Big ePortfolio Workshop Day

As I promised on Monday, today we’ll be looking at portfolios and offering comments to other people in a portfolio workshop.  The goal is to “read” the portfolio like you would a piece of writing, commenting on “how it works.”

Sit in groups of 3-4 and click on other people’s portfolios.  Scan through all of the pages!  And read the material you find there, ESPECIALLY the reflective material that should bind everything together.

Then talk to the author about what you see!  Focus on these things:

  • Design seems strong, with all materials organized logically
  • Front page is an introduction to the writer and their work
  • Menu is orderly and gives you easy access to the writer’s most important or meaningful work
  • Visuals are appealing, making you want to stay on each page longer
  • Ease of use means it’s easy to get around, in a minimum of clicks

In this portfolio, can you see evidence of:

  • Reflection about the writers and their development as writers?
  • Discussions of attention and what they learned about it?
  • Revision of essays and projects?
  • An authentic voice, someone who’s more than a student?
  • Connections to material outside this class (2x) and outside school (2x)?
  • Digital design skills?

Offer each portfolio builder some extensive notes on what you’re seeing in their portfolio: what you think is effective, what you like, and what you might work on or improve.  Offer suggestions about how to do that!

Here’s another way to make things look good on your site.

Here are some (I hope) handy examples of ways to lay out materials on your WordPress site.  The goal is to make ePortfolios pretty!  Or at least to show there’s a design at work.  Check these ideas out as you start to pull material together and reflect on it!

First, when I say:

Links to GDocs are nice but boring.  Consider embedding your Google Docs on your ePortfolio site with this one simple trick.

Here’s an example of how to do that.

  1. Open a Google Doc that you own.  Make sure you’re signed in!
  2. Go to Edit–>Publish to the web
  3. Read the popup window, select “Embed,” and click the blue button titled “Publish.”
  4. Copy the embed code you are given.
  5. Go back to your site!
  6. Open the editing screen for the page you want the embed to appear on
  7. At the top right corner of the edit screen, find the “Visual” and “Text” bookmarks and toggle to “Text.”
  8. Paste the embed coding where you want it to appear.  Note: this is HTML/XML coding, the language in which all websites are written.  It looks weird!  But it’s not scary.  Just dump the embed anywhere, no worries.
  9. Then toggle back to “Visual” so you can see how it looks

The result should be something like this below, which I did to our assignments page.


You may need to adjust the width of the embed screen to make it look right.  Look for this bit of code in the “Text”:

/pub?embedded=true” width=”700″ height=”150″

And change the width and height numbers to fit the layout of your website.

Another thing I mentioned was:

Some of this reflective writing could appear in an About Me page.  But more of it should appear throughout the portfolio, as mini-introductions to what you’re showing us.  Use them throughout your ePortfolio!  Again, consider doing a screen-capture.  Think of “Introduce–>Screencap or Pic–>Discussion” as a template for in-portfolio reflections.

What would that look like?

Well, instead of just giving me a link that looks like this

Here’s my paper:

Or this

Or even this

Here’s my paper

Consider doing something like this:

I also did a lot of revision in this class, as you can see below:

Here the revision was geared toward making my point that [X] was a central part of tutoring writing.  I added this section in order to connect to Mark Hall’s assertion that “Valued Practices” keeps tutor inquiry open and mentorship a form of exploration.

C wut I did ther? Consider taking some “screen captures” of the words or paragraphs you’re particularly proud of and adding them visually to your site.

Then by clicking the “Add Media” button in the upper left hand corner of the edit screen, I was able to add a .jpg into my text. (If you haven’t already uploaded the screencap or other image to your WordPress site, just click “Upload Files” when you’re taken to that screen.  Find it on your computer and add it.)

Then, as in a magazine, what I write surrounds and contextualizes the picture, whatever it turns out to be.

I’d suggest using a technique like this for showing your audience:

  • The kinds of revision you did on your own papers
  • The kinds of comments you made on other people’s work

And introducing:

  • Papers from outside ENGL 130
  • Things you’ve made, done, written, or participated in outside college

These are two ways to start building an engaging site for your artifacts. It starts with making your writing MORE VISUAL, and VISUALLY DESIGNING your ePortfolio for your audience.

There are more–stay tuned!


Hey! I'm a professor of Rhetoric and Writing in the English dept. at Chico State. Also disc golf player, indie music listener, and vanilla Marxist.

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