Week 15: Wrapping Up the Semester

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

What’s that old saying? Time flies when you’re building online portfolios? Time certainly has flown this semester, and we’re rapidly nearing the end of our class and the beginning of great new things for all of you. It’s been a pleasure working with you, and I hope your portfolios and job application materials serve you well in the months and years ahead. If there’s ever anything I can to help you in the future, I hope you’ll let me know.

Since we had a chance to review everyone’s portfolio during Week 14, we won’t need to meet in person for our final class session. Instead, you just need to do two things:

  1. Upload the final version of your portfolio (including the changes you agreed to make during our peer critique session) to your personal website, then send me the URL for your site.

  2. Complete the SPOT evaluation for this class, if you haven’t already.

Please take care of those tasks no later than Wednesday, May 6. If you need technical help with your site between now and then, please email me to set up a time to meet. Otherwise, I’ll look forward to seeing your finished portfolios next week!

Week 14: Online Portfolio Peer Critique

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

We’re in the home stretch of the semester, and our final task is to finish our online portfolios and publish them on the web. Next week, we’ll spend the entire class period reviewing and critique your portfolio drafts, so be prepared to share your portfolio with everyone in the class. I’d like our critique session to focus on the “little things” that separate good portfolios from great portfolios, so try to get as close to “finished” as you can before you come to class. If possible, your portfolio should be uploaded to your personal website and functioning without any problems.

If you’d like to meet with me individually about your portfolio, please let me know. In addition to my regular office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12), I can make time to meet with you on Monday, Thursday, and Friday, if it would be helpful.

Week 13: Individual Conferences

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

At this point in the semester, each of you is doing highly individualized work, so it’s hard to plan class workshops that serve all of you equally well. Hence, I’ve decided to replace our Wednesday morning class session with a set of individual conferences. Sometime during Week 13, I’d like to meet with each of you to review the current draft of your website and confirm that you’re on track to complete the project by May 6th. (By the time we meet, you should have a full draft of your website. It’s OK if it’s a rough draft, but all of the components should be there.)

I have office hours on Tuesday from 2–5 and Wednesday from 9–12. Please email me with two or three possible times that you could meet. (If you aren’t available during those times, give me a few other options; I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.) Plan on spending up to 30 minutes in this conference, and bring your laptop so I can give you some feedback on your website.

I’m looking forward to meeting with you next week!

Week 12: Framing Your Portfolio Artifacts

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I hope our conversations and class workshops on job hunting and cover letters have been useful. For the remainder of the semester, we’ll focus mainly on your online portfolios, but I’m happy to review and help you revise your job materials if you’re applying for a specific position. Just let me know how I can help.

During Week 12, we’ll talk about how to present and explain your portfolio artifacts to nonacademic audiences (e.g., potential employers). Before Wednesday, you should select at least three specific samples of your academic work and be ready to work with them in class. In addition, the structure of your website should be complete by Wednesday — that means your home page, your “about me” page, your résumé, and your contact page should all be integrated into the template you’ve chosen. (Create placeholder pages for your artifacts; we’ll work on those during class and in the coming weeks.)

Questions? Comments? Desperate pleas for help? Send me an email or come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12).

Week 11: Applying for Jobs

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

During Week 11, we’ll continue our discussion about the job application process, focusing on cover letters. Before you come to class, please review Allison Doyle’s “How to Write a Cover Letter” (we covered this in Week 4), and read “A simple how-to for writing that killer cover letter,” by Anna Helhoski.

Your portfolio task for Week 11 is to draft an “About Me” page for your website. Depending on how you’ve structured your site, you may also need to create a “Welcome” page. Please be ready to show me an early draft of your site (which should also include an HTML version of your résumé) during class.

If you need help any with your site, come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12) or email me.

Week 10: The Job Search

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

In Week 10, we’ll turn our attention to the daunting and often stressful topic of “The Job Search” (capitalized for effect, of course). Before you come to class, please read the following articles:

Your assignment for this week was to fine tune your résumé and then convert it into HTML (if you haven’t already). Try to add that final version of your résumé to your online portfolio, and let me know if you encounter any technical problems as you do so.

Week 9: Designing Effective Résumés

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

My conference trip set me back a few days, so I apologize for the delay in adding the Week 9 post to the site. I’ve emailed or met with most of you, but here are a few quick reminders about what we’ll be doing on Wednesday and how you can prepare:

  • In class, we will focus on how to design effective résumés. Please bring an electronic copy of your current résumé to class.
  • You should be making steady progress on your professional portfolio site. By the end of this week, you should finalize your choice of theme/template and create the pages you plan to include on your site. (These pages don’t need to be finished yet, but the framework for your site should be in place.)

Keep moving forward on your personal site, and let me know if you need any help along the way. I’ll see you in class on Wednesday morning!

Week 8: Midterm Conferences

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Next week is spring break, and I hope all of you enjoy some well-deserved rest. When we return, all of your efforts in this class should be directed toward your professional online portfolio, which will keep us busy until the end of the semester.

I will be traveling for a conference on Wednesday of Week 8, so we won’t meet at our usual time. Instead, I’d like to meet with each of you individually before I leave town. I’m available on Monday, March 16, from 9–12 and 2–5. Please check your schedule, then email me to set up a 15–20 minute meeting for that day. When you come to your conference, you should bring two things:

  1. Your completed “English ePortfolio Graduation Checklist.” I will verify that all of your artifacts and reflections have been uploaded to the portfolio site in Scholar, then I will sign the checklist and submit it to the department.
  2. An early effort at developing the “personal brand” you will use on your professional online portfolio, your resume, your cover letters, etc… This might include typefaces, colors, a logo, and a WordPress or Bootstrap theme. I don’t expect you to have a full draft of your online portfolio at this point, but I’d like to see where you’re headed.

If there’s anything I can do to help you with your portfolio or your personal brand before we meet, please let me know. Otherwise, have a great spring break!

Week 7: Developing a Personal Brand

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Week 6 marked a big turning point in the semester — we wrapped up our work on your English Department portfolios, and from this point on we’ll focus on your professional online portfolios. If you haven’t uploaded all of your materials to the portfolio site in Scholar, please do so this weekend, then bring a completed copy of the “English ePortfolio Graduation Checklist” to class on Wednesday so I can sign it and submit it to the department.

The first task you need to complete for your online portfolio is to select the software platform or web design framework you plan to use. If you’re still weighing your options, you can review all of the options we discussed in class on the Resources page — there’s a new section called “Tools for Building Online Portfolios.” By next week, you should know what tool(s) you will use for your site and download/install any necessary software, plugins, etc…

During class on Wednesday, we’ll discuss the concept of “personal branding,” with the goal of helping you develop some brand guidelines for your portfolio site. If you’d like to meet before then, stop by during my office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12) or drop me a line.

Week 6: Selecting a Platform for Your Personal Portfolio

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

At this point in the semester, you should have identified all of the artifacts you need for your official English Department portfolio (in the Core Matrix and the Professional Writing Matrix), and your short reflections for each of these artifacts should be complete. I’ll take a look at those this weekend and suggest revisions, if necessary. Once you get the go-ahead from me (I’ll email you directly), you should upload all of those documents to the matrices on the Scholar site and bring a completed copy of the “English ePortfolio Graduation Checklist” to class during Week 6. (If you can’t complete the entire checklist because you still need to produce one of your artifacts in a class this semester, that’s fine — just do as much as you can.)

In class, we’ll continue our discussion about how to approach your professional online portfolios — specifically, we’ll help you choose a platform and a hosting solution. Before you come to class, you should review as many sample portfolios as you can, with the intention of finding a few portfolios you’d like to emulate as you develop your own.

Questions? Concerns? As always, just let me know or come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12).

Week 5: Considering Various Approaches to the Professional Portfolio

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

A month into the semester, all of us are discovering how early 8:00 a.m. is, so let me take this opportunity to gently remind you about the importance of coming to class — and arriving on time — each week. I realize this is a one-credit course, and I’m doing my best to keep your workload manageable, but you need to be present (in body and in mind) with me on Wednesday mornings.

During Week 5, we’ll wrap up our work on the official graduation checklist for the English Department, then begin thinking about your professional online portfolios. Before you come to class, you should complete the last component of your department portfolio: the “Showcase on Growth.” This part of your portfolio should include “an early and final draft of an essay or project, which are annotated to show areas of growth,” along with “a 300­–500 word reflection that compares the two drafts, focusing on how both the essay/project and you as an student/author/critic developed throughout the process of completing the assignment.” Please upload your documents and your reflection to your shared Google Drive folder so I can review them after class.

During class, we will review several effective models of professional portfolios, which will help you find some inspiration for your own public portfolio. You’ll spend the rest of the semester building that portfolio, but we’ll take it slowly — one small step each week.

If you’d like to meet with me to review the materials in your department portfolio, just let me know. Otherwise, good luck assembling your Showcase on Growth!

Week 4: Writing Personal Statements and/or Cover Letters

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Did our discussion on finding (or creating) careers that build upon a professional writing degree inspire you to start looking for a job? Or maybe give you a little confidence boost about your job prospects? I really hope so. I genuinely believe that your PW background positions you well for many different types of careers — it all comes down to what you want to do when you leave Virginia Tech. If you want to talk through your options at any point during the semester, please come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12).

If you haven’t finalized your artifacts and reflection essays for the Core Matrix, you’re falling behind schedule, and you’ll need to catch up quickly. Please put some time into those tasks this weekend.

By the time we meet next, you should finalize your artifacts and write the accompanying reflections for the Professional Writing Matrix. Make sure all of these documents are clearly labeled and uploaded to your shared Google Drive folder before you come to class. (Remember: each week’s checkpoint assignment is worth 10 points. They’re easy points, but you have to do the assignment!)

During class, we’ll talk about writing personal statements and cover letters. Before you come to class, you should read the Purdue OWL’s guide to writing personal statements, “10 tips for writing a grad school personal statement,” by Billie Streufert, and “How to Write a Cover Letter,” by Allison Doyle.

If you have any questions about these plans, please email me this weekend.

Week 3: The Job Market vs. Graduate School

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

I hope our class session on Wednesday helped you determine which artifacts from your English classes will make the best fit for the various cells in the Core Matrix and the Professional Writing Matrix. All of those materials should now be uploaded to your shared Google Drive folder, where I can review and help you refine them before you upload them to the Scholar site.

Between now and next Wednesday, you should finalize the documents you plan to use for the first three learning outcomes in the Core Matrix and write the 200-word reflection essays that will accompany these documents. Remember what we discussed in class: your reflection essays should situate your artifacts within the broader context of your work in the English Department and help your readers (the faculty members assessing your portfolio) understand how and why each artifact demonstrates your mastery of that particular learning outcome. If your artifacts don’t line up perfectly with the learning outcomes, your reflection essays should address that issue and explain your rationale for selecting the documents you chose to include. Please make sure that your Core Matrix documents (with the exception of the “Showcase on Growth”) and your reflective essays for these documents are clearly labeled in your Google Drive folder before you come to class on Wednesday.

During our Week 3 class, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of looking for a job versus pursuing more schooling after you graduate. As time allows, you might be interested in reading some of the articles I’ve bookmarked about the job search and going to graduate school.

If you need any help with your Core Matrix documents, please come see me during office hours (T 2–5, W 9–12) or send me an email. Otherwise, I’ll see you in class!

Week 2: Collecting Materials, Setting Individual Schedules

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

It was nice to meet everyone on Wednesday morning — especially those of you who haven’t taken a class from me in the past. We may be a small group, but I think that has several advantages. Chief among them will be our ability to focus on each of your portfolios in detail.

We’ll get started on that goal next week with our first checkpoint assignment: collecting all of your course materials from your time in Virginia Tech’s English department and determining how you can use your essays and projects to complete the two matrices required for graduation. Please begin gathering your materials and bring them with you to class on Wednesday. Before you come to class, you should review the Core Matrix and the Professional Writing Matrix in the Scholar Portfolio site and select two essays/projects that could be candidates for each cell in the matrices. In class, we will review your options and help you choose the best document for each requirement.

If you’re having trouble finding artifacts for some of the cells, don’t panic. We’ll discuss some strategies for dealing with this problem on Wednesday. Just do your best to find all of your course materials and gather them in one place (e.g., flash drive, folder on your laptop, Google Drive).

Please let me know if you have any questions about our plans for next week. Otherwise, I’ll see you bright and early on Wednesday morning!

Welcome to the Senior Portfolio Course!

Quinn WarnickWeekly Updates

Welcome to ENGL 4864: Senior Portfolio Development in Professional Writing. This website will function as the online headquarters for our class this semester. Each week, I will post an update to the website with details about coming week, deadline reminders, links to helpful resources, etc… I will use Virginia Tech’s Scholar site to record your grades, but otherwise, everything related to this course will be posted here. You should bookmark this site on your laptop, your tablet, your phone, etc. — whatever you use to get online.

A bit about me: I’ve been at Virginia Tech almost three years, and I love it here. My research focuses on how people use rhetoric in online environments, and all of the classes I teach have something to do with technology. I have been building websites since 1999, and I do some web consulting for small businesses and nonprofit groups that need help getting (or getting up to date) online. When I’m not staring at a computer screen, I love to cook, read, and spend time with my wife, a brilliant freelance writer, and our two daughters.

Watch for the Week 2 post later this week, but right now, you can get a jump start on your eportfolio graduation requirement by collecting electronic copies of your major projects and essays from all of the courses you’ve taken in the English Department at Virginia Tech. Your first assignment (due next Wednesday, January 28) is to review the eportfolio graduation checklist and determine what steps you need to take to complete it.