Electronic Portfolios

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Creating Electronic Portfolios

So you would like to create an electronic portfolio, or perhaps have your students create one? So where should you begin? The first step is to collect artifacts that highlight specific areas and show how you have grown. If your goal is to design an electronic portfolio you will want to collect as many documents that you can in an electronic format. Once you have your electronic documents you will want to begin collecting your hard copies to turn into electronic documents. Once you have these documents the next piece is to turn them from paper, or analog tape, into an electronic copy. While you are collecting and creating your electronic documents it is helpful to create a folder for these documents, something like my-portfolio. You will want to do this to keep all of your documents organized and ready to add to your project as you build it.

Gathering Electronic Documents

As you go about finding documents it is helpful to think about your organization of your files. One way to do this is to create a file structure that fits into the main areas of the portfolio. For example if I was creating a professional portfolio I might create a folder called lessons, and put all of the lesson plans that I am going to use in that folder. I also would probably create a folder called student work, for all of the examples of what students created. You may have different ideas on how you want to organize your files, but whatever it is stick to it for the duration, it will help you in the long run.
PortfolioFolderStructure.jpg
So once I created my file stucture I would begin to add copies of the documents to this folder.

To add copies of your documents from one folder to another I would do this by opening the two windows. One window of the place I am going to copy to, for this example StudentWorkand the other where the file exists right now, for this example My Documents. I would then select the file called example1.doc and right click on the document.
EportfolioMovingFiles.jpg

This will open a contextual menu where you can choose copy from. I would then select my StudentWork folder and paste the document in that folder. The reason for copying is you don't want to accidently mess up your original file.

I would paste copies of all of my electronic documents into the proper folders in the MyPortfolio folder.

Gathering Print documents

Now that you have all of your electronic documents sorted out you are ready to take the time to import those documents that aren't electronic. If you have things such as lesson plans or student work that is on paper you will want to use a scanner to scan your documents. See the page below for instructions on doing this.

Scanning Documents


Now that I have all my files in a digital format what do I do?

Now that you have your files in a digital format you will want to begin constructing your actual portfolio. To do this there are two options that you may want to consider. You can create your portfolio using PowerPoint, or another presentation software. The down side to using presentation software is that it can be difficult to create a portfolio that is flexible in its presentation. These programs tend to be linear in their nature. The other option is to create a web site that has a consistent design with something like FrontPage. This allows people to look at different areas of the portfolio without having to follow as specific structure. For this class we will look at using FrontPage. Some of the same concepts would apply whether you use presentation software, or web development software.

File Structure and Organization

This point can't be emphasized enough. As you design your portfolio it is inportant to organize your files. One way of doing this is to make a folder called my-portfolio and then within that folder you should create a structure that makes sense to you. The one that I use when developing a project such as this, whether I am using presentation software or web development software, looks something like this.


PortfolioFolderStructure.jpg

Notice in this example there is a folder for images, pages, and content. This helps me to keep all of the files where I can easily find them. You can use names that work for you, but keep things organized.

Software for Building Your Portfolio

Use PowerPoint to build your portfolio
Using a web development software product

So now I have completed my portfolio how do I share it?

Sharing you portfolio can be done two ways. If you have access to web space you can post your portfolio there. (You may want to check with your Internet Service Provider {ISP} to see if they offer you web space. For example Frontier offers 25 MB of space for your use). The other option is burning your portfolio to a CD. If you do this you can either include instructions on the CD, or you can use something like Quick Menu Builder to create what is known as an auto-run CD. This is a CD that when inserted into a computer it starts automatically and gives the person looking at the CD options on what to do. This works primarily on PCs so you would also want to include directions if someone would be using a Macintosh computer. When you create a CD with your portfolio you will want to make sure that you burn all of the folders to one CD, then before burning anymore check to see if it works. If you don’t have any problems go ahead and burn the rest of your CDs.

Using Quick Menu Builder

Quick Menu Builder is a nice free application that allows you to create what is known as an autorun CD, which means that when you place the CD in a Windows PC it will automatically run the CD for the user. This can be a nice way to present your CD to others. If you decide that you want to download and try Quick Menu Builder here are some basic instructions on how to use this.

When you start the program you will see that there are three steps to creating your menu. They are:

Load Files
This is where you add images to your menu.
Create Buttons
This is where you create navigation buttons for the CD.
Assign Actions
This is wehre you will create actions for each button that you press.
Customize
This is where you add your own personal touches to the menu.
Export Menu
This is where you export your menu to be used later.

Once you start the program your should see a screen like this
QuickMenuBuilderMain.jpg.

You will see that there are a list of icons with actions next to them. At a minimum you will want to select Open 'main' picture for your menu. This will open a window that will let you browse for an image that you want as your main picture. Think of this main picture as a background you will be adding information to this image so that people can navigate your menu.

Now that you have a background image you will want to click the second tab to Create Buttons.
QucikMenuBuilderButtons.jpg

This will give you the ability to add buttons to your menu, so that people can open specific things that you would like them to be able to get to. You can create a button by simply clicking on the add button button. Now you would want to give the button a name, add color, and make it a specific size. While you are creating buttons think of the things people may want to do when they get to this menu. I would suggest that you have at least the following buttons Eject CD, View My Portfolio, and Links to any plug-ins that someone might need to download (think QuickTime or Acrobat). You may want to add other buttons as needed.


Now you are ready to move to the next step. Click on the Assign actions tab.
QucikMenuBuilderActions.jpg

This menu will allow you to create actions for each button, this works similar to links on a web page. For example one of the buttons that you will want to have is a button to open your portfolio. Choose the button that has that name, make sure the show caption box is checked, choose an action, and then if needed a file that the action will be executed on.

If you want to add a few more things to your menu to make it stand out you can customize the menu to suite your needs. Click on Customize to see what things you can do.
QuickMenuBuilderCustomize.jpg
Some of the more useful things that you can do with this menu is to add hints to your menu. This allows people to see what will happen when the click on a button that you have created. You can also add sounds and music, but do so sparingly, people may become distracted or annoyed by your sounds.

Now we are ready to go to the Export menu button. This is where you can give it a name, tell it where you want the menu saved, as well as gives you the opportunity to preview your menu. I would make sure to save the menu once, to your portfolio folder, and then preview the menu to see if you missed anything. Once you have done your preview you are ready to add this to your project folder.

Once you have exported your menu and before you close Quick Menu Builder go to File>Save and save your menu project to a place that you can edit it later, you don't have to place this in your portfolio folder.

Now go ahead and burn a CD and see how it works. Then distribute your CDs at will, or have your students swap CDs and see how their classmates did.

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