I have categorized different applications of Web portfolios that explored in this text. They include personal Web portfolios which can be used by students, job seekers, and professionals in any field. Also discussed are teacher Web portfolios which are used by K-12 teachers, faculty, and staff in educational institutions. The uses of Web portfolios in education are widely researched.
I overview techniques and approaches for educators to use when developing an electronic teacher portfolio that can be enhanced by specific curriculum and development techniques offered in education based e-portfolio texts. Finally, business Web portfolios are examined from the view point of persuasive communication and information design and management for a freelancer.
Organizational portfolios are a larger topic that is not densely covered in this text. However, the principles and processes behind the creation of the Web portfolio can be applied to many business applications.
Print Portfolios, Digital Portfolios, Electronic Portfolios and Web
The objectives of the print portfolio, digital portfolio, electronic portfolio, and the Web portfolio are to present experience level, skill set, accomplishments, project aptitude, and media expertise with the goal of initiating positive action from the user, viewer, and client. All portfolios help validate someone’s professional appearance. Key ingredients to successful portfolios in any medium are organization, clarity, and consistency.
Editorial style and text layout should conform to a standardized structure. The portfolio must communicate effectively; therefore we cannot stray from the principles of good editorial and visual design. Content quality, organization, and design are critical to the overall success of the portfolio, regardless of medium. Most importantly, the portfolio provides a personalized channel of presentation for the owner to communicate strengths that may persuade the viewer to act positively towards the author.
The result can be a career promotion, a sale of professional work, an invitation to exhibit, or the acquisition of a job. Let us closer examine the different types of presentation portfolios used to gain credibility and acquire work for hire. The print portfolio gets delivered on paper. The goal of the print portfolio as with all portfolios is to sell.
Artists have long revered the use of portfolios for showing off and marketing their works. Ideally, the presentation of the portfolio yields an opportunity to sell work or get work for hire. Print portfolios yielded by graphic designers, brag web design tutorials offered by sales people, and dossiers presented by executives are all built to sell. These items are forms of personal marketing.
The advant age of the print portfolio is that it is easily controlled; no technical errors or performance issues here. Also, print allows the highest level of data quality. Output can be large and full color, not conforming to a browser window or a viewers computer speed. The digital portfolio gets delivered digitally.
Synonymous with electronic portfolio and now more and more delivered as a Web portfolio, digital portfolios deliver work interactively through the digital medium of a computer or DVD player. The digital portfolio can be delivered via any digital medium including CD-ROM, DVD, or the Internet.
The problem with CD-ROM and DVD based portfolios is that they need distribution channels to be seen and they can be flawed in performance due to a multitude of platforms and applications running in the world. Also, removable media portfolios are expensive to produce because they need to be recreated when things change.
When recreation occurs, new media must be burned, thus incurring added costs to the portfolio process. The worst problem a digital portfolio can have is failure to initialize and operate. The second worst problem is performance that is slow and visually poor. The non-networked portfolios are susceptible to various failures.
This fact causes me to embrace Web portfolios over CD and DVD portfolios when applicable. Video, film, and high end gaming/multimedia portfolios need to be delivered completely using DVD media. However the Web can be used to show off snippets of film and movies and can establish dynamic relationships with the audience beyond that of piece of removable media.
A Web portfolio for a programmer, designer, writer, teacher, musician, or theorist shares the objec- tive of all portfolios in selling someone or something to somebody and creating an appearance. All portfolios should be built to market and sell the value of the content and the virtues of the creator. The Web portfolio is a great media to deliver a portfolio due to its dynamic nature and extensive reach.
As you grow, your Web portfolio will grow. This dynamic nature puts the Web portfolio ahead of the other mediums in price, flexibility, scalability, reach, and overall author return on investment. Personal Web Portfolios for Students and Individuals A personal Web portfolio serves as a self-selected, self developed multimedia presentation of work that offers multiple views of a person’s learning and development.
Driven by creative expression and college learning experiences, Web portfolios provide tangible evidence of growth and accomplishment. Web portfolios also allow students to present research papers, essays, and aca- demic projects that incorporate text, images, audio, and video.
The disciplines of computer science, art, and education have embraced Web portfolio devel- opment most frequently. However, students in all disciplines need a Web portfolio when they leave college. After college, the Web portfolio can become a personal hub for professional communication to potential employers and the public. It can serve as a platform for publishing career accomplishments and presenting skills and experiences through content.
Teacher Web Portfolios
Academic literature today is still lacking in a grounded definition of the electronic portfolio as an information product across disciplines. Disciplines such as education have defined the electronic within their own contexts. They have done this successfully partly based on the fact that discipline is has implemented standards that help guide content. This content is specific to the field and therefore, fits around the standards implemented within pedagogy and practice. The electronic portfolio in education is regarded as an electronic teaching portfolio.
The teaching portfolio is one variety of electronic portfolios. Kilbane and Milman (2003) describe the teaching portfolio as “a special type of presentation portfolio that demonstrates the professional competence of anyone who engages in the active teaching at any academic level”.
Kilbane and Milman also reference the fact that the electronic portfolios, especially those on the Web are becoming more and more popular with college instructors. As well, the teaching portfolio is not a tool specifically for instructional work but, is geared towards displaying evidence of professional competence.
However in the future, the responsive environment provided by Internet Web applications will allow more interaction and ultimately enhance the value of the Web portfolio as not only a display platform but also a tool for the educator, inside and outside of the classroom.
An educator can use the Web portfolio to present student work, provide a forum for credentials and accomplishments, and to establish a lifelong learning project that will be dynamic throughout their career. This becomes important to the educator when approaching tenure and promotion. The Web portfolio can present many items including a vita, syllabi, student work, web design lesson plans, and educational philosophy statements. A longer list of artifacts used on the teacher Web portfolio will be listed later in the text.
Web Portfolios for Business
For a business, the Web portfolio demonstrates the company’s ability to succeed in providing project results and deliverables. A business Web portfolio may contain sample work, product profiles, client case studies, process samples, or testimonials. In the business Web portfolio, the content is adjusted to fit the marketing communication goals of the business. Most importantly, companies that per form design, development, programming, or creative output should have a Web portfolio to market and promote their corporate philosophy and their professional project work.
The Web portfolio can be a separate appended micro-site. The Web portfolio does not replace a corporate site; it enhances it by isolating the most important work and highlighting it. The business context of the Web portfolio is expanded to include the hybrid individual who needs a Web portfolio to act as an instrument for both business and personal use — the freelancer. The freelancer may or may not be a corporation or a regular employee of an organization.
The freelancer is someone who needs work for hire. They fit into thes personal Web portfolio author category and the business Web portfolio category. A freelancer is someone who needs credibility and promotion throughout his or her life cycles to continue surviving, whether financially or professionally. The Web portfolio is critical to the personal business practices of the freelancer.
The Web portfolio evens the playing field for the freelancer. It provides a mass media vehicle at a cheap price. This allows the freelancer to compete with the larger company from a digital marketing perspective.
The Web portfolio takes on a larger perspective for the freelancer because it can provide a narrative connection that is lost by large, sterile corporate sites that seem to have insincere looks and feels. Most large corporate sites are suited for e-commerce, technical support, or pure information delivery. The freelancer’s Web portfolio site concentrates on promotion and identity, not for use as a commercial application such as with most corporate sites.