Dr. Diane Hamilton's Blog

What is an ePortfolio or Career Portfolio and How Do I Create One?

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  When I graduated from high school, I was told to set up a career portfolio.  What is that and how do I do it? 

For a complete explanation for “what is a career portfolio” click here.  The basic definition of a career portfolio is a collection of things that represent your skills and accomplishments.  Like a resume, it contains your education, awards, honors, work experience and strengths. 

There are several ways to develop a career portfolio.  You can find sites where you can pay to upload media you have designed or other things you would like to highlight to potential employers.  There are also a lot of free sites like Linkedin where you can display a lot of your information for others to find you and see your skills and abilities. Many professionals such as educators, journalists, artists and others have used career portfolios for years.  Recently many other types of job-seekers are finding that they want to be able to showcase more of their skills and abilities as well. 

It can take a bit of a time commitment to initially set up your portfolio, but in the end, it will be easier to update and add things once it is prepared. 

Quintcareers.com gives the following examples of things you should include in your portfolio:

  1. Career Summary and Goals: A description of what you stand for (such as work ethic, organizational interests, management philosophy, etc.) and where you see yourself in two to five years.
  2. Professional Philosophy/Mission Statement: A short description of the guiding principles that drive you and give you purpose. Read more in our article, Using a Personal Mission Statement to Chart Your Career Course.
  3. Traditional Resume: A summary of your education, achievements, and work experience, using a chronological or functional format. If you need help developing a resume, visit Quintessential Careers: Fundamentals of a Good Resume.
  4. Scannable/Text-Based Resume: A text-only version of your resume should also be included. More information about this type of resume can be found at: Quintessential Careers: Scannable Resume Fundamentals.
  5. Skills, Abilities and Marketable Qualities: A detailed examination of your skills and experience. This section should include the name of the skill area; the performance or behavior, knowledge, or personal traits that contribute to your success in that skill area; your background and specific experiences that demonstrate your application of the skill.
  6. List of Accomplishments: A detailed listing that highlights the major accomplishments in your career to date. Accomplishments are one of the most important elements of any good job-search. Read more in our article, For Job-Hunting Success: Track and Leverage Your Accomplishments.
  7. Samples of Your Work: A sampling of your best work, including reports, papers, studies, brochures, projects, presentations, etc. Besides print samples, you can also include CD-ROMs, videos, and other multimedia formats.
  8. Research, Publications, Reports: A way to showcase multiple skills, including your written communications abilities. Include any published papers and conference proceedings.
  9. Testimonials and Letters of Recommendations: A collection of any kudos you have received -– from customers, clients, colleagues, past employers, professors, etc. Some experts even suggest including copies of favorable employer evaluations and reviews.
  10. Awards and Honors: A collection of any certificates of awards, honors, and scholarships.
  11. Conference and Workshops: A list of conferences, seminars, and workshops you’ve participated in and/or attended.
  12. Transcripts, Degrees, Licenses, and Certifications: A description of relevant courses, degrees, licenses, and certifications.
  13. Professional Development Activities: A listing of professional associations and conferences attended — and any other professional development activities.
  14. Military records, awards, and badges: A listing of your military service, if applicable.
  15. Volunteering/Community Service: A description of any community service activities, volunteer or pro bono work you have completed, especially as it relates to your career.
  16. References List: A list of three to five people (including full names, titles, addresses, and phone/email) who are willing to speak about your strengths, abilities, and experience. At least one reference should be a former manager. Read more in our article: The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search.

eHow has a useful article for how to create your online career portfolio for free. 

They also suggest the following tips and warnings:

Tips & Warnings

  • Creating an online portfolio will increase your chance of landing your dream job
  • Always be honest with yourself when displaying your qualifications
  • Give your website address to prospective employers to market yourself
  • Don’t be dishonest because it will backfire!
  • Only give your website to legitimate employers
  • Do not include official transcripts online because it includes your SSN
  • Only give your personal information to only jobs you have applied for
  • Do not include your web portfolio address on your online resume with any online career site such as Monster, Hot Jobs, Vault and Career Path. Read more by clicking here.

The Fox School of Business had an interesting article about how you should spend a moment to Google yourself to see what others might find out about you online.  They reference the following statistics:  44% of hiring managers use google, myspace, and facebook to do online background checks on candidates. Nearly 1/3 of these background checks lead to rejection of a candidate.

Some tips they suggest to create your own online image include:

  1. Join Linkedin.com.  This is a great site that will allow you to create a professional social networking “resume” and allows you the chance to connect to a lot of great contacts.  Your linkedin.com profile will also show up when you google your name.  Use this to your advantage and list all of your strengths, education, and experience using well written short descriptions. 
  2. Start a blog.  Starting a blog is not just for people with uncommon niche interests.  Find a topic you find interesting and is relevant to your professional life and write in it often.  Read other blogs on industry news and comment.  All of these small things will help to create a good social presence for your on the internet. 
  3. Check your Myspace and Facebook profiles.  If there is anything that would give an employer the wrong impression of you, take it down!  Pictures should be professional.  You can stand out from the pack if you use your myspace or facebook page as another tool in your job search strategy.  Not everyone has the attitude of “it’s just a social profile.”  Make sure all privacy settings are enabled so only close friends can see things about you.
  4. For those more web savvy people, start a website or create an online resume.  These can be great additions to your paper resume and you can certainly include a link to your online resume on your paper resume and in any footings or signatures of any emails you send to employers regarding your job search.   You can detail more experiences, share some volunteer experiences and even include pictures, showcase some examples of your work.  Be careful with this though….professionalism is of utmost importance.

A useful student-centered platform for building an eportfolio is available at eportfolio.org.  Once you register, you can set up your portfolio as a student, faculty or institution.  You can then control what goes into your portfolio, who can see it, and can create several versions of it to use based on who you want to view it.  There are fees for this based on how many megabytes of storage you would require. 

In schools, some students are being taught to create web pages using a virtual learning environmental (VLE) that are not as easily accessible outside of the environment in which they are created.  A good alternative for a student who wants a format that is easier to share outside a school environment, would be to get signed up with a free account on Linkedin.  Linkedin has added a lot of features that allows people to showcase more than just work experience.  Users can also import Google Docs presentations, include a WordPress blog, and there are many more options available to update and promote abilities to prospective employers or potential connections.

For an example of a Linkedin portfolio, you can look at mine by clicking here.  To see all of the options I have added to mine, you can send me a request to be linkedin with you.  I accept all invitations.  At that point, you can see how I have incorporated Google Docs, WordPress and other features to display my information.

Using Camtasia and Powerpoint to Make Videos for YouTube and Beyond

 

Ask Dr. Diane: How do you make those presentation videos that you put into your classrooms and here on your blog?

I personally use Camtasia and PowerPoint combined to create a lot of my presentations for my students. It is very simple to do. All that is required is to create a PowerPoint presentation as you normally would, then use Camtasia to record the voice over portion as if you were giving the presentation to a live audience. The software is simple to use and you can save it in different formats that are easy to upload to Youtube. For some information about Camtasia and its use, click here.

I teach a lot of online courses and find that this type of presentation is a great way to reach students who prefer more than simply reading directions on a screen. Camtasia will capture not only sound but can show your curser movement to explain directions in a way that is more effective to the visual and aural learner. For an example of these packages used together, click here.

Ask Dr. Diane: Tips for How to Successfully Teach an Online Class

Today’s Question: I know you teach a lot online and finally I will be teaching my first class (utilizing eCollege) soon.  I just wanted to know if you could provide me with some feedback so I might eliminate some typical rookie mistakes.

Answer:  That is a good question.  Each online college has a software they use to deliver the class.  Not all colleges use the same software.  It is interesting to see all of the differences that each of the software platforms provide.  I currently teach for 6 universities and use eCollege, Blackboard, OLS, Angel and sometimes even Outlook Express to access my classes.  I think you will find that eCollege is pretty simple.  Most of the course will be set up for you.  Usually you will have to add your own information such as your bio, updated due dates for assignments, any lectures or guidance, etc. 

As far as mistakes you might want to avoid, here are a few things to think about:

  • If you include lectures/guidance that have links to material on the web, be sure you go to each of them to see that they are still working.  Be sure you have a well-written lecture/guidance page that gives helpful advice about what they will be discussing that week.  I try to include links to areas that will help them write their papers that are required. 
  • Be sure you welcome each student in the introductory area.
  • In eCollege, it will probably default to showing you what has been posted since the last time you entered the class.  If you go into class, get out again, and haven’t accessed those areas to see what was posted, the next time you sign on, it will assume you went there and not show you any new activity.  The activity is still there . . . just not the reminder on the main page.
  • If you are curious to see how much time you or any students are spending in a class, you can go to the gradebook, pick user activity, click on the name and it will show you. 
  • Sometimes I like to post fun things in the chatroom . . . cute links to funny things like this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ  . . . it helps to show that I have a sense of humor.
  • I like to respond to as many of the initial discussion question (DQ) postings as possible.  The best style is to acknowledge what the student said, add a few things about that and then develop the discussion by asking another question. 
  • If students are not meeting the requirements of class, do not post it in the main discussions.  Contact them individually. 
  • I always respond to DQs and grade homework within 24 hours of it being posted.  I know the schools do not have this requirement.  Many schools give you a week or more to grade homework.  It drove me crazy when professors took a long time to grade my work so I don’t do that.  I think students really appreciate getting feedback quickly, especially in short 5 or 6 week courses where the feedback is necessary sooner in order to write the next paper. 

eCollege has some interesting ways of changing information. You must access this through the author tab on the left.  This is where you will go to change your dates, and add information.  If you have any more questions about the specifics of how to do this, you can contact me through my website at www.drdianehamilton.com.  You can also find out more information about my book, The Online Student’s User Manual there or by clicking here.

Ask Dr. Diane: Do You Have A Question?

I have dedicated  a section of my blog to answering questions about the topics I cover in my books.  If you have a question about online learning, personalities in the workforce, how to get a job or reinvent your career, personal finance, social media or any of the other topics I cover here, please  email me at diane@drdianehamilton.com and I’ll be happy to post it here with my response.

Ask Dr. Diane: How to Add Headers and Page Numbers in Word


Today’s Ask Dr. Diane Question: How do you enter headers and page numbers in Word?

Ask Dr. Diane: Starting Over In Life – How to Catch Up Financially

Today’s Question Is:    I am pursuing my Masters. I am divorced, 49 and just starting over in my life.  I now have a 30 year mortgage on a home (I look at it as an investment).  I really am worried about my future and how well off I will be financially.  Starting over has cost me a fortune but personally I am extremely happy, until I think about my future, and then severe anxiety.  Not to mention paying student loans.  Anyway do you have any resources for women like me?  I feel happy that I am an RN and am actually working but I want to be better off financially.

Answer:  Thanks for the question.  Having a masters can only help you in the long run.  It opens doors for you in terms of work possibilities.  You said you like being an RN.  Are you interested in teaching as well?  I like the site http://higheredjobs.com. They list teaching jobs for people with a master or doctoral degree.  I think teaching online could be a good part time way to get extra money and also set you up for a possible full time job in the future should you want to stay home, not be in nursing any more and/or not be worried about your age being a factor in finding new career opportunities.  I am almost 48 … and realistically we are not at our most marketable age.  I write about this in my book How to Reinvent Your Career.  It will be available on Amazon in about a month or so.  You can find out more here on my website and on my blog at www.drdianehamilton.wordpress.com or on Facebook.
 
Be sure you are putting the maximum amount away in your 401k or your IRA if you don’t have a 401k. After you turn 50, you can put an additional $5500/year away in your 401k to catch up if you are behind. Many people are working past the retirement age of 65.  If you have your masters and have some online teaching experience that you could be developing now, you will be able to supplement income nicely and not have to work a full 8-hour day.  The extra income could also help you pay off those student loans. 
To hear more financial advice, listen to my recent interview with Dean Voelker by clicking here.

Ask Dr. Diane: What are the Top 15 Writing and Grammar Mistakes You See as a Professor?

Today’s question is:  What are the top mistakes you see students make in terms of spelling and/or grammar?  Here is a list of some of the common mistakes I see on a regular basis:

  1. A lot should be written as 2 words and not as one word as in a lot.
  2. Cannot should be written as 1 word and not as two words as in can not.
  3. Use effect as a noun and affect as a transitive verb.  Example: Something may have a lasting effect.  The delay may affect your plans. 
  4. Use except as a verb and accept as a preposition.  Example:  He counted all of them except the last one.  Please accept my apology.
  5. When including numbers in your writing, be sure that you spell out the number if it is the first word in a sentence.  Example:  It is correct to write:  Fifty people were in the crowd.  It is incorrect to write:  40 people were in the crowd.
  6. Many people still get its and it’s mixed up.  You only use “it’s” when you mean it is.  Example:  It’s getting late.  Use “its” to show possession of something.  Example:  Its case is blue. 
  7. Irregardless should not be used as a word.  You might find it in dictionaries as you would ain’t.  However, it is not proper to use as a word.
  8. Many get lose and loose mixed up as well.  Lose sounds like looze and is used when something is lost.  Loose means not tight and is used as an adjective. 
  9. Use anyway as one word if you mean “in any event”.  Example:  She is going to the party anyway.

10.  It is correct to say between you and me and incorrect to say between you and I.

11.  It is correct to say I couldn’t care less and incorrect to say I could care less.  Interestingly only 1 in 5 people say it correctly. 

12.  When to use e.g. and i.e.  Use e.g. When you mean “for example” and use i.e. when you mean in other words. 

13.  Use farther when you are talking about a more advanced point.  Example:  Drive farther down the road.  Use further when you mean to assist.  Example:  He was trying to further his ambition. 

14.  If someone is from Scotland, they are Scottish and not Scotch.

15.  When to use I or me . . . It is correct to say it has been a good year for Bob and me.  It is incorrect to say it has been a good year for Bob and I.  Take the words “Bob and” out of the sentence and it helps to tell you if you are correct.  For example:  It has been a good year for me sounds correct.  It has been a good year for I does not.

Ask Dr. Diane: First Time Online Student Questions

Ask Dr. Diane:  This week’s question is actually a compilation of several questions my “new to online learning” students have asked this week.

  1.  How much time does a student have to complete an online quiz?  This varies by school and by quiz.  In most of my courses, there is no time limit on taking the quiz.  However, many of the quizzes are set up so that you can only take them once.  If you get out of it, they often do not let you get back into it.  If you have technical difficulties, you might be able to call technical support and have them reset the quiz for you.
  2. How many discussion questions do I have to answer each week?  This also varies by school.  I have schools where I post one or two discussion questions each week that we get into a lot of depth discussing.  I have others were we have 5 questions.  Most schools require that you not only answer the initial question but that you also respond to some of your fellow classmates’ responses to that question. 
  3. How much time will I need to spend online each week?  This is a complicated question to answer.  Most of the classes I teach are asynchronous which means you can access the class during the hours of the day when it is most convenient for you. If a class is synchronous that would mean you would have to be online at a specific time.  In asynchronous classes, like the ones I teach, the majority of times students will spend will depend upon the course being taught.  It has been my experience that first-time 100 level courses require more reading than they do a lot of writing.  As you progress into master level courses, more research and writing will be required.  If you are reading more than writing, the time you spend online would depend upon whether your books were online books or regular books.  Even if they are online books, you could technically print them out.  I have some students say they spend about an hour a day online while others spend much more time.  A lot depends upon your learning style and that week’s assignments’ requirements.
  4. How are assignments submitted?  Each school uses a software program to have you access their classroom materials.  This software is called a platform.  The schools where I work use: OLS, Angel, eCollege and Blackboard.  The software for each school may differ to some extent, but in general, you will post answers to questions by responding in a way that is similar to responding to an email or a blog posting.  To upload assignments, it is very similar to uploading a file as you would if you were attaching it to an email. 

I answer a lot of these questions and more in my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

Ask Dr. Diane: How to Become an Online Professor

Ask Dr. Diane:  How Do I Become an Online Professor?
 
Today’s Question:  One of my goals is to teach for an online university. Is a Masters enough or do I need a PhD? What can I do to enhance my chances? Do I need teaching experience or does work experience with education qualify me?

These are all very good questions.  A lot of these questions are answered in a book by Dr. Danielle Babb called Make Money Teaching Online.   http://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Teaching-Online-Credibility/dp/0470100877/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1.  Dr. Dani gives some great advice.  She was on my doctoral committee and she really knows her business.  I highly recommend getting a copy of her book. 

There are some schools that allow you to teach with a Masters.  Some schools do prefer a PhD – especially for teaching higher level courses.  I think the best site to find online teaching jobs is www.higheredjobs.com.  Your best bet to enhance your chances of getting accepted is to apply for actual jobs that are listed on sites like Higheredjobs as well as through other sites like www.monster.com.  I have seen the University of Phoenix on Monster but not on Higheredjobs – so it is important to look at several sites to find all of the jobs out there. It is good to have online teaching experience but not all schools require it.  They like to see that you have real world working experience which is helpful when you are participating and sharing in the classroom.    

Ask Dr. Diane – Today’s Question About: Online College Student’s Learning Style

I am happy to answer questions about online learning, understanding personalities, careers and job changing, personal finance, and more . . . To see the list of things I write about, see the categories to the right. 

Today’s question:  In an online-learning system, how do you identify visual and verbal learning styles, and then what is the right method to use. Maybe you can give me the information and recommendations about it. Thanks.

There are several instruments (tests) that can be taken to give you an idea of your preferred style of learning.  You may have heard of VARK, Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT), or The Index of Learning Styles .

 Although it is the most helpful to do so, you don’t necessarily have to take a formalized test to know which of the styles best fits you. A student can try several different methods of learning to see which of them provides the most benefit. 

Some clues that you might be a visual learner would be if you like to:

  • Highlight or underline things to remember them
  • Prefer to re-write notes you have taken to better remember them
  • Find charts or graphs helpful
  • Find flashcards helpful

Some clues that you might be better with verbal learning would be if you like to:

  • Talk about what you have learned
  • Do well with audio books or like to record lectures
  • Read out loud to listen to questions asked and hear your answers given.
  • Like study groups

The following site offers a free learning assessment:  http://www.learning-styles-online.com.  This site could be a good starting place to give you a idea of what your style is and to suggest ideas of things you can do to help you learn based upon your preferred style.  

If you have a question you would like to ask me, please contact me by clicking here.

To receive a copy of my free online student’s newsletter, please click here.

Thanks for the great question!