Capstone e-Portfolio Draft

Since I last posted about my capstone e-Portfolio, I’ve made major progress. I’ve created the actual site,  inserted text and images, and come up with a tentative theme. I’m really excited about the direction I’ve chosen for the site. Below is a description of the progress I’ve made, along with some questions I have. I’d love some constructive feedback!

I’ve decided to follow a travel theme. On the first page, the text reads:

“Welcome to LindaTell Airlines!

We’d like to take a moment to tell you a bit about today’s site.

First, you’ll notice two navigation bars. The top one is for site visitors who are traveling for pleasure.

The second is for those of you who are traveling for business—capstone evaluators—and can be accessed by selecting the three lines on the upper right.

LindaTell Airlines can take you to a diverse array of destinations, including the lush forests of non-fiction, the calming coasts of fiction, and the vibrant cities of multi-media. While you’re here, we encourage you to indulge your inner wanderlust.

To ensure full attention, please turn off all electronic devices at this time.

And remember, this is a non-smoking website. Tampering with the smoke detector in the restroom is prohibited.

Once again, thanks for choosing Linda Tell Airlines. We hope you enjoy your trip!”

The tabs are still split up as Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Multi-Media, as I wrote about in my last blog post (Mapping My Capstone Portfolio). Now, each page has a little blurb about each ‘destination.’ So for example, when you click on Non-Fiction, the text reads:

“Welcome to the lush forests of Non-fiction. Here you’ll notice nature in it’s truest form. There’s nothing artificial about Non-fiction, and that’s why travelers find it so appealing. So take a look around! You might just discover something new.”

I think that this theme will help me achieve a cohesive feel, and truly make the e-Portfolio an artifact in itself. I also think that this theme helps me convey the idea that I have created a diverse variety of genres. Each ‘location’ is a metaphor for each genre, which I hope will reinforce this idea of diversity.

I also think that the theme does a good job at explaining who I am as a writer — I’d like to think that I’m creative and quirky, two traits that I think usually shine through in my various artifacts.

Of course, this is just a draft of my e-portfolio, an outline of what is to come. But if you’re interested in seeing what I’ve created so far, the link is below:

Please click around and let me know what you think in the comments below! Is the theme working? Is it achieving the goals that I’ve stated above? What needs work? What should I add/change? All input is appreciated!

I’m looking forward to completing this project and I think I’m on my way to creating something unique, fun, interesting, and of course, representative of me as a writer.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

A moment of gratitude

I have been inspired by Shelly’s “it takes a village” prompt. As I begin constructing my ePortfolio, I am in total awe of how many people have been involved in my writing and professional development.

As I pull together the various written components, I can see just how many professors and instructors have contributed to this final body of work from my college career. I can look back on the revision processes and remember conversations about how to make these pieces even better. Each prompt and course is different, but I feel incredibly grateful that each teacher I have had in these writing courses inspired me to try new things and push myself to become a better writer. How many students across the country can say that?

Beyond classroom instructors, there are many other people who have helped me to this point: internship supervisors and co-workers, classmates, family, friends, and strangers. As I think about how to add reflection into my ePortfolio, I am reminded that every piece of writing could have an accompanying story just about how I got to the final production of that piece! And those stories would often be about those important people in my life.

Do y’all feel similarly? I might break out the “thank you” cards at the end of the semester for those special people who have played a role in helping me to have an ePortfolio I can be proud of.

Portfolio Thoughts?!

My capstone portfolio looks to answer this question: Is there any such thing as authenticity?  We live in the Digital Age —  we are always meticulously crafting, curating and reconstructing our selves. Can anyone just be?

I am interested in this question because I believe the authentic aka unedited and unfiltered self is attractive and aspirational. But does authenticity even exist anymore?

I will ground my project in performance theory and theory of the self/identity construction.

My project will ultimately live on an online website.  It has a few components.  First, in order to gather information about the cultural context, I will distribute surveys to my peers.  Ideally, my survey questions will help unlock the ways in which we identify ourselves, see ourselves and present to the world.  I will also ask questions to my peers specifically about their online identities in order to discover whether there is a difference with how people really identify themselves and how people present on Facebook/Instagram. In addition to the survey questions, which will be culminated into survey data/charts, I will also interview and feature a few full profiles on my website in order to give this data a human face.  The next component of the project is a photo collage.  I will ask all participants to take a picture of themselves in a ‘natural and comfortable’ setting, holding a piece of paper with words that express ways in which they define themselves.  Next to that picture, I will have a picture of their social media profiles (facebook/instagram). This explicit contrast will hopefully draw attention to the differences between our real selves and our curated selves.
Next comes the reflective part.   I will reflect on my experience interviewing people and my findings. This will be my opportunity to delve deep into my project, my inspirations and the outcomes. This will be the crux of my deep analysis. Let me know if you have any ideas/feedback/critique… I welcome all! Thanks!

Conceptualizing my ePortfolio

I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had about my ePortfolio after completing the “Pitching Your ePort to Your Peers” document in class today. Any questions or suggestions welcome! Please feel free to add your thoughts about your ePorts as well!


Conceptualizing the ePortfolio

I am approaching my ePortfolio as an expanded online resume that specifically focuses on my experiences in writing and media. So for me, the “writing minor” section is one portion of the ePortfolio. The others include “bylines,” which includes links to published writing from my internships and other work, and “WOLV-TV,” which explains the work I’ve done for the campus TV station.

I have structured the section of the “writing minor” tab so that (hopefully!) it takes the reader through the chosen articles in a meaningful, well-thought out way. I start with my “Why I Write” from the gateway course, followed by the developmental essay. These two sections will showcase my writing process. Next, I have the “Remediation Assignment” tab that includes the repurposed and remediated pieces from the gateway course. I want to include these because they shows how I work in different mediums and can conceptualize writing in new ways. The next tab is the “capstone project.” Finally, I conclude with “other writing,” which consists of my ULWR essay and two fiction pieces from a creative writing class.

I think this layout ties things together because within the “writing minor” tab I’ve tried to show two essays about my writing, two projects (one from gateway and one from capstone) that showcase diverse samples of writing, and three “other” pieces to complete my writing portfolio. I am hoping this ties things together. Thoughts? Do y’all think the ePortfolio will make sense? Is it cohesive? 


Because I have chosen to make this ePortfolio an expanded online resume and work showcase, my audience is most likely professional. For example, it could be recruiters or future employers. This has impacted my plan because I want to maintain my voice in the ePortfolio while keeping a professional tone. The layout will be clean and easy to navigate.

Reflective Material

Reflective material will be incorporated into my ePortfolio through my “Why I Write” piece and as a portion of my “Remediation Assignment.” My Capstone Project also has a reflection portion on its separate Wix website. (My ePortfolio is on WordPress.)

Overall Takeaway from my ePortfolio

My hope is that the ePortfolio will showcase me as a person and writer in a way that communicates my unique talents and experiences in an engaging and professional way. I want the reader to get a taste of my personality, but ultimately takeaway my skills and what I’m capable of accomplishing through various types of writing. 

A Little Bit about My Capstone Project

So I’m way late on posting this, but senior year is definitely winning the battle we’re currently having. My project for the capstone course is essentially a short magazine, similar to the length of The Gargoyle on campus, with 20 pages of content. I initially began with the idea of featuring a lot about the Humane Society of Huron Valley, the animal shelter in Ann Arbor, but after talking it over with T and Shelley, I decided to go with something that is a little more universal and that the Humane Society could still use.

The stories I’m featuring include coverage on busting myths of shelter animals: are black cats really bad luck, why do pit bulls have their bad reputation, and what does declawing really do to an animal. I’m also going to give a few staff profiles to make this exclusive to HSHV, along with an adoption story of a cat and a dog from the shelter. There are a few other things, but I don’t want to completely give away my project! 🙂

Look at all that cuteness.
Look at all that cuteness.

I’m hoping with this project to raise awareness in the community for HSHV, as well as to educate the community on issues that I know a lot of people talk about and believe misleading rumors. I’m extremely passionate about animal welfare and the quality of life of animals in the shelter, so I’m excited to be able to put my passion into my work (I’m the one with the Wags to Riches blog, in case you still haven’t checked it out 🙂 )

As for progress, I’ve gotten my volunteer interviews done, and I’ll be doing the staff profiles in the next few weeks. Design is still in progress, but it’s getting there. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by senior year in general but it’s really nice to be able to work on a project that I actually care about; it motivates me to get the rest of my work done so I know I have enough time to spend with this project.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for my project! I can’t wait to see the final outcomes of everyone’s hard work in the capstone course.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Would You Change It?

I happened to be looking at my MiW Gateway portfolio the other night (ya know, to brush up…get some ideas for my Capstone portfolio) when I stumbled upon my old blog posts. Particularly, I clicked on a link to my first ever Gateway blog post, where we were all required to introduce ourselves. Man, is it great reading back a post I wrote about two years. I know two years doesn’t seem like a lot, but it sure feels that way. So much has changed within the last couple of months: my family, my friends, my experiences, my perspectives. But what’s crazy is that no matter the changes, my voice has remained the same. In my writing, that is.

So, as I read back on my first Gateway blog post, I giggle to myself and recall typing it up that first time. I think to myself, “If I had to write a personal introduction today, how would I approach it?” And truthfully, I would write it no differently. No matter how much I have grown as a person through out my college career, I still keep my little quirks, knacks, and passions. So, I wanted to ask you, my fellow Capstone buddies, would you write yourself a new introduction if you had the chance? Or would you keep it just the way it is?


So, here it is…my first ever Gateway Post:

No, No…I-Am-Not-12-Years-Old-Niki-Berman


HI! I’m Niki. Yes, with one K – so fancy, I know. I sware I’m 20 years old! Everyone seems to peg me at 12. I may be 4’11 and 3 quarters (YOU CANNOT TELL ANYONE THOUGH…the rest of the world believes I’ve made it to 5 feet!), but haven’t you heard of the saying, “big things come in small packages?”


I’d like to think of myself in that light because yes, okay, I may be tiny…BUT I have:


-A huge personality

-A huge voice (singing, I mean…)

-A huge appetite (you don’t want to know what I could eat in one sitting…)

-A huge selection of 5-6 inch heels

-A huge obsession with Disney Channel (come on, who doesn’t dream of holding that beautiful, glowing wand…still, to this day…)

-A huge love for anything witty

-And a huuuuuuge crush on Jimmy Kimmel…oh, and Chelsea Handler.


…yeah, who’s small now, huh?




Official link to my first post:


Pitch Letter: But First Let Me Take a Selfie

To My Prospective Publisher:

I’m Carly Skinder, a 21 year old navigating my way with my fellow millennials.

“But First Let Me Take a Selfie.”

Let’s face it – it’s the world we live in – a self-consumed, self-obsessed world. We are the millennial generation, the tech geeks, the social savvies, the gadget gurus. We constantly present a curated self, a filtered self on Instagram, an edited self on Facebook. What is your #unfiltered face? Do you even know? Is there such thing as authenticity in this age of selfies?

I leave the answer to that question up to my peers, the target of my research, and the most skilled curators. I will provide the platform to explore this question and we –my millennial peers and I – will unlock awareness.

This is the way. I will create a multimedia piece that will live on, only fittingly, the web. The site will house the three components of my project: the interview video-collage, the selfie collage, and a personal reflection. I will interview my peers, asking questions about their identity and ways in which they identify themselves. With their feedback, I will explore authenticity and identity construction by producing a video-collage of the culminated interviews. The video collage will be a visual narrative of individual self-reflection on a large scale. I will also ask each participant to take a selfie. I will accumulate all selfies into a selfie collage, which will be both a funny representation of our selves and also a medium to spark conversation. Does the selfie, and do social networking sites conceal authentic identity? I will reflect on this experience in a process reflection where I will situate my findings in the context of existing theories of self-identity construction.

This research is relevant. This research might be alarming. This research will be evocative. We are a generation of smarties and know-it-alls, so we must also be self-aware and introspective. We must ground ourselves in honesty and humility. We must not be distracted by superfluities. I’m guilty of editing and curating myself, but I am also self-aware and introspective. And because of this fact, I believe authenticity exists. Do you? Help me find out.

I think I’ve landed on a real insight here. I hope you’re as excited as I am to explore the results.


Carly Skinder


A sample of my work:

Part of the excitement of this project is that it gets personal. I will ask intimate questions during each interview in order to access the most truthful information about each participant, their identity, and ways in which they identify. I will then ask participants to take a selfie. Ultimately, the information generated from the interview video and the selfie collage will create a visual story. When the selfies are placed alongside one another, we will be able to generate larger conclusions as to self-identity and constructions of the self. For example, words that would be associated with my personal selfie are:

Honest. Sensitive. Extrovert.

Opinionated. Confident. Sister.

I will use the content from the video interviews in order to generate a set of attributes that are unique to each self-ie.

Pitch Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

The journey begins the first day of freshman year. As a student at the University of Michigan, the world is yours for the taking. But, you need to act quickly. Freshman become sophomores and juniors in the blink of an eye. Then one day, much sooner than you imagine it to be, you’re a senior thinking about graduation and the “real world” to come. I am that senior now, panicked by all the things I want to do before I graduate from this incredible institution. Here enters the “University of Michigan Bucket List.” 

This project will take the form of a series of short essays. Each bucket list item that is crossed off the list will have a written essay attached to it that explains how I accomplished the activity, why I had it on my list in the first place, the history behind that item, and any reflections upon my completion of it. This written form will be accompanied by other media, like photos, videos, and music, that can enrich the description of that particular bucket list item. I also plan to include a written “reflection” that will tie together all of the experiences and provide a greater takeaway from the project. The bucket list so far includes: paint the rock, eat “hippie hash” at Fleetwood Diner, go to a concert at the Blind Pig, run through the North Campus wave field, visit the hydrodynamic marine lab tank in the basement of the West Engineering building, attend a Michigan hockey game in Yost Ice Arena, and play games in Pinball Pete’s. 

The intended audience is University of Michigan undergraduates who may also have a list of things to do before they graduate, or who are wondering what they should accomplish (and why) while on campus. It may also be of interest to alumni and prospective students.

The final project will live as an online article or website. Ideally, each bucket list item could be easily clicked on and expand to show its written and media components. As a website, this could mean each item linked to a separate webpage. I will intertwine the writing and media to break up text and keep the reader engaged. Thus far, I want to look into building a Wix site, using, or using an existing University of Michigan site. Whichever hosting site I use, I want it to be easily shareable online via social media and interactive for the audience.

I have attached a sample essay portion as if it were online with the multimedia aspects weaved into the text. Through this example, one can see how the multimedia elements will break up the description of each bucket list item to make the project more interesting for readers and how the final project may appear online.

This work should be published because it provides valuable information to Michigan undergraduates hoping to enhance their time at this university. I want this project to be a useful tool so that any student can feel they truly experienced much of what this institution and city have to offer. An online bucket list allows students to revisit the page as they check each item off the list for themselves. 

I should complete this project because I am a creative and engaging writer with extensive experience working with multimedia and online platforms. I also love the University of Michigan, and therefore want to do the best possible job relaying these campus and Ann Arbor experiences to students, so that everyone can experience the magic that is Michigan.


Elizabeth McLaughlin

Wags to Riches: Stories of Shelter Animals

So, it’s taken me four years, but I’ve finally started a blog that I’m passionate about: Wags to Riches.

I’ve tried to start a blog pretty much every year since I started college, but I never got anywhere. I never knew what to blog about: books? current issues? travel? All of them didn’t seem to fit me well enough. But after volunteering at two animal shelters for the past year and a half, I’ve found something that I love just as much as writing: shelter animals (and all other animals, too, of course).

Here's the opening page!
Here’s the opening page!

My blog is still taking its baby steps, but it’s growing. I’d love to reach more people and have more feedback, so I’ve posted the link here. Where better to get opinions than from a minor filled with writers?!

Actually, though, I’d love more eyes on my writing and the ability to educate more people about animal rescue, animal shelters, and animal rights. Sure, maybe only one or two of you will click and follow my blog. But maybe you’ll pass it on to people who are also in love with animals, and I’ll be able to change the way people see a lot of myths and rumors about animal shelters. It might take awhile to get my message out there, but even so, I’ll always enjoy writing about my passion.