Web sites as Digital Portfolios | College Focus

Web sites as Digital Portfolios | College Focus

This text first appeared within the Educating Professor on August 1, 2018. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.

English Composition I at New Jersey Metropolis College (NJCU) is designed to organize college students to satisfy the necessities of writing for college course work. The course studying targets give attention to the achievement of fundamental communicative abilities in studying, writing, talking, and listening. As a substitute of finishing a conventional essay and/or oral presentation because the signature task for the course, college students have been requested to construct a web site utilizing abilities honed over the course of the semester in each conventional and non-traditional assignments. The scholars then offered their websites to their classmates, Dr. Fisch, and Mr. Ward; they mentioned their visions and objectives for the websites, design decisions, the difficulties they encountered, and what they loved.

Related initiatives would function wonderful capstone works for lessons in quite a lot of topics. All it takes is a little bit little bit of planning and pupil help.


Initially of the semester, Audrey Fisch, the course teacher, offered the scholars with an outline of the web site and social media mission. Daniel Ward, an academic technologist within the Division of On-line Studying, made quite a few classroom visits and offered college students with samples and directions about find out how to create a web site and find out how to combine social media into their web site. These directions included tips for the next:

  • Making a free web site on wix.com with an current template (college students have been welcome to make use of one other web site, however most selected Wix)
  • Creating placeholders for numerous parts together with an expert résumé
  • Incorporating a weblog software to the positioning (the category included some running a blog assignments)
  • Embedding a video created with a free on-line video creation software (the category utilized the free software, FlipGrid)
  • Embedding social media feeds (Twitter, Instagram–college students have been inspired to create alternate, skilled feeds when applicable to carve out a brand new social media identification)

All through the semester, class time was allotted for college students to ask questions, work on their designs, and collaborate on their web sites. College students have been additionally inspired to satisfy with Daniel Ward to handle any technical issues they encountered.

College students got vital autonomy and adaptability in creating their web sites so long as they included the next parts: an About Me part; a mixture of visuals and textual content to mirror their pursuits and accomplishments; a video element; {and professional} social media feeds. We additionally inspired college students to make use of the positioning to publicly file their instructional {and professional} aspirations. One other pupil used her web site to mirror on her private experiences with bullying.

Some college students selected to incorporate artifacts from different assignments within the class: weblog and Twitter posts, for instance. Others approached the duty as a completely self-contained and self-directed mission, selecting to showcase pursuits and accomplishments unrelated to the remainder of the course materials.

As well as, college students have been allowed full latitude in design. Given the pliability in each design and content material, the outcomes have been unsurprisingly numerous, whereas nonetheless providing ample proof of constructive studying outcomes. For instance, one pupil created a web site that includes his “one in all a sort creative creations within the area of digital media and structure.” He enabled the shop performance inside the web site platform in order that he may start to promote his designs (on mugs, mousepads, and many others.).

One other pupil used her web site to mirror on her private experiences with bullying. She developed a social media marketing campaign, #ShowMeYourCrookedSmileChallenge, encouraging her viewers to file a mini video singing elements of the artist J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile” and “embracing your lovely pure self with no make-up.” Nonetheless one other eschewed the non-public and centered on the problem of stress; his web site showcased his analysis into “how one can relieve stress and anxiousness.”

Whereas we apprehensive that our open-ended necessities for the assignments could be troublesome for the scholars to navigate, almost all the scholars rose to the event, seizing the chance to specific themselves in ways in which greater than demonstrated their conventional and non-traditional communicative abilities.

Know-how divides

The scholar-developed web site was a primary for a lot of of our first-generation pupil physique. Seventy-two p.c of the scholars concerned on this mission had by no means created a web site for themselves. NJCU is a minority- and Hispanic-serving establishment situated in an city space; many of scholars come from city public colleges the place expertise assets are restricted and/or the place expertise has not been totally embraced within the curriculum and pedagogy (Herold, 2017).

This mission allowed college students to merge the social media and expertise abilities they use of their non-academic lives with conventional educational literacy with a view to create an expert platform that may be utilized all through their educational careers and into their skilled lives.

Apparently, 88 p.c of the scholars indicated that they have been very or considerably stunned to be requested to make use of social media of their composition class and 96 p.c have been very or considerably stunned to be requested to construct a web site. In different phrases, they’d skilled a disconnect between the digital engagement of their on a regular basis lives and their educational work; our mission broke down that divide.

Pupil suggestions

Upon completion of the course college students have been requested to finish a survey to share their ideas concerning the web site mission. Seventy-two p.c of the survey respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the usage of social media within the course was participating. Eighty-eight p.c believed that constructing a web site was an enticing exercise. Lastly, 84 p.c of the survey respondents thought that this mission was their favourite course exercise or amongst their favourite assignments within the course.

On the finish of the semester, college students walked away with abilities, confidence, and a concrete platform to showcase themselves. One pupil commented on the concrete usefulness of the mission: “My web site is about my private make-up artistry development. This web site will assist me develop as an MUA (make-up artist) and it’s a nice stepping stone for me to make use of and increase myself.” One other addressed the broader scope of the mission: “It was an opportunity for me to showcase myself and it was probably the most artistic mission I’ve ever completed.”

Seventy-two p.c of the scholars agreed or strongly agreed that they might proceed to construct and use their web sites after the course accomplished, and we hope that the digital portfolio continues to function a automobile to articulate, retailer, and show their artifacts and accomplishments.


As educators, in any respect grade ranges, we’ve the flexibility to demystify these instruments and to make the most of an array of literacies to create extra alternatives for pupil engagement. The web site as digital portfolio is the proper automobile for this mission, serving as a public, multimodal house by which college students can form and outline a public, skilled persona as they hone their studying, writing, and talking abilities.

Web sites as Digital Portfolios | College Focus

Daniel P. Ward is an academic technologist and Audrey Fisch is a professor of English at New Jersey Metropolis College.


Herold, B. (2017). Poor College students Face Digital Divide in How Academics Be taught to Use Tech. Training Week, Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/06/14/poor-students-face-digital-divide-in-teacher-technology-training.html/

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