The Portfolio Portfolio

Computer Science

Before you comment, the title is not a typo. In the past few months, friends and colleagues have come to me with jobs in web development. One in particular is especially promising to put in my portfolio, and its focus is on portfolio submission. First some backstory:

In late spring this year, I posted how that I was willing to create professional about-me websites pro bono. It was a limited time offer, but I got several takers within the first week alone! One taker was looking for something a little different than an about-me page. It was a female colleague, “Nina,” who focuses more on web design than programming, despite that she is capable of both. She proposed a digital method of submission for the Ball State Dance Department, since physical copies of 4+ years of work had a history of getting lost. Being the gung-ho WordPress enthusiast I am, I suggested a special blog format instead, that way students and faculty can rely on W3C standards on cross-platform compatibility.

The short of the plans were to leverage built-in roles for Author (student) and Editor (professor) to add/edit posts. They would have a time-stamp and have the potential to be shared publicly online to future employers. Security and user management would be outsourced to the WordPress developers, and Nina and I would only need to develop a child theme to finish the product.

As is common with projects such as these, Nina came back to me with news that our setup was too complicated. Though I was quite confident that I could type very clear instructions for every possible action the professor or student would do, we decided WordPress was not the right choice. Instead, our system needed to be designed from the ground up.

After a bit of brainstorming, Nina and I came up an alternative to which the department heads could agree. Essentially there would be two screens for students: the login page and the submission page. In the submission page, the student choose which section of the portfolio they will submit and be able to download their previously submitted sections.

Professors would have three pages: login, comment submission, and student index. The login page is the same for students as it is professors, though the landing would instead be the student index. Within the index, all students could be filtered by their Username (BSU email address), First Name, Last Name, and Portfolio submission. The professor could then comment on the specific submission (readable by students, editable by professors) on a separate page, though it’s possible to load it in the index using AJAX.

Overall this would streamline the submission of portfolios immensely, allowing for more space to be used for dancing rather than storing binders.