My Thoughts From Today’s Guest: Glenn Johnson

Glenn Johnson, Project Manager for the PSU ePortfolio Initiative, stopped by class today to discuss the whole ePortfolio concept. He started by discussing the importance of evidence … what I take from that is that it is critical to create a sort of historical roadmap of your time here at PSU. I did so much stuff in college that is lost forever … some of it was actually good stuff — other stuff wasn’t, but the point is that I don’t have ANY real record of my knowledge and intellectual development. The new ePortfolio opportunities can easily overcome that.

Going Beyond the Resume

“It allows others read between the lines …” It provides prospective employers with the evidence they need to see what you can actually DO. That is an important distinction … with a static, paper-based resume you list all sorts of skills and experiences — but if you pair that with an ePortfolio, there is a historical record of your actual competencies. It lets people actually see what you’ve done. It is going to make a huge difference.

At PSU, students are being asked more and more to create digital assets as outcomes to their classroom assignments. Trust me, unless you have some sort of next generation storage area network system with a huge meta data repository, you’ll loose it all. That’s what I did. With an opportunity like ePortfolio, PSU has provided you with a digital repository that represents you — and its easy to do. Good stuff.

Glenn went on to discuss some real-world examples of students’ usage of the ePortfolio and how it transformed their job/internship search experience. One of the students he highlighted is over in EMS … this student differentiated himself (using ePortfolio) from someone who has taken the courses to someone who can actually report the weather. Good stuff. Here’s an incredible example.

What are the 5 pieces of evidence that you will point to that differentiates you … then think critically about each one of those and why they were the ones you selected … Glenn says, “that’s part of your story.” Here’s a real nice page that describes how to do the selection process.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep it focused
  • Keep it simple
  • Make sure you tell your story
  • Know your audience
  • Sell yourself to that audience

Scenario … faculty staff, instructors, advisors at PSU are in a unique position because of how well connected they are … they have friends in so many different areas of the world — corporate, professional associations, other Universities, etc … if one of my colleagues has a grant that requires an information technology problem that needs to be solved and they send me a request to see if I have a student or know of someone who can help out … typically what happens is that they send that out to a whole bunch of people via email and someone would respond that, “hey, I know someone …” now, if that email contains a link to that student’s ePortfolio, I’ve just given my friend that opportunity to do a “virtual interview” via the portfolio.

ePortfolios begin to make a big difference when you make it to the short list … two positions with 250 applications … will an ePortfolio make a difference? No, but if you are one of five left, then yes it will make THE difference.

The point is this; you really need to start thinking about how important it is to start documenting your competencies via the ePortfolio. I wish you all would start building one … at a minimum; it will help you organize your experiences. At the other end of the spectrum, it will give prospective employers an opportunity to really get to know you without having to physically meet them. It will be the way people are differentiated in the coming years. If you want any help, let me know and we’ll do a web publishing session. If you have questions or comments, post them here and I’ll make sure Glenn gets them.

5 Replies to “My Thoughts From Today’s Guest: Glenn Johnson”

  1. I thought that today’s speaker was really good. Before he came in to tell us about the ePortfolio I knew little about it. In fact, I really only knew that it existed and nothing about its functions or purpose. I knew about PSU personal space, as I had designed my webpage last year, but not about this. But now I know more and I think he gave some really good tips for designing and making ePortfolios. The example portfolios that he used were really good…real world examples and not some made up piece of junk that no one would really ever design. I think I might try and start one up for myself,…if I can ever find the time. Overall, theumbs up for a great speaker who shared good info with us. Thanks

  2. Pretty cool stuff! I learned and made one of these in my Freshmen Seminar class here at PSU. I think this definitely gives students and advantage and is a great addition piece of evidence about themselves to go along with their resume. I will be sure to update mine and continue to improve it!

  3. Well i guess it sounds great for art students, and for other people who have something to showcase, but what can it possibly do for me? I mean i have nothing to show, unless they really want a video of me wiring together a WAN. Cole, what does an IST student put on their e-portfolio, especially one who’s greatest acheivement in the computing field is writing a html converter?

  4. Ok … I hope we covered why its the right thing to do and the new web lab will hopefully give the opportunity to actually pull it off. I really want you all to understand that I think being able to use the web is a powerful set of skills. It gives you a (nearly) free channel to get your ideas out–>

  5. Hey Cole, this post on ePortfolio sounds like a great tie into the corporate/university blog effort we chatted about. The corporate partner can get a view of what students are doing education and experiencewise. In turn, the students could get an understanding of what the corporation is seeking in terms of education/experience.

    Still interested in pursuing this further if you get time to speak with your corporate relations contacts. Drop me a line….

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