I chose to implement a technology change into my Visual Communications course that would help bridge the gap between the traditional print portfolio and a digital portfolio. There are several sites that let someone upload pdfs of their graphic work, but they really don’t use technology in any more significant way. I have recognized for a while that this course needed to transform to changes in how potential employers look at young graduates.
With suggestions and searching, a particular new product from San Diego was implemented into the course for the first time. The name of the company/program is Portfolium. The name is a combination of ‘podium’ and ‘portfolio’. The founders of the company recognized the need for young graduates to find new ways to connect to employers beyond current websites that are designed for older workers.
After much of the print portfolio was done, I had my graduate interior architecture students obtain a Portfolium account and begin to build their online presence. Since they had already categorized, edited and designed their print portfolio, they had the items ready for uploading.
I thought that Portfolium was an interesting product and it definitely fulfilled a need that exists in the marketplace. It’s a fairly new company so we don’t have any long history to evaluate for student success. I could see that as a new product, there was a delay in utilizing it, but the eventual portfolios were sufficient. The program does use a similar platform to other social media, so it does feel somewhat comfortable. Using it for the design professions provides some challenge as it was designed originally for business and engineering students. Our graphic needs tend to be greater.
This response from one of my graduate students was typical of the group.
“I think I have completed the Portfolium about 90-95%. It coaches you through what needs filled out while you’re using it. I haven’t used it much since the class ended, but I haven’t been on any social networking lately since I am dealing with Capstone work. I liked Portfolium. I think it definitely has its benefits and is a useful tool to display work. I’m not sure how effective it is as far as networking or landing a job, but it’s an easy option to have work displayed electronically. I think the fact that it links with LinkedIn is nice because I think that is a good site to join. I wish the Portfolium would allow larger pictures and maybe some type of “book” appearance. The way I had to enter projects was a little awkward and some of my projects are divided into 2 folders. I think it’s something I’ll maintain and check minimally… But not regularly like Facebook or LinkedIn.”
I will have a large cohort of Visual Communications students in the fall. I intend to use Portfolium again. I will probably require the students to establish a LinkedIn and/or Facebook presence to coincide with their Portfolium work to leave the course with a more complete package. This course is taught prior to their Professional Practice courses, so having this developed will enable them to enter that class more fully prepared.
I will also try to establish more formal measurements of their satisfaction and use of the Portfolium site. I will also look for similar options that may provide alternatives. I may integrate the use of the Portfolium earlier in the course.