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Web Literature and Review

This web design tutorial project has evolved over years of research, development, and practice. The references section includes monographs as well as Web re- sources that will give a view of the wide range of data referred to during the development of this text. In this section, I would like to discuss some Web data I found that is particularly relevant to helping you understand the Web portfolio process. The Web portfolio process is a subjective process with varying objective guidelines which are particular to discipline, that drive the creative activity of developing a Web portfolio. One thing that all academic research and publishing projects have in common is that the information that they are based drives and supports the project is emergent.


The data surrounding electronic and Web portfolios is evolving at rapid speeds which cause researchers to search for patterns over time. One pattern is evident, more and more institutions and people are embracing electronic portfolio on the World Wide Web. A search for Web portfolios on Google turned up some interesting cases that focused on academia and commerce. This growth is found not only in academia as you might expect, but also in business, especially human resource development.


There are numerous companies selling Web portfolios to executives, job seekers, and academics. The trend will obviously continue as the world becomes flatter and masses of people worldwide “become digital”. Human resource departments are geared to rely more and more on Web portfolios to provide a clearer picture of an applicant or a vendor. The Web portfolio will provide a professional appearance for job seekers and companies looking to engage in business.


As I sorted through hundreds of portfolios, my general observations included many poorly designed Web portfolios that were content abundant. I also found that the processes in place for asset collection were dominant in most Web portfolio sites in both academic and business categories. I found many sites providing recommendations on what a Web portfolio should be. Reflection on accomplishments was also a central theme common to Web portfolio develop- ment recommendations. Design of Web portfolio sites was only discussed at academic or business Web resource sites that catered to target markets or audiences of students who were artists, designers, and photographers.


That is what I find interesting; the artists who have design training are getting the design directions while the people who are not formally trained in art and design are getting most of their help in content collection. 


In response to that problem statement, I try to cover all of these bases in this web design tutorial to help with the major stages of Web portfolio development and to provide a broad overview of many approaches and techniques associated with successfully creating a Web portfolio that fits your specific needs and goals. Let us look at some different approaches to Web portfolio programs and activities found on the Web.


Google’s 4,550,000 hits revealed to me that the Web portfolio is becoming an enigma that has evolved into a trend which will gain momentum and become common practice in academia, professional, and personal environments. Web portfolios are integrated in society on infant levels in many disciplines; however activities on the Web reveal a wealth a valuable resources and programs that need to be discussed in this text. Here are few interesting ideas and approaches that illustrate why Web portfolios are important as vehicles for lifelong learning, assessment, and marketability and how they are challenging students and faculty to respond to the demands of societal Web portfolio integration.

Lifelong Learning

On its Web site, I found that Wofford College in South Carolina has developed a sound student Web portfolio program centered on developing a timeline of activities that align with the students’ academic life span at the college. The development process outlined on the Wofford Web site gives students guided approaches to content development  for academic, personal, and professional categories that span over freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years.


The Web portfolio is presented metaphorically as two components: a file cabinet and a briefcase, the file cabinet being a place for storage of work and the briefcase being a place for presentation of work. The program neatly breaks down a timeline of activities for the students to help them keep on track with the Web portfolio development process through their college career.


In addition, the process makes the student practice Web portfolio development activities from their freshmen year, it does not assume that Web portfolio skills are need only in junior and senior years. I found this approach very thoughtful in helping students succeed because it takes the somewhat takes the respon- sibility out the students hands and transfers it to the university in making the student portfolio an institutional learning objective with measurable outcomes.


The portfolio has become a premier tool for assessment. Outcomes assess- ments provide tangible evidence of student growth and learning. Many univer- sities have adopted Web portfolio programs for the purpose of assessment. Although the benefits of Web portfolios reach far beyond assessment, this use is a good one because it forces people to embrace the use of Web portfolios. One such example is found at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.


Found on a page governed by academic affairs and the provost, the university has in effect a policy document that outlines and is titled “Plan for Assessment of Student Academic Achievement, Baccalaureate Portfolio Project”. This project requires students to publish a Web portfolio consisting of 12 of their best papers for projects completed during their coursework at the college.


The school must have realized that creating Web portfolios might be a tough sell to students. Although the Web portfolios will benefit the students greatly in the future, they may be perceived as extra work. So the clever program adminis- trator added this statement to the academic policy: “Except for completing a brief cover sheet for each submission, and then uploading the paper to your Web portfolio, you do nothing in addition to your regular course work.” I was amused by that statement and a bit concerned.


The importance of content in the Web portfolio must go beyond a dozen artifacts. However, the university in the Web page states that the Web portfolio is beneficial. The premise of the benefits are based on the fact that more and more employers and graduate schools expect graduates to present more than transcripts and letters of recommendation; they often want to see specific examples of what you have learned and learned how to do.


They add that “keeping a portfolio also allows you to monitor your progress and development at UW-Eau Claire. You will be able to look back over your academic work and literally see your growth and learning”. The benefits of the Web portfolio need to be promoted before making students feel at ease.


A portfolio must be looked at as something of value for the student not just another assignment to be completed for a course grade. However, the university senate created an action in 2001 that has required students to participate in some sort of assessment which may include “interviews, focus groups, surveys, or portfolios”. The University of Wisconsin provides a good example of how Web portfolios have been mandated in education. Eventually, Web portfolios will be mandated as tools for success in society. The level of assessment will go beyond academia and deep into all professions.


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