Everyone should curate a collection of his/her best works online to form a digital portfolio that is easily shareable. This depository can host assignments from all fields. For example students can showcase how-to videos videos they created. Professionals can display exemplar photos such as the best way to execute a specific movement in the case of a trainer. Scientists can publish their reflection on experiments. The list of examples is long and in an upcoming article we will share more of your best ideas.
Today I want to show you the most important ideas to keep in mind as you set out to build a digital portfolio online.
Benefits of Digital Portfolios for Students
Four main benefits for students are noteworthy:
- Path to improvement – Students can use their portfolio to reflect upon strengths and weaknesses and ways to improve.
- Academic identities – Portfolios help students discover and build their academic identities by connecting learning across courses and times.
- Independent learners – They develop the ability of students to learn independently and to self-assess. A digital portfolio is the basis that allows students to claim ownership on their learning experience (Miller, 2009)
- Global citizens – Compiling works on a digital platform enables students to engage in global discussions with peers from across the world.
Benefits of Digital Portfolios for Faculty
Faculty’s benefits are just as remarkable:
- Map of improvements – the original goal of all students portfolio obviously applies to digital media in that it gives teachers access to a record of a student across years to witness their improvements in multiple areas, and most specifically in writing.
- Vertical alignment – They can use students artifacts to visualize the vertical alignment of curriculum across grades.
- Panorama of assignments – Through their websites, a teacher can quickly visualize the students experience with specific types of assignments. Understanding their level of proficiency, in turn allows for differentiated instructions.
- Showcase of exemplar works – Especially for teachers who curate their own website, nothing improves the quality of an assignment more than a clear gallery of previous exemplar works. On my teacher website, this showcase of students work build up excitement for upcoming assignments and boosted students to try to do better than those who came before them.
Choose a great platform to publish your content so you do not have to move your digital portfolio or worse, split it across multiple websites
Choose A Website For Your Digital Portfolio
Across an organization, the adoption by all of a common platform is the keystone to successfully build professional digital portfolios. At KAS, we chose WordPress as the engine powering the 900+ websites of the Share@KAS portal. Considering that WordPress, born in 2003 is a free and open source content management system which now powers a quarter of all known website, we feel confident of the perennity of the skill-set which students will learn by using this platform (W3 Techs, 2016).
An example of an article published in a digital portfolio
Once you have learned the fundamentals about creating a website at Share@KAS (hint: it is as easy as clicking login in the top left corner) and you know how to add and manage content within the WordPress interface, I would argue that the last and most important piece to master is how to create a well organized navigation system for the website.
The Most Important Part Of A Portfolio: A Navigation System
With a simple menu, visitor’s to the site will be able to quickly browse through many years of articles in a portfolio. Let’s look at an example of menu for a student digital portfolio.
After pooling all the teachers who use students websites in their classes on a regular basis, the system which Gene Chagaris proposed is clearly the most adequate. Gene urged us to use a simple menu organized by grade, then subjects.
With a simple menu, visitor’s to the site will be able to quickly browse through many examples of your work in your portfolio.
The alternative (subjects, then grade) did not allow for enough fluidity across schools where subjects may be broken down into different sections (e.g. Reading and Writing in Elementary School which become Language Arts in Middle School).
What Should You Add To A Menu
All publishing platforms will allow you to quickly create a menu. Ideally, your navigation menu should be at the top of the website so your visitors can find it without frustration. This is an example of a great menu indexing Ashley’s website and what it took on the backend to build its many layers of:
This menu which looks simple at first glance, allows a great depth of exploration. Any visitor will quickly gain access to all the articles you published.
Another Essential Piece: the About Me Page
Finally but just as important to any visitor of a website, the About Me page brings the viewer a human context and relevance to what they are about to read.
Let people know who you are to give an authentic feel to your website
It is invariable the first page I click on when I land on a website so I can learn more about its publisher. Don’t forget to write and About Me Page and make it visible in your digital portfolio
Build Your Portfolio with WordPress
If you are ready to build your portfolio, we wrote the perfect guide to WordPress teach you everything you need to know about this web publishing platform:
Where’s Your Portfolio
Do you already have a digital portfolio? Do you want us to give you some feedback on it? Share its link in the comment section below!
- Miller, Ross. “The Benefits of E-portfolios for Students and Faculty in Their Own Words.” Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List. Stanford Center For Teaching and Learning, 2009. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.
- “Usage Statistics and Market Share of WordPress for Websites.” W3 Techs – Web Technology Surveys. 2016. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.