ePortfolio Reflections

At the beginning of the semester I thought that the ePortfolio would be the easiest project of the course. I imagined myself uploading content with minimal formatting, all done in a day. I thought I could just drag in a few photos and upload a few documents and put my name on it and be done. But that was not the case at all.

This project was way more difficult than I expected, but not in a bad way. I struggled with design and layout and making the entire site cohesive despite the different content I put on the site. I felt like nothing was ever centered or looked exactly how I wanted. Most of that frustration was because of the differences depending on screen size. I didn’t know that was an issue until we started working on them in class. I probably spent half an hour in front of my lap top and a big desktop computer going make and forth by the millimeter trying to get the title of one page centered.

After doing all of that, I had to let go. I accepted that everything may not be centered, but it all the text boxes would be roughly how I wanted them to look. If I could, that is something I would keep working on but I think it would make me go cross-eyed. I also plan on working on my home page more. It opens on some recent information about me and a date and time it was updated. I am going to update that as it changes, although it hasn’t changed in a while. I have been too busy with the end of the semester and now finals to read or visit new places. I hope that changes over break and I can update my page soon.

Despite the little imperfections, I am happy with my ePortfolio. I think that it has a good balance of showing my personality and showing my work. I really like having a place to put all of my work that isn’t my documents folder. It is as personal or professional as I want to make it, and now that I have spent a good amount of time working with Wix, I feel like I could change that easily. If I wanted to make it more professional I could easily make those adjustments, and the same with making it more personal. Going forward, I want to add an internships tab where I include posts and pictures from internships past and present. This is taking it in a more professional direction but it is still personal depending on how I write the posts and what pictures I include.

http://shanvail.wix.com/miwportfolio

ePortfolio = Improving Self-Worth

Wow, I didn’t know throwing a bunch of words and pictures onto a webpage could increase my sense of self-worth. I have done a substantial amount of creative writing and visual artwork on my own, but have never really been able to express to people how important creativity is to my life. My ePortfolio allowed me to share the creative side of me with other people. Somehow, by writing my ideologies down, it all just became more real to me.

 

Of course, navigating through a new platform (Wix) also helped me to become more tech savvy–which happened to be one of major goals for undergrad. I’m really proud of myself for being able to learn how to dream a webpage and then build it. Although I most definitely had frustrating moments with Wix. The placement of things didn’t always seem super intuitive, but I powered through. And after about the seventh try, it was smooth coasting.

 

So more on the website itself.

Visual aesthetics has always always been very important to me. I’m very pleased with how I was able to format everything, add background images, and display my artwork on my Visual Arts page. Because this website served to paint an accurate portrayal of myself and the creative work I have done, I chose to present myself in a more casual and playful manner. This especially shows through on my About page.
Check it out: http://minna96.wix.com/eportfolio

It’s About Life, and Style is Just an Option

The quote in the title is actually about surfing (something I happen to be horrendously bad at), but I thought it fit into the context of writing too. Writing isn’t a lifestyle, it’s a life where style is just an option.

I can’t believe this semester is already over, it really felt like it flew by. The ePortfolio took more work than I imagined when I undertook the project. Mostly that’s because there are so many options it’s easy to get lost in designing your website for hours on end. The first difficult task was choosing a layout – but luckily Wix has tons clean and professional templates to choose from. I knew I wanted something clean and image-heavy that had a lot of white space.

Once I found the template, another difficult task was choosing all of extracurricular work that I wanted to add to my portfolio. I definitely wanted to be selective (especially with my academic work) but I also wanted to show that I am a well rounded writer who can write in multiple genres and disciplines. With the help of my peers, I figured out some stylistic situations that I originally felt hindered the audience’s experience. For example, I wanted a PDF version of my academic papers to open in a new window when the viewer clicked a particular image. Once I worked out these initial kinks, the rest was pretty straightforward in terms of design and layout.

Through the course of the semester I came to see the ePortfolio itself as a rhetorical composition, which made the project both challenging and really fun. I think the most challenging part for me ended up being the reflexive comments – I wanted to strike a balance between saying what I needed to say and keeping the layout clean and not bogged down by text.

Ultimately, I’m so happy with the way it turned out! I’m really proud of myself for conquering another technology and developing a new skill. I also think it was really rewarding to create a space for all of the work of done in the past 2.5 years, it really made me see how far I’ve come as a writer. I definitely plan on using it in a professional setting, but I hope that it also reflects who I am as person.

Check it out: http://ldiamond5.wix.com/laurendiamond

 

Lessons from Kanye

I watched Kanye’s Oxford speech recently.

He was talking about his inspirations and journey throughout his career and at one point he said something like, “We’re all creators, we all have the ability to create.” It got me thinking about the definition of art. Art is so much more than just painting hung up in a gallery. The dictionary defines is as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination” and Kanye West was right. We are all creative thinkers. Just last night at our ePort showcase, no two people had an even remotely similar portfolio even though we all used Wix and had a checklist of requirements to include. This kind of spoke to me. It made me think about how we’re all basically walking bodies of art. No wonder we have fingerprints. That’s how I viewed the ePort: a digital fingerprint, a body of art, a reflection of individuality. 

I’ve never made an ePortfolio before or even used Wix, so I was super excited to do that. It was a weird experience thinking about how I wanted to present myself online; it made me contemplate everything. “Is that font me?” “Are those color schemes reflective of my charming personality?” I included a variety of things on the portfolio besides the required assignments: drawings, a poem I’d written, and pictures of family to go with the “body of art” theme. Here’s the finished work:

http://www.balicl.wix.com/lorenabalic

On an end note, it’s sad to think that this class flew by! Especially because it was becoming one of my normal routines to go to our USB classroom. The one thing that separates the Gateway course from my other classes is that I wanted to learn. The freedom we were granted with our assignments was addicting. It’s like, when I knew I could create practically anything, I wanted to do good and I wanted to make my projects great. And through that liberation, I learned so much more about writing and communicating in general. I encourage everyone to take the class. I hope it pushes you how it pushed me, and I hope you leave with a better sense your fingerprint.

-Lorena

An ePortfolio by Person In-Progress

I remember the end of college applications. I took all of my admissions essays and bundled them together in a neat folder with an owl on it. “Yes,” I said, “this is my baby.”

After clicking the submit button for my gateway ePortfolio, my first thought was “Gee! And I thought college apps was a lot of writing.”

I’m really thankful for having the opportunities that this class has given me: improving my writing by working with a topic that interesting, working with a cohort of amazing writers and people, and being taught by a great teacher that cares.

I feel like I’ve grown so much as a writer in the past few months. With a science major, I so used to working to deadline after deadline. It was refreshing to think that all my work being in progress. I remember spending a bit of time trying to figure out what my topic for the class would be and ended up changing it the next week. But that was okay; my work was in-progress. I submitted a second re-purposing draft that I wasn’t sure of. But it was okay; that was in-progress too. This class reminded me that after my classes, that’s not the end. There’s still more that I can learn, more than I can improve. While I’ve just turned in my ePortfolio, to be honest, I’m probably going to keep working on it in the near future before turning it in to study abroad and fellowship committees.

I’ll always be growing, and I find that thrilling. If you’d like to my progress, my ePortfolio lives here!

Ta-Ta For Now!

I procrastinated writing this blog post because I couldn’t bear to admit that this semester is coming to an end. While I won’t deny my excitement about the napping, Netflix binge-watching, and sugar cookie overload that will soon unfold as I return home for the holidays, I am sad to say goodbye to the gateway course. But have no fear—we’ll be back for the capstone course in no time!

I don’t know what I’ll miss more about this course: our free-spirited classroom dynamic or the fact that Shelley’s emails would instantly brighten my day. Through Writing 220, I saw unparalleled personal, professional, written and multi-modal growth in myself and in my peers. What started as a class of twenty-odd strangers quickly became a close-knit cohort of students, all of whom are uniquely passionate and equally driven. I can’t pin-point exactly what it was about this course that made it so magical, but there was definitely magic in that classroom air.

I am very proud of my ePortfolio. What I’m most proud, however, is that it is nowhere near what I had envisioned it to be in the beginning of the semester. I feel that this is a testament to my strength as a writer; I was open-minded to revision, to cutting something loose and starting from scratch, to feedback and constructive criticism, and to risk-taking. Yes, this semester presented many twists and turns with regard to my writing, but in the end, my ePortfolio wasn’t what I had hoped it would be…it was BETTER! For that, I owe a huge thanks to Shelley and my Writing 220 team for cheering me on every step of the way 🙂

 

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http://petecaro.wix.com/portfolio15 : That’s Explicit

As much as I’ve come to love reflective writing this past semester, it is more than music to my ears that this will be the last of it for the term.  Almost all of my projects have involved reflective writing and yes, I’ve enjoyed it but I can not wait to be able to learn through other writing means during the next semester!

Anyways, I am here to talk about my ePortfolio.  This piece was in fact a roller coaster in itself.  I had the awesome chance to express my more creative and design driven talents within a medium that I had never explored before.  Wix makes building a website look super easy.  And it is!! But filling it with content is a whole other ballgame in a whole new ballpark.

So I faced a couple of rather significant challenges within the ePortfolio project.  The first was the complexities of format.  I was constantly thinking about how someone would go about using my website and what path they would take from point A to point B without me explicitly saying to travel in that path (which I did resort to on a few occasions).

My next challenge was working within the limitations of the PDF file reader.  I worked through a number of different platforms to find a way to display my 50 to 70 page long PDF files until I finally came across one that actually worked.  It was named Issuu and this is the platform you will find on my site for all of my large file projects and design portfolio.

Besides these two hardships, I struggled with the passing of time.  It seemed like I could sit in front of my laptop for an entire day just playing and dabbling with this site and never even realize that an amount of time had passed by.  Of all of the projects, I most enjoyed putting together the ePortfolio because I love to conduct presentation and work with orientation of information.  I found the task and assignment particularly relaxing; yes, I said it, the ePortfolio was stress relieving for me to create.  It takes a lot of work and time, but it is such a rewarding piece to carry with me where ever I need it in these next few years.

My portfolio isn’t particularly formal.  In fact, it’s almost quite the opposite.  But being formal in a project like this isn’t really like me to do.  I wanted my personality to bleed through the pages of my site and through adding almost only my own photography to the site helped me to achieve that.  For me, every page had written meaning as well as visual meaning.  The pictures are just pictures and help to give a bit of context for my argument, but for me, the pictures are almost as reflective as the work I had put on each page.

I am really proud of what I’ve made here, though.  I feel as though everything has sort of come together right at the end.  The body of work is representative of something that is larger than myself and that is something that not everyone gets the chance to say during their time in classes at college.

Overall, I am really excited for the end of things in this class.  I feel like I’ve grown tremendously as a writer and as a person and peer.  I also sort of feel that I’ve learned all that I can learn this semester and that it is time for a new term to come.  I am excited to start fresh but like always, saying goodbye to the old is hard.

Ta-ta for now Minor in Writing.  It’s been a pleasure.http://petecaro.wix.com/portfolio15  We will meet again for the capstone course.  Until then,

Caroline C.A. Petersen

Alright, Michael—Time to Let Things Be

Perfectionist is too mild a word to describe me.  I know that’s the sort of thing every type A person says about themselves, but trust me, I’m being serious—I really, really hate leaving anything in a less than pristine state.

My ePortfolio is no exception.  Overall, I like my finished project.  But those damn red lines on the homepage and on the “More” section are pissing me off.

My spirit animal, Liz Lemon

I just can’t seem to get those things to align cleanly with one another.  I’m actually a bit concerned that my computer might be haunted by a poltergeist or something, because I swear that whenever I think I’ve got them in the perfect spot and I look away, the lines start floating all over the page and are a mess again.

As you can tell, it bothers me very much when even the tiniest things are off.

It’s because of this that I’m having a hard time disengaging from my ePortfolio.  There are many things that I like about my page, but I tend to overlook the positive attributes of my piece the second I see even the smallest mistake.  And what’s really problematic about this is that, in my mind, there still are many mistakes in my ePortfolio.

No, these mistakes are not significant.  They’re mostly things like a text box being positioned slightly higher than it should be, or a color being half a shade off what I wanted.  They’re things that nobody other than the creator of the page would even notice.

But being the creator of the page, I do notice them.  I find myself again and again pressing the “Publish” button on Wix, feeling immensely satisfied, and then suddenly ruffled when I notice one of these insignificant mistakes.  I go back and fix the problem, publish my page again, and then moments later find some new issue.

Sick of dealing with this, I’ve officially decided that I will not look at my ePortfolio again until the semester has ended.  There’s no use in working myself up over tiny mistakes again and again, especially because I am pleased with the bulk of my project.

I feel that in my ePortfolio, I have arranged a cohesive narrative that guides readers through my work in a logical way.  I hoped to give readers the opportunity to read as much or as little of my process and reflection notes as they want, which is why I included the brackets and buttons features on most pages.  If someone wanted to travel through my thought process, learn about my prewriting and my ideas, then they could click the drafts and in-process notes; alternatively, if they were only interested in the finished projects, they could simply skip ahead to those.

I also think that my ePortfolio does a decent job of balancing a professional outlook with a personable tone.  Ideally, employers will look at my ePortfolio and be blown away, call me, and offer me a job on the spot.  But while I wanted to impress professionals seeing my page, I still wanted it to reflect who I am—a simultaneously weird and serious soul.  I didn’t want to come across as a robot, someone who tailors what he says to the textbook definition of what employers look for in applicants.  At first I was a bit concerned that being personable might not be appropriate, but I decided that my professional skills and my personality are a package deal—one isn’t going to come without the other, so I might as well let the world know who they’re getting in bed with.

Hire me!

I’m proud of my ePortfolio, along with all of the work that I’ve done in the gateway course, and I refuse to let my persnickety nature destroy what should be a happy moment for me.  As readers venture through my ePortfolio, I hope they look not to the tiny details that bug me so, but rather pay attention to the overarching narrative and design of the project.

Sad as I am to leave the gateway course (I really am—this way far and away my favorite class this semester), I am glad to leave it with a piece evidencing the way I have grown as a writer in the past few months.

YAY!

I remember my first week as a Gateway student in the Sweetland Minor in Writing very well. I walked into the Natural Science Building for the first day of class and thought, “What the heck am I doing in a building with the word ‘science’ in the title?!” I’m a Communications major.

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Anyways, stepping into the classroom the first day was nerve wracking. I had always considered myself to be a good writer, but guess what, all the other students accepted to the program were good writers too! Despite how calming Shelley’s meme-filled syllabus was, I was still nervous to speak up in class to voice my opinions. During our first free writing exercise, I spent the 15 minutes we were given frantically trying to think of anything worthy of typing on the open Word document on my laptop. And at the mention of creating an ePortfolio that would take ALL semester to finish, I thought I was doomed.

When I was choosing which topic I wanted to spend the entire semester writing about, I had two options: my passion for music or my father’s death. I knew that writing about music would be easy and painless, and I knew that writing about my father’s death sounded quite a bit like hell. Usually, I do everything in my power to avoid the subject and the memories that come with it, but Shelley told us to challenge ourselves. So, I chose the latter option. I didn’t know it was possible to cry as much I did throughout the course of an assignment, but I’m so, so, so happy I did.

Well, now we’re here. Clicking the “Submit” button on Canvas to turn in my ePortfolio URL earlier today might just have been the happiest moment of this semester. As I say in the reflective material on my Repurposing page, “It is raw, it is precious, it is my heart.” Do with it what you will 🙂

http://sophiafm.wix.com/ondeathandtruth

Shameless plug

So yeah, turns out that my previous blog post was not the last one.

Oops.

The last blog post for my introduction to the minor in writing class involves me talking about my electronic portfolio, an online database of sorts that holds all of my writing from this class and more.

So, basically a shameless plug of sorts.

Honestly though I’ve really liked the eportfolio I have created, especially the design. My main goal for this portfolio was to make it aesthetically pleasing to the viewer as possible, a feat I think I successfully accomplished. However, I didn’t want to make the art too distracting, to detract from the written material explaining my projects and whatnot. So, I decided to utilize a minimalist style of artwork, where the images are not too colorful or zany yet still hold a powerful presence on the page. I would say that this is what I am most happy about regarding my eportfolio.

As for what I still want to work on, there is not much I want to or have a desire to revise per say. While what I wrote in the eportfolio could always be edited, there is not much else I would want to work on regarding my creation. The process of creating this eportfolio was one full of highs and lows. The biggest challenge I would say was finding the images I wanted to use for each section of the eportfolio. Ideally, the image would be white so I don’t have to edit the text much (editing the text background made the design pretty unappealing) but at the same time appealing for the viewer. This specific requirement made it hard to find images that I would personally want to utilize in my eportfolio, especially since I have a distinct and unique taste.

I believe I successfully achieved my purpose in presenting myself as a writer with this eportfolio. As a writer, I wanted to have the viewer truly understand what I, the writer, am like. This includes my serious and somber moments, my sense of humor, and what I enjoy. I believe that this eportfolio was able to successfully encapsulate all of this and more. I don’t have anything else to say other than I hope you enjoy looking through this final project of my writing 220 class!