Professional Portfolio: Begin with the End in Mind
Each student in the Graduate Program in Training and Development will leave us with a well-designed portfolio that documents the expertise developed in our curriculum. Many of our graduates have told us that their portfolio was essential to their landing a new job or promotion after graduation. Here are just a few additional demonstrated benefits of portfolios:
- A portfolio will help you organize documents. Everything will be in one place, ready for future situations when you may be asked to show what you have accomplished and what you know.
- Portfolios promote the concept of lifelong learning and allow for both formative and summative self-evaluations (Treuer, & Jenson, 2003).
- Learners can participate actively in assessing their strengths, weaknesses, and growth and development over time.
- In academic settings, portfolios facilitate the assessment process. Multiple
- examples of expertise present a richer snapshot of learning.
- Students are no longer mere recipients of information; rather, they construct
- meaning from information and transform it to knowledge (Gathercoal, Love, Bryde, & McKean, 2002).
- A portfolio increases your visibility and will, quite likely, impress those who view it.
Whether you are just beginning your studies, or nearing completion, you should keep thoughts about your portfolio front and center at all times. Newbies can prepare for their final class, TRDV 499: Master’s Portfolio right from the beginning by formulating career goals and connecting those goals to their coursework. Most of the classes you will complete with us have a major project that has the potential for becoming part of your professional portfolio—this makes every class and every assignment important! In TRDV 499 you will revisit those assignments, tying them to the theories you have studied, to form the basis of your portfolio.
Here are strategies you can use to make the portfolio design process simpler and more effective from your first class with us:
- Save your projects. Don’t just save them on your hard drive, but create a back up CD that contains all your assignments from each class that you complete with us.
- Keep theory in mind as you complete your projects. Think about key theorists and research that you have used as you complete each assignment.
- Use APA style for all assignments and develop proficiency throughout your studies with us.
- Consider creating a digital portfolio that you can expand and add to throughout your studies.
Here is a digital portfolio created by a past student: http://www.mgenta.com/
To learn more about web-based portfolios, visit Helen Barrett’s site at http://electronicportfolios.com/
What questions or thoughts do you have about professional portfolios? How might you prepare and use your portfolio in the future?