Having an online teaching portfolio is helpful for anyone interested in seeking a job in teaching.
- You can include the link — in correspondence you send about job applications, in your email signature, with your LinkedIn profile, on your business card, on your print curriculum vitae or résumé.
- People can find you even if they aren’t looking for you specifically. Materials that you have included in your online portfolio can be found in online searches (such as the topic for a syllabus you’ve posted). And in finding contents of your portfolio, you have been discovered.
- The online portfolio is a handy way to store and organize your teaching materials. With the online portfolio, you can easily add or delete materials.
- Your online portfolio communicates to others that you know how to use technology. As more and more classes require technology applications for students and teachers, an online portfolio demonstrate that you could use technology in your teaching.
In a previous blog post — Use WordPress.com to Create a Teaching Portfolio — I discussed steps for creating a portfolio.
Select your WordPress URL. One of the few permanent decisions you need to make is the URL of your WordPress blog. You can change the title of the blog, the theme and the content, but the URL can’t be changed. For a portfolio blog, most people chose to use their name. If someone else already has chosen that blog URL, you can try a variation, such as using a hypen or period between your first and last names.
Choose a WordPress theme. You can select from a number of free WordPress themes. Be sure to select a theme that will let you set up separate pages as tabs. After selecting the theme (template), you can customize the colors, font, etc. You’ll see that these sample online portfolios have very distinctive looks, with each student wanting to create a personal brand. For example, Chris Wilson used hiking and outdoor challenges as a metaphor in his teaching philosophy and develops that concept with his banner photo. Mariana De Maio has created a distinctive look with color and font choices.
Don’t spend money (yet). You have a number of options for your online portfolio — from paying for a custom template to purchasing your own domain. You may decide to make those financial expenditures, but I’d suggest you not do that initially.
Set up your WordPress account and select the template you want to use. You don’t need to make all the decisions about colors or fonts but should have the template selected.
Decide what tabs/pages you want to create. You don’t need to create those pages before class, and you can add or delete pages once you’ve created your blog. Those tabs let you decide what areas you want to categorize. For example, Kevin Hull created a page that let him include clickable thumbnail photos that link to examples of his professional work.
Bring your laptop. We’ll spend time in class working on the portfolios, so you will need your laptop. If you haven’t used your laptop on campus recently, you may need to spend time logging on and downloading the latest required anti-virus software. Be sure to have that done before class.
Bring files to post to your portfolio. Those materials can include your bio (as a Word doc), your photo (as a jpg), a large photo to use as your banner photos (if you select a theme with a banner and don’t want to use one of the free banner photos). Also bring one document that you could post as a PDF. That could be your curriculum vitae or your course syllabus. You don’t have to make your materials — or your entire blog — public, so you can practice uploading materials without that becoming public.