Monday, February 25, 2008

Deciding on a format for my ePortfolio

Choosing a portfolio platform

I have decided to develop an ePortfolio for several reasons which I wrote about yesterday. A further impetus to get going on this project came from Michele Martin in her post "Job Searching the Web 2.0 Way: Setting up an Online Portfolio". In this post, Michele talks about using Wikispaces as the platform for a working portfolio. I have decided to take her advice because Wikispaces is free and relatively easy to use. I know there are a number of ePortfolio platforms as discussed by 'Science of the Invisible' but I do not have the time or inclination at the moment to explore these in any great depth. I believe that eventually the various health regulatory councils in New Zealand will develop their own portfolio platforms such as dentistry. However, as Michele reminded me yesterday, keeping my own ePortfolio allows me to maintain 100% control over what and how I write.

Deciding on a format

My initial format for my ePortfolio has been based around functions or activities such as work experience, presentations, publications and so on. Then Michele reminded me of the other option of basing it around competencies or skills. Knowing that the trend currently is for employers and organizations to take a competency-based approach to recruitment, employment and review, I am wondering if I should do the same with my portfolio. I am still undecided about this.

Integrating Reflection into my ePortfolio

Reflecting on one's experience is a vital part of a portfolio and is what makes it more than a CV or resume. This is where learning occurs, and needs for further development are identified (Hull & Redfern, 1996). But at this point I am a little unsure about how to integrate my reflection in a crisp, succinct way that does not bore the reader to tears and generate too much material for readers to wade through before they get to the information they are looking for.

One way to do this is to integrate my blog with my portfolio ie use my blog to reflect on the activities I am describing in my portfolio. At the same time my blog post becomes an artifact that can be incorporated into my portfolio. At the moment I am writing about activities in the wiki page and putting my reflections in the 'discussion' page. But I agree with Michele who felt I should make my reflections visible on the activities page and invite comments in the discussion page.

What is clear to me is that this is going to take a little sorting and gives real meaning to the phrase 'living document'. So any feedback about how I should construct my portfolio and what works well will be gratefully received.


Hull, C & Redfern, L. (1996). Profiles and Portfolios. A guide for nurses and midwives. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.

Image: 'Golden Morning Reflections'


Damian said...

I really like Wikispaces, and use it for a lot of purposes, including my own portfolio. However, I know nothing about CSS or "pretty-fying" the layout, and in my opinion, Wikispaces is very functional, but hardly much to look at right out of the box.

I found that Wikidot is a similar wiki service that has a little more going for it visually. I still think Wikispaces beats it for ease of use, but for a wiki that will be functioning primarily as a traditional website, it makes for a nice alternative (and they allow you to use custom domains for free, a service for which Wikispaces charges, even teachers).

Here's my new portfolio (or at least where it will be, it's still quite under construction).

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you so much for the feedback, Damian. I agree that wikispaces could look better but I am happy to 'play' with it for the time being. If/when someone comes up with something better (that is free and easily accesible), hopefully all I have to do is 'cut and paste'. I also need to model something easy for students and midwives to use, if they decide to do a similar thing.

Thank you very much for showing me your portfolio. I am very familiar with 'paper' formats in midwifery & nursing but not so sure what can be done online. Sarah

Sarah Stewart said...

Just looked at your wikispaces portfolio, and the thing that you have done that I really liked is put pages within pages - I must learn how to do that because it may solve a format issue.

Michele Martin said...

@Damien--thanks for the links to your eportfolios and to Wikidot. I have to agree that Wikidot definitely gives you a nicer look than Wikispaces. I'm experimenting with different portfolio strategies and formats, so it's helpful to see examples and what's working and not working for people.

Sarah--I'm really glad that you're blogging about your process here and agree that the reflection piece of it is really important.

In terms of creating something succinct, etc.--two things that may help. One is what I think I mentioned yesterday, which is having a working portfolio for yourself that has everything in it, and then setting up individual presentation portfolios that are essentially subsets of your main portfolio that can be used for specific purposes. That way you can select the best examples of whatever story you're trying to tell about yourself.

The second thing to think about is the fact that you ARE telling stories about yourself in the sense that you want people to get a particular picture of who you are and how you do your work. So try to decide on the main messages or themes you want to get across and then look for specific examples that illustrate those themes. That gives you a way to focus what you present.

Just a couple of thoughts. . . This is great stuff!

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Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Roshill, thank you very much for popping by. Best wishes for your blogging journey. Sarah

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Michele, thanks a lot for your suggestions. I really like your idea of the two portfolios - a working one and a presentation one. At the moment, I just want to get it all put down, which clearly is going to take quite some time especially as I am really busy with other more 'important' things.

The other thing I have been thinkng about is that I may need a midwifery portfolio that is concentrating on my requirements to stay registered, and a professional portfolio that I use for career development and advancement. But like I say, one step at a time.

Debbie said...

Hi Sarah

Look forward to reading more about your e-portfolio developments, and hopefully be able to contribute to the discussion in your blog - once I have cleared my 'to do' list.


Sarah Stewart said...

Hello Debbie, That would be fabulous if you could drop by-I'll be very interested in what you say about ePortfolios. Thanks.