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
e-Portfolios are becoming of essential value as online application procedures
are currently increasing rapidly. Applicants can enhance
their applications with multimedia support documents to include audio,
video, and pictorial supplements. Development of the online e-Portfolio is
becoming an essential part of the music curriculum at many
schools of music. The University of Florida presently requires each music
education major to develop this as part of the graduation requirements…see http://portfolios.music.ufl.edu/
portfolios are becoming an important resource for search committees at both the
college and public school levels for realistic scrutiny, as well as for
applicants who can provide enhanced documentation of their background past the
usual paper resume and application letter. Additionally the candidate can
overtly exhibit knowledge of expertise in technology.
With the continuing development of online application procedures, an
applicant can do well in supporting his/her candidacy by being able to develop
and revise such an e-Portfolio.
This presentation considers practical ways in which e- Portfolios can be
developed, realistically assesses their value, and lists free software that can
be obtained and utilized. Procedures at online job position
application sites are considered in regard to how the e-Portfolio can be
utilized in supporting the applicants on line application.
Music applicants are faced with online application systems where paperless applications are increasingly being utilized by both Colleges and public schools. Public school districts are currently implementing 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. As an example, TeachGeorgia.org 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 OLAS (On Line Application System) allows placement of a Resume, Letter of Application and access information which can be viewed by administrators in the New York area. Teachers can immediately view available positions and quickly apply if they desire.
Music teacher candidates using such 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. By simply providing a web address for the e-Portfolio website when applying online, an opportunity exists for enhancement of the candidates application as the employer can quickly copy, paste, click, and view. Pictures, short musical examples, résumé, teaching philosophy statement, and indictors of musical and educational achievement can be illustrated for instantaneous scrutiny. Visualization is immediate and not just as an interpretation of many lines of type! Cost is minimal: the applicant can demonstrate to a potential employer facility with visual information organization in addition to applicable knowledge of technology.
Web page development expertise presently is a very important aspect 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. Music teachers will find that web sites are very valuable for communicating regarding the music program to both students and parents. These sites can also be utilized for placing teaching resources or guides, on line for perusal by students or as suggested 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. 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/yourprovider.net/portfolio/online.htm
*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. Three or four 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.
*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 Page" and discovered some very unflattering photographs of 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 Economical video editing software is available and user friendly.
*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."
An online application e-Portfolio will not circumvent the application process, quality references, or past educational employment that are not favorable. However, it will provide an opportunity for music education applicants to enhance and support their achievements while providing an effective means for potential employers to view abilities and qualities of prospective applicants at a higher perceptual level.
e-Portfolio Development Resources