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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Online (Web, CD, digital, electronic) portfolios are an important and emerging tool for technical communicators. Creation, design, and distribution, as well as stylistic concerns, are critical issues in the development of an online portfolio. This paper provides suggestions for preparing an online portfolio and is the result of information gained from an online survey of working technical communicators.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune last year suggests that technology workers need a variety of skills that include soft skills--good communication skills and the ability to work in teams.
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.
E-portfolios collect samples of technical communication on a CD or a website. They offer more presentation options than the traditional hardcopy portfolio. While the construction differs from the traditional portfolio, the purpose and principles of design and content remain the same.
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.
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?
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.
In the twenty-first century, technical communicators are discovering that portfolios (electronic and/or paper) are indispensable career tools. Portfolios have many uses because they contain a variety of documents that have been developed with the tools and skills claimed on the resume. In addition, portfolios can be instrumental in getting a promotion or winning a contract.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.