Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants have included students, instructors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.
This week we discussed the emergence of electronic portfolios as a way for students and job seekers of all types to document and present their skills to potential employers. This chat was a special "Sloan-C Edition" since it took place during The 17th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning. Melissa, our Inside Online Learning blogger, presented a conference poster session entitled Online Career Services: Blogs as Portfolios and moderated the live chat talking with both Twitter participants online and event attendees in person. Here's a review of the conversation:
What are some of the potential benefits of using open blog platforms for the presentation of student work?
- Open blog platforms allow for free individual accounts to web-based systems.
- These accounts are not tied to a school's software license or managed system, so students' ownership of their blogs continues after graduation without interruption or need to export and transfer their work.
- The blog format, with commenting and reply functions, offers the potential for both collaboration and crowdsourcing, for additional feedback and conversations.
- Many existing blog platforms offer easy-to-use administrative dashboards.
- Consolidating multiple content items is possible with a blog format, creating a single URL where all of the items can be accessed.
- A blog URL is also easy to share: in email messages and signatures, on a resume, etc.
- Blog portfolio privacy settings are available. Each site can be made private, requiring permission to access, or open to the public. These sites can also be indexed by search engines so that other students and professionals in the field can learn and benefit from them as well.
- Development of an ePortfolio helps to demonstrate not only specific content knowledge and work-related skills, but also technology competencies.
From your perspective (student, career counselor, instructor, employer, etc.) what are some of the challenges of blog portfolios?
- Plagiarism is a possibility with any content provided online, including blogs and portfolios.
- If the employer's perspective is not taken into consideration when developing a blog portfolio, there may be a disconnect between the message being sent and how it is received.
- A professional appearance is a must, and a blog portfolio should be considered a part of the student's online presence – ideally adding to their positive reputation instead of taking away from it.
- Different employers will value the same portfolio in different ways. How do you create one portfolio that will appeal to many potential employers?
- Creating a site with both wide appeal and targeted information is a challenge. Students may not be willing to create targeted versions of ePortfolios.
- Blog portfolios, like other kinds of websites, require a certain amount of maintenance to keep them current.
How might blog portfolios become a replacement for traditional resumes in the future (or work to supplement traditional resumes today)?
- For traditional Human Resources departments, the traditional resume will probably continue to be preferred.
- Blog portfolios can be used to document and share your perspectives, points of view, and knowledge beyond the traditional resume and job interview.
- This format allows students and other job seekers to demonstrate multiple dimensions of themselves and what they have to offer as potential employees.
- It may be helpful to address multiple, targeted topics within the ePortfolio and direct recruiters to applicable posts and pages.
- Blog portfolios work well to supplement resumes, but not replace them. Resumes still serve a purpose and portfolios allow for additional information to be presented.
- Both a traditional resume and a blog portfolio (or other digital content) are necessary in today's job search environment.
What is the most important thing to include in a career ePortfolio (as a supplement to a resume)?
- Brief narrative posts or articles that provide additional information about the student/job seeker that would be helpful from the perspective of a potential manager or employment recruiter.
- Evidence/examples of the student's or job seeker's ability to practically apply his or her knowledge and skills in the workplace.
Thanks to @JamesGayhart and @VolcadoDePila, for participating and sharing their blogs with us online, and to @ODU_DL, @aldofontana and @GreekForMe for their input and RTs! If you aren't already following @kthompso, @AHilbelink, and @couchlearner, check out their profiles. These folks are among those who stopped by the conference poster session in person during the chat.
What do you think about electronic career portfolios? Help us to continue the discussion by adding your thoughts via the comments area on this page.
For more from the most recent live session, take a look at the chat archive or this week's transcript. Follow us @OC_org and plan to attend our next chat! We meet on Wednesdays from 12pm-1pm ET and look forward to hearing your perspective.
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