Online Portfolio talk

I have a quest. It’s been my quest from the very start of my career as a journalist/educator. I want to help my students  get good jobs and I want to help them find jobs that will help them stay in the journalism business. First my quest included making all kinds of connections in the broadcast industry. I wanted to know the VP’s of broadcast groups and I wanted to know the News Directors of all of the “good” newsrooms. I wanted to know people who worked in lots and lots of newsrooms so I knew which ones were good and which ones were worth avoiding.

When I took my career into a more technology-based direction, I constructed a new class and added a required online portfolio. I quickly discovered how most of my students did not have a ton of skill using Dreamweaver. So that’s when I decided it was time to expand my view of what can turn into an eportfolio. I recently let go of the “personalized” website structure and now I’m looking for a system of: Get it online no matter what it takes. I have students who use iWeb, Blogger, WordPress and of course Dreamweaver. The hardest part: getting video that is consistent and easy to see online. I’m encouraging my students to use Flash-based video players or I teach them how to create their own Flash players and embed them on their sites. Many of my students are buying their own URLS, some are buying their own server space.

Because my class is in a student’s final year – in some cases, final semester – I have found that introducing the eportfolio concept to them is almost too late. They should be collecting their “assets” much sooner. With us all living in a digital age, almost everything we do can be saved on a server. So the next trick is finding server space where the students can save four years of work in one place.

That’s why I’m on a quest to get the faculty in my school ready to work with a company that can offer students a more complete eportfolio system to save and share their work. It could possibly change the way our students communicate with their professors. The great part is professors may have a better way to truly analyze and critique student work in one space. It’s exhausting to push this inititative forward while I continue to build a three-newsroom election website for the 2008 election year (which is making progress). But I’m committed to getting my students online and ready for the job or internship market. My students have amazing skills and I want them to be able to share it with the world if they want!

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