David in Career Planning recommended I check out a book called The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam. It’s not about electronic journaling, but instead about visual journaling. Beam encourages self-motivated, creative people to use art-making to define goals and visualize strategies to accomplish them.
The book speaks directly to my experience because it asserts that artists (even the ones who study studio art at liberal arts colleges) can indeed get jobs. And not only can they get jobs, they can create their own jobs. I can’t tell the doubtful Scotties this enough, so here’s more proof that liberal arts rocks.
Reviewing this book made me ask, How am I understanding and communicating the process part of e-portfolios? While making the E-Portfolios 101 handout, I decided to keep the “process” part of the definition open. We thought including a blog was flexible and inclusive of us–what about students using whatever media they want to reflect? If you reflect through drawing or painting or film photography or sculpture or cooking or eating raspberries, why shouldn’t you pursue that? I guess reflecting via those forms may eliminate the electronic part, but it would still promote soul-searching. And any non-digital expression can be digitized if it’s relevant to the final portfolio.
Here are some specific quotes that stood out:
“Visual journaling helps us go beyond what we know in our rational mind, so we can access other ways of knowing–the kind of knowing that results in truly original thinking, ideas, and creative breakthroughs.”
Making an e-portfolio or blogging may require more rational thought than physical art-making, but I would argue that reflecting online can also generate new ideas and creative solutions.
“The beauty of the process described here is that you are using proven tools to create your very own roadmap for getting from where you are right now to where you want to be. Where and how you travel will look very different from other people’s paths.”
Beam’s proven tools are different from our proven tools, but the bottom line is that reflection is good. I also like the acknowledgment that people’s paths are unique. A lot of schools use standard templates for eportfolios, but I’m leaning more and more toward flexibility in format and freedom of expression. Choosing how to present yourself as opposed to just what to present seems crucial to “finding your voice.”
“Remember, a visual journal is a journal first. You are not making art.”
This idea speaks directly to the process part of eportfolio-making. Your blog/other form can be whatever it needs to be in order to facilitate reflection and self-discovery. You can modify it later when creating the e-portfolio that you’ll send to employers and graduate schools.
Thoughts? Does promoting reflection of all kinds seem within the reaches of the program? Do other universities encourage reflection outside an electronic format? If so, how does this material connect to e-portfolios?