Digital Portfolios

When I was younger, my mother always had a box or envelope from every grade level in grammar school that contained all my projects, tests, and report cards from the year. It was my manila envelope, a collection of all my hard work that I could always look back on. Watters in “Claim Your Domain-And Own Your Online Presence” she explains the difference technology has made for students today. How can we have manila envelopes when everything is online? Is everything that a student has worked on throughout the year just vanish after the school year is over? If you have a digital domain, it does not. You can take with you a digital portfolio of your work and easily share it with others. It also doesn’t just have to be a domain but any social media can become a representation of yourself and your work. Instagram stores all your photos, Facebook contains photos and posts about your daily activities, and twitter holds your opinions and conversations with other people. Although it may not be a physical representation of the knowledge you have gained during the school year, a digital portfolio with different applications and websites is as close to a digital manila envelope as you can get.

A concern about having a digital portfolio instead of a physical copy could be your online identify. I ¬†Stewart’s post “Digital Identities-Six Key Selves” she explains how we can change our personalities and conform to other people’s opinions when we’re online. For example, I might post a certain picture with my friends on Instagram and caption it with something so I’ll get more likes. Not necessarily something I want to say, but so everyone else likes it. This does’t just apply to Instagram, but any social media or online domain. We should post what we personally want and what describes ourselves. We have to be careful not to let the idea of social media want us to change who we are, therefore the idea of a digital portfolio is lost since it technically isn’t a representation of who we truly are.

5 thoughts on “Digital Portfolios

  1. I found the idea of the digital portfolio interesting because I had not previously thought of having a single presence online. With so many different social media platforms and websites, I think we sometimes forget about the larger representation each of our digital contributions contribute to. I disagree with you that this digital portfolio is the modern form of your childhood manila folder because our digital portfolios are primarily not academic, whereas the manila folder seems like it contained mostly school related work. In my opinion, the digital portfolio is much broader than the manila folder was. I also understand the point you were making about social media distorting who we truly are, but I also kind of feel like we control that distortion. Therefore, the amount of distortion we allow reflects our own values and sense of self.

    1. You bring up some good points. How is our digital identity defined through a composite of the many different sites we may use?

      I also like your comment that we ‘control that distortion’.

  2. I can agree with a great deal of what the author is saying. I still have the orange accordion folder in my room today where I store old projects from kindergarten throughout my school year (including my “tooth pillow” in first grade and Jackie Robinson book report in fifth grade). While I threw out most of my high school notebooks and exams, I believe that occasionally looking back at old projects can remind you the amount of work that was put into each project, as well as how far your work has come since. I feel that an element of that is lost when going online. I don’t really agree that a domain can be your manila envelope since often times you can’t keep them post-graduation. Words and images can also get misinterpreted with social media and just like you said about posting captions to please people, I do not feel that all social media posts are genuine and authentic. While I usually post Instagram photos about things I enjoy such as going to baseball games and spending time with friends, my captions are usually a couple of words and lacking real content. Pictures may tell a thousand words but it is hard to develop a true digital identity from social media posts.

    1. The domains you create here at Muhlenberg, you can take with you. Just like you would need to decide with your folder at home, when you move, will you put forth the effort to pack it up and take it with you? One of the reasons we also went with this particular option of offering students their own space is the portability.

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