Eportfolio or Blog?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gertrudk/78862578/Blog or Eportfolio? Or? You’ll notice that throughout this system, we usually use the term “eportfolio,” but sometimes, we use “blog,” instead. Or “site.” So what’s the difference? Our eportfolio system is built on WordPress, which is (usually seen as) a blogging platform. But we’re using this system, and asking you to use this system, as a place for you to build your own museum of you–and sometimes a big part of that museum is the same thing that builds a blog.

Not “what my cat ate for breakfast” (unless you really need to tell us what your cat ate for breakfast!), but a picture of you and your learning and studies and your growth. Is that a blog? Sure, it can be!

What we have here is a personal web publishing platform–a platform for building websites that you design and maintain–and by whatever name, that is sure to smell as sweet!

Domenico Remps, Cabinet of Curiosities, 1690s, Oil on canvas, Opificio delle Pietre Dure, FlorenceOnce you have the eportfolio started and ready to go, it’s time to make it your own. Because this WordPress eportfolio system grew out of a blogging tool, items in your eportfolio are called “posts.” That’s OK, though, because a post can be almost anything you want it to be. It can be an artifact (more about that below). It can be a random thought or reflection. It can be an extensive essay. A post can even be just a picture, or just a momentary thought.

The key to making your posts work as eportfolio items is categories. Every post in WordPress can have a category, or multiple categories, and of course you can change or add or delete categories from any post at any time. This makes it easy to think of your content in different ways. The same post can be a reflection and creative writing. It can be a video and also evidence of scientific literacy. The strength of this system is that you don’t have to pre-determine what each artifact or reflection means. You can just add it and then think (and re-think) about how it fits with other pieces, and what it shows about your learning.

So how do you just add it? When you’re logged in to your eportfolio’s “dashboard” (you’ll get there by using the login link on your eportfolio’s front page, or if you don’t see it, just go to http://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/your-eportfolio-name/wp-admin ), simply click on the “Write” item on the top menu, and then write a post. You can use the text entry window just like writing an email or other kind of online post, or you can write your text in your word processor and paste it in.

Of course, you’re going to want to attach your artifacts, your own work, to these posts. That’s simple, too. Under the text entry window in WordPress, you have an “Upload” area, where you can upload your files–files of all kinds.  Just use the “Add Media” button on the top of the window where you write a new post. You have a 500 MB total storage limit to start with–and we can increase it–but the better way to include your work is to link to it. You can use Google Docs for Powerpoints, spreadsheets, and Word documents. You can use flickr or Picasa for photos and other kinds of images. You can use YouTube for video and Odeo Studio for audio. The options are wide, all free of charge, and growing all the time. Of course, if you have your own ftp account to another server, that’s fine, too.

For instructions on how to do any of this, see your friendly neighborhood Instructional Technology Fellow!

//www.flickr.com/photos/tzofia/778077992/Your eportfolio should reflect you–not just in the content, but also in the look and feel of the site. WordPress makes it easy to choose and then to change your choice of design, by using themes. With themes, you can completely redesign your site with a single click (in most cases), without changing your content at all. You can even make a change for a few days, in order to show a specific audience, and then change it back again.

Changing the theme of your eportfolio is simple. Once you’re logged into the backend (at http://macaulay.cuny.edu/ eportfolios/ name-of-your -eportfolio/ wp-admin) of your eportfolio, just click on the “Appearance” section on the left-side menu. Pick a theme from the long list you’ll see there (each with a thumbnail to get a preview), and click on the one you like. That’s it! You’ve just redesigned your entire eportfolio. You can change the “header” image at the top of each page for most themes, too.  Of course, if you decide you don’t like the theme you’ve chosen, you can change it back, or change to a new one, by using the same process.  If you’re a more advanced user, and know some CSS, you can even develop your own theme, or modify one that almost fits what you want. For more help with that, see your friendly neighborhood Instructional Technology Fellow, or come to a CSS workshop at Macaulay.

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