e portfolio


ePortfolio page mock-up.I was recently at a meeting where Penn State's ePortfolio was discussed. Before, during, and directly after the meeting I maintained a number of misconceptions. It wasn't until several days later, after digging through information and talking with Wendy and Barb, that I realized the depth of my idiocy. I had thought that ePortfolio was an actual thing, a service, a repository. I thought the folks at the e-Education Institute used software of some sort to help student clients create portfolios that would reside on servers at and maintained by the Institute. I thought the portfolios sat in the space not in perpetuity, but at least until the students had their careers well under way. At this point I don't have to explain what an ePortfolio actually is- I'm sure everyone else already knows.

Some sort of explanation of my thoughts might help me feel like less of an idiot, though. Every high school student hoping to enter an art program at a University must have a portfolio. It's required for acceptance; you don't get in without one. The portfolio is reviewed regularly as an indication of progress. Every graphic designer I know has a portfolio, and yes, they're all "e". It is the 21rst century after all. From this, I just assumed something new had to be going on. There was also discussion of "moving students away from Dreamweaver as the creation tool" and to me, that meant there were specific tools, templates, and guidance for an ePortfolio. I hand code, and have to design that way; I don't know designers that use Dreamweaver. I didn't realize that some people use the term "Dreamweaver" to mean "create a web page." But wait... I get stupider.

There's an on-going discussion of the publishing capabilities of blog software. Again, I don't use the WYSIWYG capabilities of this blog and don't use it to facilitate displaying content. For me it's much easier to type in bbedit and test on an actual site than to type in the little box and test in a preview mode that has none of my style around it. But a word in my favor- I can see the potential for the environment and am willing to go on faith. I know someone will soon use the MT platform to publish what they think is a great example of a professional portfolio.

But the bottom line is that an eportfolio is just a web page no matter how you generate it. The easiest most "student accessible" method should be our preference and it's looking like Penn State blogs could be that. So sign everybody up, damn it. What's the problem? You'd think we could give them a blog for that IT fee. And a freshman seminar on the importance of representing themselves well online.

I guess we should hope all graduates get jobs in their first six months, too. I really did think Dutton hosted this for a reasonable amount of time. Seemed like such a good idea...

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April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
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