Building my ePortfolio: Gathering & Organizing Content

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Building my ePortfolio

Since my last post in March, my portfolio-building process has gone something like this:

  1. Write a blog post explaining what I want to do and why.
  2. Pull together a list of items to include in my portfolio.
  3. Visit my portfolio site every couple of weeks over the next six months.
  4. Think about what I want the portfolio to look like, but decide I don’t have time at the moment.
  5. Be surprised that the portfolio has not magically appeared yet.

Lesson one: building a portfolio is hard work, yo. I didn’t anticipate how intimidating it would be. As the list of potential portfolio items grew longer and longer, I lost sight of the small steps I could take and instead kept picturing this mountain of work that I needed to do in order to complete the project. It looked something like an alot monster.

via allie brosh’s awesome comic, hyperbole and a half


Finally, last weekend I was able to remind myself that the best and only way to eat an elephant, or in this case an alot monster, is one bite at a time. Also, it occurred to me that the entire point of an ePortfolio is that it’ll never be finished, not as long as I continue to do work that I’m proud of. And hopefully I’ll be doing that for a long, long time.

Lesson two: drop your shoulders, and don’t forget to breathe.

So I changed my strategy a little. Instead of trying to pull together all of my content and get it organized in advance, I promised myself that I could start with just one thing I’d done. For that one thing, I needed to figure out why it made me proud, and write a description of it. I picked LLU, given that this site is something I’m very proud to participate in, and that I’ve been doing it for almost seven years.

Funnily enough, as I was writing the description I realized that underneath the LLU umbrella are three separate projects: hosting and maintaining the bones of the site, producing webcasts/podcasts, and participating as an author/commenter. Instead of writing one very loooooong description, I broke them out into separate items. Now that I’ve got those three items in place, I feel much more capable of tackling the rest of the items on the list. They may not all get done this week, or even this year, but that’s okay.

Lesson three: the first step is the hardest.

Now that I have a little content to work with, it’s time to build the platform. I’m fully committed to the WordPress ecosystem, and so need to find a structure that will allow me to manage a portfolio and a blog at the same time. I’m testing a theme call Spark right now — feel free to take a peek. More on that coming soon in Part 3: Choosing a PlatformPart 4: Populating Content, and Part 5: A Body of Evidence.

Series Navigation<< Building my ePortfolio: What’s the outcome?Building my ePortfolio: Choosing a Platform >>

Ryan has been proudly maintaining and contributing to Language Lab Unleashed since 2005, and is the current President of SWALLT. Since the summer of 2013 he's been causing trouble with his all-star colleagues in the UMW DTLT; when not wrangling websites Ryan can be found doing strange things with heavy objects.

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