Create@USQ students and staff to create blogs, portfolios, learning resources and websites using easy to learn WordPress tools.
Getting started with a Create@USQ WordPress Portfolio
The Create@USQ initiative utilises WordPress as an alternative to Mahara for student Portfolios due to its relative ease of use and blogging/website building capacity. Create@USQ multi-site WordPress installation is hosted externally by CampusPress who also provide user support for staff and students.
Read more about the 2021 WordPress Pilot for student portfolios.
– User Guide – Starting and developing your WordPress portfolio.
– Teacher Guide – Implementing WordPress portfolios into your course.
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a digitised collection of artefacts, and reflections purposefully compiled to share one’s skills, achievements and reflections. In an ever challenging and competitive world a portfolio is part of your personal and professional branding. It should tell the story of you and your learning and professional journey. It may be linked to assessment and also provide long-term storage for your work and accomplishments leading to employability advantages.
Creation of a portfolio requires some technology mastery to digitise artefacts and design the online resource. It also involves evaluation of personal beliefs, philosophies, and objectives and sharing these in clear, informative and productive ways. The actual contents of a portfolio will depend on you.
Watch the video below for more information.
The 4 stages of portfolio development include: collect, select, reflect and connect.
Collect – a range of evidence including media-rich artefacts from your learning and experiences.
Select – critically select key artefacts that share meaningful evidence of your growth, attainments and professional standing
Reflect – include reflection and share narratives of ideas and experiences that have influenced your transformation.
Connect – look for points of connection among your artefacts, experiences, and reflections, to construct and present the “brand” of you.
Why create a portfolio?
Here are seven good reasons why portfolio creation is important. Starting a portfolio early in your degree and sustaining it through professional life is a good habit to adopt.
- Helps you craft and present evidence-based and professional knowledge, skills and dispositions.
- Reveals your employability through sharing carefully selected artefacts and reflections that identify skills and competencies.
- Shares your CV.
- Enhances your digital and online literacy which are also good employability skills.
- Stores such items as documents, photos, videos or links that have meaning to you.
- Supports your ‘brand of me’ customisation and personalisation and how you want to promote yourself to others.
- Helps foster global connections and networks through sharing experiences and career development.
Watch this video to learn more.
Portfolios and personal branding
A portfolio is a space for:
- Understanding and recording professional learning
- Critical reflection and writing
- Developing a professional biography and career timeline
- Personal branding
Personal branding immediately tells us who a person is and where their expertise lies. It provides a perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements. The Home and About me pages of a portfolio are key areas to share information that shares a point of difference as part of personal branding.
Reflection and portfolio development
Reflection and portfolio development
Reflection involves describing, analysing and evaluating our thoughts, assumptions, beliefs, and actions. It includes:
- Looking forward
- Looking at what we are doing now
- Looking back
Studies have shown the process of reflection increases competency and enhances professional growth leading to expanded employability. A portfolio is an important space to reflect upon personal and professional identity with a goal of creating an online representation of the narratives around these.
To scaffold reflection, Rolfe et al (2001) provides a model using: What | So What | Now What
- WHAT? The first stage is a mere description of what happened and of the experience you would like to analyse and take forward for your own learning.
- SO WHAT? Once the description has been completed carefully you should ask yourself what the experience and situation means.
- NOW WHAT? Consider the steps you will be taking in order to improve your practice and learn from the initial experience.
The reflective model according to Gibbs (1998) is based on several stages, during which you are required to answer questions in order to go as deep as possible with your reflections.
Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle is a six-step structured process where you:
- describe what happened
- discuss feelings
- evaluate and analyse the experience
- draw conclusions and
- develop an action plan if faced with the same situation in the future.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Gibbs, G. (1998) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford. https://www.nicole-brown.co.uk/reflective-model-according-to-gibbs/
Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D. and Jasper, M. (2001). Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. https://www.nicole-brown.co.uk/reflective-model-according-to-rolfe/
Student online portfolios to support reflective learning and employability
An important focus of the student online portfolio initiatives at USQ is student employability through sharing evidence of growth and reflective learning. For the USQ Learning and Teaching Showcase in early November, 2021 this presentation shared key details on portfolios in general alongside a number of exemplar student portfolios created in 2021.
The video below is a mockup of this presentation without the exemplar demo. You can access the slides HERE.
Below the video is a short list of exemplar School of Education students who have given permission for their portfolios to be shared.
How can a portfolio support employability?
Research has shown portfolio development in conjunction with reflective practice:
- increases competency
- enhances professional growth
- leads to expanded employability.