012, WordCamp Miami!