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How to Develop an Instructional Design ePortfolio – Part 2

Last week I began a series on developing an instructional design portfolio with a discussion about categories. Categories (and sub-categories) are the “big picture” of your portfolio and serve two purposes:

  1. offer a general overview of your skills to potential employers, and
  2. help you focus on the artifacts* to include within those categories.
Today’s post is the next step in the portfolio development process: determining which artifacts you’ll use to promote yourself through your ePortfolio.

Which of the following three general categories of instructional designers do you belong to?

ID Type 1: You’re a newbie and need some guidance on how to set up a professional work portfolio.

ID Type 2: You’re experienced but, due to time constrictions, work overload, fluctuations in the space-time continuum, etc., you’ve put off developing your portfolio and you suddenly realize (sometimes painfully) that now is a good time to get one up for review.

ID Type 3: You have an ePortfolio already but would like to streamline or update it.

While there are different considerations for each ID category type, you will use the same process of picking and choosing your best works:

  1. Choose a category and subcategory from the previous step. For example, I’ll focus on Interactivities>Linear for this exercise.
  2. Rummage through previous projects and choose the best one or two examples of that category.
  3. Write a 4-5 sentence paragraph explaining the circumstances around the artifact.

Seems fairly straightforward, doesn’t it? And it should be. Developing an ePortfolio shouldn’t be an onerous task. It should be a reflective process on the skills you have and are able to demonstrate and a realization of those that need work.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ll probably have plenty of artifacts from which to choose. However, there is one issue that I run up against (and I’m sure you do too): non-disclosure agreements.

Non-disclosure is a thorny issue for many of us since, legally, it prevents us from displaying some of our best work. On the other hand, we need our best work for our portfolios. What to do?

You might**:

  • use the protected project but change the names or blur out the branding
  • create a similar artifact that uses the same format
  • ask permission to use a screenshot of the artifact as a demo for your portfolio

While I have several linear artifacts that I could use, most of them are covered by a non-disclosure agreement. Instead, I’ll point to items that are in the general public, like a TCC presentation on SlideShare or an interactive VoiceThread. I might even use a screenshot of a particularly lovely presentation on visual design for another course I developed. Since it isn’t heavily branded, I can probably get away with using just a single shot of it without blurring out the content.

For those of you who are just starting out, you’ll need to create artifacts for your ePortfolio. You can include projects developed at university or during a course related to instructional design. If you’ve written or developed a “how to” on any subject, depending on the caliber of the project, you can include that.

Even items that may not be exactly developed for elearning but exhibit a skill used within elearning can be included. Examples might include a game built in Flash, a tutorial on how to record 3 shows at once on a DVR, any graphics or web page mockups, PowerPoint presentations, published articles or papers.

Don’t be afraid to use bad examples to illustrate what you learned. Just make sure you have the new and improved versions to compare them with.

And, if you already have an ePortfolio, are your artifacts up to snuff, i.e. current within 2 years, reflect practiced skills? Do they include a descriptive paragraph(s)? If not, now is a good time to cull the artifacts and replace them with newer items with accompanying descriptions.

In general, if the artifact encompasses several different skills, point each of those out unless you are focusing exclusively on one aspect. Also, if you collaborated on a project, make sure to indicate which part(s) for which you were responsible.

As a final thought on this part of the development process, if you have two artifacts that are similar quality, aren’t non-disclosure and fall within the same category, I suggest you use the most current. And take your time. You want your ePortfolio to be a comprehensive reflection of your skills so be thorough about which artifacts you use.

So, until next time, I leave you with your tutorial activity and two steps closer to a finished ePortfolio!

Tutorial Activity

In a comment to this post, briefly describe one to three artifacts that you have chosen for one category of your ePortfolio. If you have links to them, please include those as well.

Ready to move on? Excellent!

How to Develop an Instructional Design Portfolio – Part 1

How to Develop an Instructional Design Portfolio – Part 3

* Artifacts is a fancy term for the items you’ll include in your portfolio. It also makes you feel like Indiana Jones. Sort of.
** Please note that I am not a lawyer and this isn’t meant as legal advice. If you use non-disclosure projects in your ePortfolio, you run the risk of being sued, fired, and/or ruining your career. If in doubt, ask permission!

One Response

  1. […] Part 3 Posted on August 3, 2009 by April Hayman In the second installment of the “How to Develop an Instructional Design ePortfolio,” I described the basic steps necessary to determine which artifacts should be included in […]

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