Thing 7: Create or update your own ePortfolio
As a University of Warwick PhD student, your ePortfolio is an online showcase for your academic life. It is a collection of web pages summarizing your academic projects, achievements and commitments which you can edit quickly and easily.
ePortfolio uses the University’s SiteBuilder system, an easy to use tool which lets you publish online without any technical skills (there’s additional training online for SiteBuilder on the IT Services website). As a starting point, take a few minutes to look at the different uses to which an ePortfolio can be put in this list of examples.
Phd students can apply for an ePortfolio on the Student Careers and Skills website. It can take up to 10 working days to setup an ePortfolio so, if you don’t have one, there’s a possibility you might not be able to start working on yours before the end of this week’s theme. If this happens to be the case, we suggest that you come back to this Thing once you get e-mail confirmation that your ePortfolio is online, or at least just read more about them and look at others' ePortfolios for inspiration!
Here are some pages that you could add to your ePortfolio, inspired by the ‘getting started’ page, produced by the ePortfolio team:
1. Intellectual biography and personal profile
2. Details about your research
3. Your C.V.
4. The skills you possess & training courses you’ve attended
5. Conferences you’ve attended
6. Things you’ve published and/or presentations you’ve given
7. Key texts you use in your research
8. A glossary of some of the terminology in your research area
9. Your experience of teaching
10. Other projects you’re involved in
It’s very easy for people to find your ePortfolio once it’s online because search engines rank the University’s domain name very highly. It’s also possible to apply for an short URL at the university’s Go.Warwick service, so that your ePortfolio can be go.warwick.ac.uk/yournamehere.
To get a short URL, select ‘create new redirect’ at the top of the Go.warwick page, type your name into the first box, a description of your ePortfolio into the second box, the original URL of your ePortfolio into the third box and press ‘request new redirect’. This then gives you an extremely professional web address (e.g. mine is go.warwick.ac.uk/mcarrigan/) which you can, for instance, place in the signature line on your e-mails or put on business cards.
When viewing your ePortfolio, if you select ‘edit’ and ‘view page statistics’ on the menu bar at the top of the screen, it’s possible to see how many people view your ePortfolio and how they find it. Now all you have to do is keep your ePortfolio regularly updated and you’ll rapidly start to reap the benefits of much increased visibility as a researcher.
But what does the process of ‘updating’ your ePortfolio involve? This may seem like an obvious question but it’s worth pondering. As well as simply reflecting the facts about your research, updating your ePortfolio also involves engaging with a range of important questions:
- How do you think about your work?
- Do you have ‘side projects’ as well as your PhD?
- How do these fit together?
- What are the central features of each?
The process of summarizing your work, deciding what to include/exclude and how to structure its presentation on your ePortfolio can have a radical effect on your understanding of your academic life. As one user describes their experience of creating an ePortfolio: "It has made me think about my work from the point of view of an outsider. Sometimes its quite hard to distance yourself from your work and I feel that it has made me really have to think about how other people see it."