Monday, December 7, 2009

Response to Kimball Chapter On Portfolios

I found Kimball's chapter on portfolios to be an in-depth, well-written, and highly informative piece. I find this reading is a great starting point for the process I am about to begin in creating my own web portfolio. Kimball begins by giving the reader an idea of exactly what a portfolio is. Kimball defines a portfolio as a "reflective collection of work that is designed to full fill a specific purpose and presented for feedback." Throughout the entire article Kimball focuses on what characterizes a good portfolio. First and foremost, Kimball points out that the author, with their portfolio, should be able to show the reader what he/she has learned in the process of creating the portfolio itself, and revising the portfolios "artifacts." Kimball refers to each individual piece that comprises the portfolio as an artifact. These artifacts should serve to collectively show the author's development and growth over time. Kimball throughout her article also makes clear that a good portfolio is reflective, meaning the author explains the context of the included artifacts, challenges that were faced along the way, and what he/she has learned. Furthermore, a successful portfolio is not just a mix of artifacts; it is a coherent collection of artifacts that together serve a specific purpose, and serve to satisfy certain goals. Portfolios should also show concrete proof of abilities, and be a demonstration of the authors abilities.

In the latter half of the article, Kimball focuses explicitly on web portfolios. I anticipate that reviewing the content of this section of this chapter will be extremely helpful to me in the coming weeks as I prepare my own web portfolio. Kimball begins his discussion of web portfolios by introducing the elements that a typical web portfolio follows: A home page that introduces the web portfolio as a whole, a series of pages linked to the homepage that introduce and reflect on the individual artifacts within the portfolio, along with a series of digitized examples of the authors work. (Kimball 11) Kimball next moves on to discussing what constitutes a good web portfolio. He points to the successful practice of rhetoric as being key in the process of creating a good web portfolio: "To create successful portfolios,then, authors must practice rhetoric- the art of convincing someone about something" (Kimball 21). I liked hearing this, as I am a Writing and Rhetoric major. I hope to use this final project of creating a web portfolio as an opportunity to improve upon the skill set necessary to be a successful student within the Writing and Rhetoric major. Kimball goes on to state that in creating a good web portfolio, the author must use textual as well as visual components to be successful. Kimball highlights 3 primary rhetorical forms that are important in a good web portfolio: Textual, visual, and structural. The textual component of the web portfolio must use words to convince the given reader that the author has fulfilled the readers standards of quality. Good web portfolios also use text to introduce individual artifacts, and explain the context of them, and the process by which they were developed. Kimball also states that it is important for a web portfolio to include the authors own, honest opinion of the content of the portfolio. Finally, the portfolio should contain clear, concise, and professional writing throughout.

Next Kimball discusses how a good web portfolio is visually rhetorical as well. The visual presentation of the web portfolio should help the reader see the content better, not distract them from it. Kimball presents the following as key visual characteristics that should be employed by any author looking to craft a good web portfolio: - Subtlety - Consistency -Clear Navigation -Straight forward page layout - Legibility and Ease Of Reading -Thoughtful Use of Emphasis -Careful Use of Color

Finally Kimball states that a good web portfolio is structurally rhetorical as well, meaning that the manner in which the website is structure (linear, hierarchical) works to best serve the portfolios overall function, purpose, and appearance.

I thought this was a great chapter, and I know for a fact it is going to be helpful for me. Upon learning what our final project in the class was going to be, I was very nervous because it is the type of thing that is definitely my weakness. I am not good at website design, but after reading Kimball's article my confidence has been boosted. I think this chapter is going to be beyond helpful for me to look back to and essentially use as a guide/rubric in the process of creating my web portfolio.

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