DO's and DON'T's for Creating an Online e-Portfolio: Multimedia Development Tips,
Realistic Value,  Employment/Technological Resources

Presentation  to be held at the ATMI/College Music Society Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, September  14--17, 2006 

Dr. Fred Kersten Webpage


        A dedicated  web page providing audio, video, and pictorial job application support.   Application e-Portfolios  are becoming of essential value as online application procedures are currently increasing rapidly. 

        By simply providing a web address for the e-Portfolio website when applying online, music applicants, using online systems, and/or applying in a traditional manner, can provide potential employers with a unique online multimedia e-Portfolio, which will provide immediate visual/aural reinforcement of their musical and educational qualities. A potential employer can quickly copy the e-Portfolio web address--paste, click, and view.

         Visualization is immediate and not just
  an interpretation of many lines of type!
 Pictures, short musical examples,  résumé, teaching philosophy statement, and indictors of musical and educational achievement are available for instantaneous scrutiny.  Cost is minimal: the applicant can demonstrate to a potential employer facility with A/V information  organization in addition to applicable knowledge of technology. 

         Many college music programs include online e-Portfolio development within the music curriculum. The University of Florida presently requires each music education major to develop a web-based music teaching portfolio as part of the graduation requirements…see for specifics.  


         Colleges and public school districts are increasingly  implementing paperless online employment application procedures.    Opportunities exist for applicants to fill out an online employment application form and provide supporting online documents allowing information to be processed for positions in component member districts. Including the e-Portfolio address within these procedures is essential.  As an example of online possibilities: is the official teacher recruitment web site for Georgia's public schools. This organization  is a collaborative partnership between the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and local public school systems. Applicants can utilize this site free to locate available positions.   Applicants can place materials and information on the site for access by potential employers.  Administrators can access the candidates materials through this secure site, and quickly view those who are interested in continuing an application for an available position.   This saves hours of filling out applications by  applicants and expands visibility to all districts in the state. 
        The New York OLAS (On Line Application System) allows placement of a résumé, letter of application and application information which can be viewed by administrators in the New York area.  Teachers can immediately view available positions and quickly apply if they desire. 


        Web page editing  expertise, learned through creation  of the e-Portfolio, is a very important tool to acquire and a skill  to illustrate. Many school districts now have sites where teachers place online homework assignments, and classes develop their own web pages with assistance from their instructors. 
         Public school and college music teachers with html expertise will find that developing  web sites is  very valuable for communicating with  students, colleagues, and parents regarding the music program.  These sites can also be utilized for placing teaching resources or guides, on line for perusal by students, or, as suggested list of sites  for conducting research
        An employer immediately perceives a potential candidate, with technology abilities, to be able to function within a technology-oriented district thus placing the applicant at a higher level on the list of candidates should technical knowledge be a desired quality

Do's and Don't's for Development

        * DO access webspace from your online or college server provider through appropriate channels. Learn how to transfer files you develop to the server. You can use WS_FTP  for PC or fetch and RBrowser clients clients for Mac. Determine what  space limit is allowed; once this is exceeded, files are usually deleted. Graphics and audio examples are the largest files to be transferred, and will be items that will decrease allotted server space capacity. These are also the files that are the slowest to download: however, they give an immediate visual/aural presentation of the individual and abilities.

        *DO explore many fine and user-friendly HTML editors such as Front Page, and Dreamweaver, which will make development of an application e-Portfolio web page uncomplicated. Learning to use such an application will allow quick revision of your page as you decide to add items, or edit, to correspond with new or current professional information.

        *DO include a statement of your teaching philosophy as this is an item many administrators look for. Testimonials, and references are sometimes  included. Make sure you check for consent  with individuals who you might list before including this information.

        *DO indicate the URL (Uniform Resource Locator, i.e. http://...) address for this web page on your paper résumé, letter of application, and in any online application that you make. The person desiring to view your page and learning of its existence from your résumé or application letter will have to type the address into the computer browser. As you develop the URL address, name your files to make the address relevant and easy to type such as: http://www.internet/

         *DO have others view at your online e-Portfolio both for mistakes and also for impact. Have individuals use PC and Mac platforms for examination and check out the format with both Netscape and Internet Explorer, as there can be differences in what is portrayed.

        *DO "websize" pictures so they are of small size for quick download.  Use the "save for web" command on many photo editors as the pictures files  can be reduced in size while maintaining  resolution quality.

         *DO provide a short and clear index of hyperlinks if you use these to access other pages that may include pictures, documents, honors, or résumé. Four or five links are the most for this type of web page. You are trying not to overwhelm  the reader; you want the person to view all items quickly and continue to look at and scrutinize your entire page.

         *DO include you e-mail address for contact.

          *DO carefully check out the organization you are inputting personal application information.  Recently, fraudulent online job application sites have been discovered that list positions and require personal  information, which is utilized for personality development for illegal means. Know about the group you are applying to before filling out the online forms. Check out Theft Assist as it provides information and help if problems should occur.

         *DO give a little background about your hobbies and extracurricular activities that might be of interest to a district for additional clubs or related duties. A portrait page with several pictures of working with children, conducting musical groups, sports participation, community service, and awarded honors does more in speaking to these directions than a  written summary on a résumé. The person sees you in action and can visualize your abilities immediately. This is especially appropriate as the visualization/perception is then projected to your future performance within the prospective administrator's school district.

        *DON'T provide superfluous items that may be non-directive for your mission of supporting your teaching application. Remember that this is an application portfolio and your direction is to provide information for someone to consider you as a faculty member.  Pictures should reflect positive impressions that will provide a favorable professional view of your academics and personality that can be interpreted for employment. Pictures of pets, family, girl/boy friends may not provide the impression that you wish. Recently an applicant was denied a position because the potential employer ran a search on "My Space" and discovered some very unflattering information concerning  the applicant. The potential employer wishes to perceive you directing his/her band, on the band field, teaching children in the classroom, or in front of a choral group. You can effectively aid this perception through multimedia. 

        *DON'T include large audio files that will take extensive time to download. If audio is used, develop a short mp-3 excerpt of your playing or group performance and fade-in-- fade-out of the file. (Free audio-editing software  is available.) Remember that if the browser the viewer is using does not support the file format you utilize, the file will not be played. Web page viewers lose interest rapidly. Keep  audio file size down to under one under one megabyte. Your page probably will get about ten seconds initial viewing and you want to make an impression that will keep the person perusing instead of clicking to another site. This is also true with video clips that are developed. 

        *DON'T employ gaudy colors and fonts. These can do a lot to UNimpress a potential employer. Utilize conservative colors for background and traditional fonts such as Times New Roman.  A background file can be added to most web pages which will provide a rich supportive texture. You can obtain a variety of small size graphic files for backgrounds from the web. Search "web backgrounds," "texture backgrounds," or "textures.

Free Media Software

 *Audacity (Free audio-editing software  is available.PhotoFiltre 6.0.2 is an excellent free editor that compares with many programs costing  hundreds of dollars. Free   HTML Editing software 1st Page 2000 and First Page 2006 can be obtained from EVRSOFTMatizha Sublime  3.23.2 is another free/or for purchase editor. Free Video software that might be of interest is available but sometimes is missing essential aspects needed  for it to perform well (or"at all") Economical video editing software is available and user friendly  


e-Portfolio Development Resources