Re: electronic portfolios - just say no

Subject: Re: electronic portfolios - just say no
From: Len Humbird <lenh -at- PCEZ -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 13:58:00 -0800

At 03:31 PM 3/12/98 -0500, Christa Carroll <carrolcj -at- POLARIS -dot- CLARKSON -dot- EDU>
>I am developing a model for electronic portfolios, which TC students will
>emulate in order to create their own electronic portfolios. The idea is that
>all the student's work is demonstrated electronically, in one electronic
>file, and easily stored on one storage medium, such as a CD-ROM.

In a portfolio workshop given to the Willamette Valley Chapter last January,
STC National 2nd Vice President Lance Gelein suggested *against* an
electronic version of your portfolio. Among the reasons were:

* Tactle input. Many clients like to take out your printed works and flip
through them. Even if the paper and binding are truly unimpressive, it still
conveys a sense of a finished, tangeable product.

* Guidance. An electronic version can only give you a tour. But it can't
answer spontaneous questions that the client will have. Sure, you could have
a Q&A section, or statistics on each sample, but that places the burden of
the interview on the client. What you want to do instead is "present" and
explain the portfolio, using it as a sales tool.

He added that you should include diskette samples in your printed portfolio
of WinHelp, web pages or other software you've produced that have been
sufficiently trimmed down to a few minutes of viewing, and are runnable on
their computers (i.e., not needing a "setup" or "plug-ins"). Though he did
say you could bring your own laptop with your samples pre-loaded.

Gelein also mentioned that the portfolio should be tailored for the kind of
product the client wants to see. In a 3-ring binder style portfolio, you
would use removable sheet protectors to add and subtract content for each
interview. Do not send it ahead of the interview, and do not leave it with
the client. In all, it should be professional looking, organized,
customized, complete, and presentable in 10-15 minutes.

Hope that helps. It helped me immensely!

Len Humbird | Technology writer | lenh -at- pcez -dot- com | Portland OR USA
Documentation is the castor oil of programming. Managers know it must be
good because the programmers hate it so much.

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