Online Portfolio Logistics

By on July 26, 2012

I just sent an email to one of our LiteracyTA Team Members about the online portfolio and realized what I sent should be shared with the rest of the community. There are a number of questions we have when starting a project based learning (PBL) assignment like this. Here are a few helpful tips that I pulled out of the email I sent.

  • Begin by having your students sign up for a Google Account (which is not Gmail). Students can create an account with any email they choose. I would recommend having them sign up at home or sign up five a day in your classroom. If you bring them to the lab and have them all sign up at once, Google shuts down and won't let you access their tools. Google is fine with everyone working on their Sites at the same time; their problem is with sign-up.
  • Take students to the lab once they have signed up for a Google Account. When in the lab, have them sign into Google Sites and select a BLANK template.
  • Students should use their names as the title of their sites. For example, "Jonathan LeMaster Online Portfolio." What they choose to name their site will become their web address. This will also help with grading.
  • Once their sites are created, you will want to have a system in place to help you capture their URLs. I recommend using Google Forms. A type of Google Doc, Google Forms allows you to create databases and spreadsheets in a few minutes. You can share your Google Form with students, embed it in your teacher web page, or link it in a Google Discussion Group. Students can open the form and fill it in. I usually have them provide their name, the title of their portfolio, and explicitly tell them on the form to "copy and paste" their URLs into the URL field that I create in the Google Form.
  • Open the Google Form Spreadsheet in Google Docs to see who has submitted their information. Help those who are struggling.
  • Next, show them how to build a single web page. Then, give them the list of pages you want them to have for the year. There is a document on LiteracyTA under the Writing Process Handout Bar that can help with organizing all of this information. You don't have to provide every page at the beginning of the year. Going back and adding pages is a snap. You can always add pages later. 
  • Once students have added all the pages you want them to have (this could be projects, reflections, essays, journal entries, names of other classes, etc), you can teach them how to do some simple page design. They will figure out everything else on their own.
  • On the Home page, I have my students include a photograph and a brief description (150 words) about who they are. Example: "Welcome to my online portfolio. My name is Jonathan LeMaster. I am a sophomore at El Cajon Valley High School. I love going to the beach and playing beach volleyball...." You get the point.

A comment about privacy. I have used online portfolios for five years and have never had a problem. My sites are open to the public. However, if you or your school is worried about privacy, students can set their Sites to private. They would have to give you permission to view their Sites, but it can be done if necessary.

For more instruction on how to build and manage an online portfolio, check out our Online Portfolio Skill in Action! page.

I hope this post helps. Good luck with your online portfolios.

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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

W2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
W6
Use Technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
L1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
L6
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
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