Best practices: 10 tips for curating your digital portfolio

Research shows that a digital portfolio is a valuable tool to help you better track your academic progress and more favorably position yourself for post-graduate success.

A digital portfolio is an electronic collection of evidence over time where you can demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills, articulate thoughts and ideas, highlight professionalism, engage a broader audience and provide a well-rounded picture of yourself as a scholar/future employee.

The Graduate College encourages you to curate a digital portfolio and has created a Digication digital portfolio template to aid you in your portfolio curation.

Get the tip sheet: 10 Tips for Curating Your Digital Portfolio

What to include: 

  • A well thought out research statement
  • Samples of your best writing
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae and resume
  • Examples of projects
  • Your teaching philosophy
  • Recorded conference presentations
  • Reflections about what you learned and why you found it to be valuable

Ten tips for curating an engaging digital portfolio: 

  1. Keep your target audience in mind. Tell them what you want them to learn, why they should keep reading and how to navigate your digital portfolio. Remember that web audiences are partial to short sections of text, so break up text with relevant images and use video evidence when possible. 
  2. Be consistent and keep the page design simple. Don’t distract with too many design elements because what you really want the viewer to notice is the content. 
  3. Tell your story. Explain who you are, how you got here and where you see yourself in the future. Use caution with humor and too much personal detail, but don’t be afraid to let your personality come through.
  4. Document and demonstrate your learning and critical thinking. Don’t just claim it as a skill you possess. Provide evidence such as writing samples, video documentation, still images, data collected, etc. Always provide a description of any evidence to help your audience fully understand what they are viewing and why it matters. 
  5. Align your reflections with your goals. Throughout the semester, consider how you met your set-forth goals and how doing so helps take you to the next step. Keep a list of challenges, solutions, and achievements to help you better discuss your growth and conquered obstacles. Be honest about your experiences but avoid being negative.
  6. Indicate the type of work you want to do in the future. Your digital portfolio is a good place to show that you are not stagnant and continually have innovative approaches to learning.
  7. Keep your digital portfolio organized and browsable. Make it easy to navigate with keywords and important information available in just a few clicks. Choose a select few items that represent your values, accomplishments, and impact of your learning. To make your portfolio more searchable, link to related websites or other resources when appropriate.
  8. Think of your digital portfolio as a living document that needs routine care. Review, edit and update the content often. By saving and linking documents like your curriculum vitae and résumé to a Google document, you can push edits quickly.
  9. Provide contact information. Use your professional title, phone number and email address.
  10. Ask for feedback. Seek opinions about the content and style of your portfolio from multiple, trusted viewers, such as mentors, colleagues, family and friends.

Get the tip sheet: 10 Tips for Curating Your Digital Portfolio