For the VCU Ed.D. program, the ePortfolio serves at least two purposes:
- Professional digital identity: When a prospective employer does a Google search on you, what will they find? The ePortfolio is a way for you to build an online presence that documents who you are as a learner and a leader. It should be considered as a complement to your CV/resume, if not as your whole CV/resume.
- Assessment: ePortfolios are representations of your “learning life” across the Ed.D. program. As Kumpulainen & Sefton-Green (2014) suggested, when fashioned into a concrete, yet dynamic, narrative, the learning life reflects and facilitates a broader and deeper understanding of learning and the relevance of formal education. Thus, the ePortfolio is a space for you to document your learning across time; it is a way for everyone in the program, including the faculty, to “see” your thinking. ePortfolios are also guiding documents for Formative Assessment 1 and 2.
Given those two main purposes of the ePortfolio, there are a few basic specifications and/or expectations of your ePortfolio:
- Information about you: visitors to your ePortfolio should fairly easily and quickly be able to discover who you are and what your professional credentials are. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but consider at least having an “About” page and/or a page that houses your CV/resume.
- Documentation of learning: your ePortfolio should house artifacts of learning from your time in the Ed.D. program. These might be papers, presentations, videos, blog posts, etc. Again, there are a range of options for how you might display and present these.
- Reflections: your ePortfolio is being built using WordPress, which is open-source software that started as blogging software. But, current estimates have between a quarter to one-third of all sites on the Web built using WordPress. That is, WordPress has become a full-fledged website building platform. Yet, it maintains blogging functionality. You are expected to use that functionality to reflect on your learning throughout the life of your program. You may be asked to blog as part of coursework, and you are expected to blog as you feel moved to do so throughout the program. Did you read something for class and not get an opportunity to fully share your thoughts during class time? Blog it. Did you come across an article related to something you are learning in class and want to share the article along with some thoughts? Blog it. Did you have an experience in your workplace related to something you are learning in class and want to share it along with your thoughts? Blog it. Your blog posts will be aggregated/syndicated to a central hub that serves as a space for conversation beyond face-to-face time together with faculty and students. So, share your thoughts and ideas as you feel moved to do so.
Your challenge, then, is to design and build an ePortfolio in a way that you feel best responds to those purposes and expectations. WordPress is a flexible environment that gives you lots of design freedom. The two major design considerations are the information architecture and the overall appearance of the site. You might think of building your site in the same ways one thinks about building a house. There are basic architectural considerations (How many floors? How many and what kinds of rooms? How will visitors navigate through the home? etc.) and there are aesthetic considerations (What style will the home be? What colors do I want to use? What features will be included? etc.).