A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Building a Portfolio

Just like a set is a collection of well-defined objects, a portfolio is a collection of objects intended to show your ability in the field of technical communication. But why is a portfolio needed in the first place? Well, for one, because job ads ask for it.

Writing Technically (2009). Careers>Portfolios


Building a Technical Writing Portfolio  (link broken)

Technical writing is one of the few careers in which building a portfolio can be almost impossible. A technical writing portfolio is not limited by your experience, but by your imagination. And a good imagination is one of the things employers like to see in a technical writer.

Dodson, Linnea. Writer's Block (1999). Careers>Portfolios


Building an NDA-Compliant Portfolio | Tech Writer Today Magazine by TechWhirl

At some point in your technical communications career (and probably at most of them), you will be asked to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before beginning work for an employer or client. Like most professionals, you plan on doing great work, and want to be able to show future employers and clients exactly what kind of technical communications masterpieces you can produce. But you’ve got to sign that NDA, and it’s gnawing at you how you’ll be able to show your capabilities without divulging information that could impact the company that hired you.

Connie Giordano. Techwhirl.com (2011). Careers>Portfolios


Collaborative Portfolio Assessment in the English Secondary School System   (Word)   (peer-reviewed)

In the last decade, several groups in the US have also been working toward performance assessment that is tied to the curriculum and assessed by collaboratively by teachers: the New Standards Project, the College Board Pacesetter Project, and several state assessment projects. This paper describes the English system not as a model to be imitated—there are profound differences in the two societies and their education systems—but as a point of reference, a means of seeing the US system and the recent reform efforts in comparative perspective.

Russell, David R. Iowa State University (1995). Articles>Education>Portfolios


Creating a Winning Portfolio: Tips for Technical Communicators  (link broken)   (PowerPoint)

A competitive market demands job seekers do more than just send out resumes. Portfolios showcasing your work can help sell you to potential employers before, during and after interviews. How many people here have a paper portfolio? How many have an online portfolio?

Janczy, Amy. STC Four Lakes (2003). Careers>Portfolios>TC


Creating Portfolios Easily

Technical Documents don’t exist in isolation. As we are all aware, the norm of the industry is documentation sets. A documentation set contains multiple documents, each with different pagination, formats, page sizes, and any other complexities that you can add to the mix. The only factor that unifies these documents is that they are usually located in the same directory folder; at times the folder is zipped. There is nothing inherently wrong in collecting all the documents and putting them in a folder named “documentation.” But it lacks the WOW factor. Seriously, how glamorous can a text or HTML file be? Even a PDF with multimedia content, cool 3D models, and what not? Can we delight the user with engaging experiences while delivering technical documentation? Moreover, can we also deliver enhanced functionality and flexibility to the user? The answer is yes – PDF Portfolios using Adobe Acrobat.

Yogin, Suhas and Vikrant Rai. Indus (2010). Careers>Portfolios>Online


Creating The Perfect Portfolio

At its core, building an online portfolio is much the same as any other design brief—the only difference is that you are your own client. So as with any design brief, it’s best to begin by asking yourself, “who is my target audience?” Let’s look at two types of portfolios.

Ta'eed, Collis. Digital Web Magazine (2008). Careers>Resumes>Portfolios>Web Design


A Decade of Research: Assessing Change in the Technical Communication Classroom using Online Portfolios   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Over a period of 10 years, we have developed a sustainable process of online portfolio assessment that demonstrates both reliability and validity, using both qualitative and quantitative measures. The sustainable cycle is that, each semester, we assess a random sampling of the students' work that they have posted, as per our instructions, in an online portfolio. During the reading, the faculty score the documents for 11 variables, including writing, content, audience awareness, and document design. We achieved validity by a modified online Delphi that led to a redefinition of the construct of technical communication itself; we achieved reliability by adjudication resulting in adjacent scores. The results of our assessment meet the requirements of ABET and result in a continual cycle of improvement for our technical communication curriculum. Results from three semesters show an improving correlation between the course grade and the overall, holistic portfolio score.

Johnson, Carol Siri. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2006). Academic>Portfolios>TC>Online


Developing a Web-Based Portfolio   (PDF)

Kendus discusses the benefits of online portfolios for job candidates and offers tips on creating them.

Kendus, Steven M. Intercom (2002). Careers>Portfolios>Web Design


Developing an Annotated Portfolio  (link broken)

Maybe you don't have a project that's all your own. Or, maybe you don't have many completed projects to show a prospective employer. But, you do have skills in planning documents, compiling and organizing information, writing, editing, and designing...right? Put those skills to use and create an annotated portfolio of your work that includes excerpts of what you have done, demonstrates your capabilities to develop documents, and makes potential employers look twice. But wait. How can you create a portfolio without actual portfolio pieces? You can, by examining what you have done, examining what skills you've contributed, gathering reader/boss/coworker comments, and developing a cohesive document.

Ray, Deborah S. TECHWR-L (2001). Careers>Portfolios


Developing and Maintaining Your Professional E-Portfolio

This 29-slide PowerPoint presentation addresses the challenges of developing and maintaining a professional electronic portfolio. Beginning with an introduction to the genre and its purposes, the lesson covers aspects of portfolio development from selecting to showcasing pertinent academic and professional documentation. Included are examples from sample portfolios, advice on how to avoid design mistakes, and further resources for setting goals and collecting materials throughout the portfolio process.

conneXions (2008). Careers>Portfolios>Presentations


Diving into the Wonderful World of Web   (PDF)

When asked for my opinion on how to break into the Web world, I usually tell people to volunteer. I was very lucky when beginning my Web career in the early days of the Internet—my Web sites received a lot of good exposure. But when I jumped into self-employment a few years ago, I had to start all over again: I needed to show potential clients what I could do, not what my Web team could do. So I found a poorly designed Web site and offered to redesign it for free (the Oklahoma Indian Times Web site at www.okit.com). OKIT jumped at the offer (to read more about this, see “The Need for Web Site Navigation” in the June 1999 issue of Intercom). A lot of my friends thought I was crazy doing all that work for free. But I needed to build a Web site from scratch so I could give prospective clients an example of my work. Nothing is more convincing than before and after pictures.

Leonard-Wilkinson, Theresa A. Intercom (2001). Careers>Portfolios>Web Design>Volunteering


Electronic Portfolios: For Assessment and Job Search  (link broken)   (PDF)

Electronic portfolios have slipped silently into colleges and universities as effective assessment tools of student work.

Brammer, Charlotte. Association for Business Communication (2007). Articles>Education>Portfolios


Fifty Inspirational Website Introductions

In portfolio web pages, especially in the field of design, one of the first things that you will notice is an introductory text consisting of a few words about the company or the designer behind the site. This can be extremely useful for readers, as it provides quick and direct information about the designer, or the company behind the site. These introductions are generally highlighted by the use of large text, positioned at the top of the site, and always catch the visitor’s eye. They give a more personal feeling to the site and tend to replace the traditional taglines under a logo for example. In this article, we list 50 examples of excellent web page introductions used in portfolio websites that you can use as inspiration for your own designs.

Webdesigner Depot (2009). Careers>Portfolios>Web Design>Writing


How to Create a Portfolio

So, you decide that you would like to create a portfolio. What do you do? Where do you start?

Burnett, Rebecca E. Thomson. Careers>Portfolios>TC


How to Organize a Portfolio

You have collected the pieces you would like to include in your portfolio. You have sorted through your collection and selected your best work. You have made entry cards for each piece to provide a good introduction for each sample. And you are ready to place your work, introduction page, entry cards, section dividers, and give-aways into your new leather portfolio. Where do you start?

Burnett, Rebecca E. Thomson. Careers>Portfolios>Information Design>Card Sorting


Key Content: Developing a Personal Tagline

It is a helpful exercise to develop a tagline for yourself, in the same way that professionals in a previous generation were encouraged to develop a mission statement. With shortening attention spans, today's professional needs only a few-word tagline to fit in the sound bite of management's smaller time slots.

Albing, Bill. Carolina Communique (2007). Careers>Portfolios>Workplace>Collaboration


The Pedagogical and Programmatic Issues of Incorporating ePortfolios  (link broken)

The field of technical communication is in many ways inscribed by technology. As a result, technical communication programs not only must provide students with a foundation in the theory and practice of the field, but also must give students some level of proficiency in the technology tools they will need to put that knowledge into service in the workplace.

Dubinsky, Jim. CPTSC Proceedings (2003). Academic>Portfolios



A portfolio is a collection of materials you have created. You will present five or six substantial samples of your work, each one prefaced with a statement that explains the circumstances under which you created it, as well as an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Boise State University. Academic>Portfolios


The Portfolio

When reviewing a job applicant's portfolio, different interviewers have different criteria by which they judge the applicant's previous work. Some interviewers may be looking for very specific applications or specialty skills; others may be looking for evidence of a generalist who can do many types of work; still others may be looking for work that exhibits the company's priorities or goals. Some guidelines to keep in mind when developing a work portfolio include the following.

Gillis, Tamara. IABC (2006). Careers>Portfolios


The Portfolio as a Strategic Marketing Tool

The Contractor SIG's Annual Portfolio Review was held Tuesday, February 19 at the Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center in Portland with the objective of providing a valuable opportunity to find out how to improve one's portfolio. The focus of the event was balanced not only by a review of winning portfolio characteristics, but also a look at techniques for using the portfolio as a sales tool. Attendees were given the opportunity to show and receive feedback on their own sets of samples.

Vellek, Rolf. STC Williamette Valley (2002). Careers>Portfolios


Portfolio in Technical Communication   (PDF)

The Technical Communication Certificate requires you to keep portfolios of your work in TCC communication courses. When completing the TCC, you will then draw from these course portfolios to create a portfolio that represents your work throughout the curriculum.

University of Wisconsin. Careers>Portfolios>TC


Portfolios Across the Curriculum: Whole School Assessment in Kentucky   (peer-reviewed)

When the Kentucky Supreme Court declared the public education system unconstitutional in 1989 and the legislature passed the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) to revamp the existing system, we Kentucky English teachers became involved in the broadest reform ever attempted by any state in the nation. As part of the reform, a yearly state-wide performance-based assessment of each school was instituted in 1991. Along with other components, the assessment included a writing portfolio, holistically-graded by teachers in each school, that would count 14% in the total assessment.

Moore, Lizabeth and David R. Russell. English Journal, The (2001). Academic>Portfolios>Assessment


Portfolios for Independent UX Designers

As an independent UX designer, what should I have in my portfolio to gain the most consulting contracts?

Six, Janet M. UXmatters (2011). Careers>Portfolios>User Experience


Portfolios for Technical Communicators: Worth the Work   (PDF)

Scott describes a professional portfolio and examines common items every portfolio should contain. She clarifies the difference between portfolios for experienced professionals and those for students. The article includes some employers' recommendations for successful portfolios.

Scott, Julie S. Intercom (2000). Careers>Portfolios



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