Principles of Professional Writing: Choices

What kind of portfolio should you choose?

Questions to ask yourself:
1. Do you already have a portfolio or a blog that you enjoy using? If so, do you feel comfortable adding customizations to it, such as new sections or pages? Or would you prefer to start fresh?

2. Do you prefer to use the blogging feature of a portfolio or do you prefer static sections and pages?

3. Do you foresee going more public or less public with this portfolio? Do you feel comfortable encouraging comments and interactivity, or do you prefer to keep a lower profile, at least for now?

4. Do you foresee using this portfolio as documentation in situations other than classwork (such as the job or internship application cycle, or for graduate school applications)?

5. How much control do you want over the interface? Do you enjoy visual design, or are you a coder who likes to code your own design? Do you like tweaking code but not creating it from the bottom-up? Do you feel comfortable working with add-ons, plug-ins, and themes? Are you fascinated by web design and would you like to learn more and experiment with it?

If you don’t have strong feelings about any of these issues and just want to put together a satisfactory basic eportfolio for the course, and you already had one for WRT 102, you might just continue with that portfolio or begin a new one in Digication, since you are probably already familiar with it–although if you took 102 a few years’ ago, you will be surprised if you attempt to create a new one as the interface behind the platform is quite different. I will post materials in Blackboard that document these changes for you.

If you are (like me!) fascinated by aspects of web design but not a coder (not having a strong background in at least HTML, CSS, and perhaps a bit in Java, at least), WordPress or you.stonybrook.com are fun choices. WordPress.com or WordPress.org (the second requires you to have your own server access outside of the Stony Brook servers, but if you are interested, I recommend you check out Reclaim Hosting) allow a bit more freedom as more access is offered to themes and plug-ins that can make the website more interesting and/or interactive. I enjoy using the Dashboard, exploring plug-ins and themes, and tweaking code that already exists as needed (but I don’t do much of that). I create static pages for the “portfolio” section of the website, such as my written work or job descriptions, and use the blog to post timely material (like this post). WordPress.com is the same platform but free and pared down–although there can be hidden charges for certain features, so be aware of that. SBYou is a WordPress site run and maintained at the university which fits the bill for many students who don’t want a hassle of owning their own domain, enjoy the affiliation, and enjoy the look and feel of WordPress.

Students have in my past classes picked their own website platform, Here are some of the ones they have liked. Most are free to use but some are not:

Please look these over and decide by class on 1/31 which one you would like to try. You won’t be stuck with it, but have made a choice to start and explore it, and see if you can create a blog or portfolio with it–or adapt one you already have if you prefer.