Thank you to all of the remarkable and generous First Year Writing students at DePaul who have allowed us to include their Digital Writing Portfolios here. We now have great examples — some for their compelling reflections; some for visual design; some for putting their own stamp on a multimodal genre — to consider when composing and designing your own portfolio.
For historical context, you might like to see and compare 2010 student reflections, before we began using Digication.
(First Year, Computer Science)
A great portfolio is made from an author who is excited to share their story. I used some of my personal experiences that related to my essay topic to achieve this. This portfolio allowed me to develop a voice that would carry throughout each web page. In addition, I was able analyze myself as a writer by using this creative voice. It's a great time to be yourself and learn about what skills you can improve in the future.
As someone who strives to discover the creative side of themselves and admires the creativity expressed by others, I look forward to opportunities in which I am allowed to harness artistic freedom. Digication let me visually assess, expand, and reflect upon my writing as a whole. Composing this portfolio challenged me to translate the images in my head onto a digital platform, and contributing to the visuals surrounding my work allowed my writing to feel genuinely complete.
Writing is as inescapable as breathing. To live is to constantly create then skillfully dictate, and, capable as words may be, it gets old fitting worlds of imagination into the finite space provided by white pages and black text. Digication has provided me an outlet to project not only the words I shape but the colors and images I associate with them. Composing electronically broadens the spectrum infinitely, allowing me to make my work as unique and visionary as I can, improving my craft in more ways than I ever have.
I really enjoyed creating my portfolio because I was able to expand on the information in my research paper. I included other essays I wrote for the class, drafts so that I could see how my paper evolved throughout the process, and additional resources and information on my research topic. Digication provides a great platform for you to organize your work and present it in a visually appealing way.
First Year, Special Education
Relax: this portfolio does not have to be stressful! The more fun you have with your portfolio the better you will do. I actually copied Buzzfeed and made my introduction more like a blog to grab the reader's attention.
Digication can bring life to your topic. Find something you enjoy and bring it alive through your portfolio! Don't be afraid to brag and show off all the work you did for this course.
First Year, Graphic Design
When I started my portfolio for WRD 104, I felt clueless as to how I should start. I began by choosing a topic and doing research to help me narrow down my topic. As my process continued, I organized all the bits and pieces of my research, starting with creating drafts, outlines, grouping information, frequent visits to my professor's office for advice, and the writing center to help my writing process. By keeping all of this information until the final portfolio, I was able to determine the changes and growth in my writing as its displayed in my final portfolio. -- Sandy
First Year, Computing and Digital Media
My portfolio is comprised of almost all of the work I've done throughout winter quarter in my WRD 104 class. I'm very proud of my portfolio as it is a great way for someone to not only view my work, but also understand how and why I composed it the way I did.
First Year, Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship
A favorite English teacher told me, “Just like Michael Jordan’s ally-oop to win the NBA Finals was not an accident, the placement of these words on this page are not a coincidence.” Jordan’s journey to success included countless hours of practice and studying the game, similar to the innumerable hours writers spend in the writing process perfecting their work. The process allows one to grow in her writing and the portfolio completed freshmen year marks my writing journey. — Annie
First Year, Marketing
The digital portfolio project was the most powerful way to showcase my work from my WRD 103 class. With the portfolio, I was able to organize all of my papers and files so that people can easily find and understand them. In addition, the color palette and cover photo I chose captures attention and shows a bit of my personality. I enjoyed being able to design a page of my own and having fun with the overall project.
The portfolio was a wonderful way to express myself and demonstrate the writing processes I went through when completing numerous types of assignments. It is a different and creative way to show my audience how I have developed as a writer and how my skills have strengthened with each activity and draft. — Taylor
First Year, Secondary Biology Education
A portfolio allowed me to literally add a sense of “color” to my writing, beyond merely changing the color of the text. Fortunately, an online portfolio doesn’t require someone to be highly skilled with technology or Pablo Picasso. Certainly, I am neither, but the simple tutorials I found online made drastic improvements to what were simply words. The freedom I had in creating my portfolio allowed me to showcase what I could do, and set the stage to help me portray myself and my writing as honestly as possible.
First Year, Biological Science / Premed
Art is in itself, above all, a form of expression. Whether it be through the utterance of a note, a smear of paint or injection of ink upon paper as word, it serves to propel meaning and evoke response. I took this into account as I approached the entire portfolio crafting process, polishing both image and word so as to present a cumulative multimodal masterpiece. My key focus was to intertwine every aspect of the portfolio so that it flows cohesively, allowing the reflective aspects to not only stand on their own but to echo my personal voice as well. The choice of font, font color, overall palette and of course, the banner, all serve to represent who I am as both a person and a writer.
I find the portfolio to be a priceless metacognitive tool, a window which not only showcases my writing capabilities, but the processes which lay underneath. — Kristina
First Year, Anthropology
When I learned we needed to supplement our writing with a portfolio, I jumped at the chance, because it was not like the usual "hand in a ten-page essay" assignment. I basically reflected my process of organization I developed this quarter by organizing the pages and sub-pages by a "writing process". This process proved to be a great asset to my writing, because I became more in-tune and focused with the purpose of each prompt. — Hadeel
First Year, International Studies
Taking on the task of creating a portfolio that truly reflects your writing process is a daunting project.
Throughout the process of making this portfolio, I began to see writing as a more personal endeavor than I considered it to be before. Crafting a portfolio is more than a showcase of your writing pieces; it is a way to allow your audience to understand who you are as a writer.
First Year, Accounting and Actuarial Sciences
Starting an essay can be difficult, but starting a portfolio is not. As long as you give yourself enough time to make it, any portfolio can become a masterpiece. First, creating a layout and proper “look” is very important. You can be as creative as you want, but a bright yellow background and a picture of your favorite singer would probably be frowned upon (unless you are doing a portfolio on your favorite singer, in which case, it would be necessary). Keeping everything in a portfolio clean, logical, organized, and on topic can be a little challenging, but if you succeed, your portfolio will be simply gorgeous. Just keep in mind, this is not something that should be (or can be) done in one night. — David
First Year, English
Creating a portfolio allowed me to take a step back and critically look at my work as a collection. I loved using the curated portfolio option because, with my analysis, I could take the patterns I noticed within my work and showcase my development as a writer in a way that I thought was most effective. — Alexandra
First Year, Communication & Journalism
When I first heard that we were making digital portfolios, I was intimidated. The idea of putting together my work, making it look nice, and reflecting on it — scary! But it was easy to make my portfolio my own, and I liked that. Also, I liked the opportunity to see other people’s opinions and writing styles — those of my friends, peers, and classmates. That encouraged me to raise the bar for my own work. Typically, once a class is over, it’s out of mind. But with reflection, I can see why what I’ve learned matters. Now, I question whether and how the content in a class, or even an assignment, is important to me, and I’m challenging myself to choose classes carefully. I’m putting more thought into my education. -- Katie
First Year, Art
Simplicity. When I first started working on my portfolio I knew that was how I wanted my final product to be defined. My goal of simplicity was achieved by keeping my design clean, which allows the focus to remain on the writing, and also by concentrating on easy navigation, which enables readers to roam the portfolio. Even though I worked towards overall simplicity, I still wanted the portfolio to be aesthetically pleasing which is why a careful selection of photos and colors are present. In the end what made the portfolio process so much easier was having a goal in mind, even if it was as simple as wanting to achieve simplicity. -- Kyra
Making bold choices as a writer is something that I have found to be extremely beneficial. For years, I struggled with voicing my opinions onto paper in fear of failing. It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized, that if I was comfortable speaking in front of people, writing for them would be no different.
Knowing this, I’ve taken a more comfortable approach to writing, which has allowed me to be as bold as I want to be. — Joey
First Year, School of Education
When I started working on my portfolio, I knew I wanted to make it personal, interesting, and related to my research paper for my WRD 104 class. To make it more personal, I added an about me section that had photos of myself, information about who I am, and background on myself as a writer. I also worked on my banner selection. I wanted to make sure that everything else in my portfolio reflected something about my research: Facebook and socialization. I took a screenshot of a portion from my Facebook profile and uploaded it for my banner. This also allowed me to accomplish my other goal of making the reader interested in viewing my portfolio! I love using Digication because I believe it provides more of a creative outlet for portfolio making. I plan to use it whenever I can in the future! -- Hannah
First Year, CDM
When working on this portfolio, I was actually quite nervous about how well this would turn out because I had never been asked to do such a project like this. Normally when I think of a portfolio, I think of something that is on paper, not digitally. So naturally I had my doubts about whether I would be able to understand how to work digication. In fact, I am such a messy person that I thought that I wasn't going to be able to keep all my written work in the right places. For me, I found that keeping everything organized was the key to my success with having a good portfolio. Make sure that you label everything clearly otherwise everything will be out of place and your readers won't be able to find your work. — Katie
First Year, Early Education
When I was asked to create a portfolio for my WRD 103 class I did not know how I would go about this. Being the artsy person that I am, I had done art portfolios before but never one for a writing class; this left me uneasy. However, they ended up being quite similar. I wanted to create a portfolio that was informative, easy to understand and navigate, while also being personal. In order to make my portfolio user friendly I utilized both the “Section” tabs across the top and “Pages” on the left hand side. I made my portfolio personal through my multimodal project and by adding a gallery of my photography, which gives the viewer a little taste of who I am. My lasting advice would be to be organized, be clear, and let your viewers get a sense of who you are as a writer and a person. — Hannah
First Year, Business Administration
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the phrase goes. With that idea in mind, I decided to incorporate images in my portfolio to complement my writing. In some cases -- such as my "About Me" page -- if I felt the image alone could convey the complex message I was trying to get across, I used it in place of what was expected to be thousand word essays. Risky, yes; but nonetheless effective. — William
First Year, Media & Cinema Studies
My goal for any type of online portfolio is to make it easy to navigate through, because it’s not very fun to click on something and have it take you right back to where you started. Also, I like to make my portfolios fun and pleasing to the eye. You don’t want it too busy or too simple; if you have one of these extremes it can make your portfolio hard to look at or make people not want to go any further into your work.
The first item I usually start with is the banner, which I make with Adobe Photoshop. The banner is what people see when they first come to your site, and just like the title of a book, it has to catch your viewers' eyes. When putting text into my portfolio you want to make it clean and break it up a little. With my portfolio when you first click on a section tab it brings you to a page with a picture and a short description on it, just to tell the reader what they will see in this section. A few final words: just have fun with it. Listen to some music and try things out, maybe even look at other websites and see what they do. — Elizabeth