Skip to content

Prior learning assessment portfolio

May 12, 2012

Recently, I compiled the necessary documentation and wrote the necessary essays required for my Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. My goal was to earn 11 credits from my portfolio in order to graduate with a B.A. in the Arts & Humanities. I am sharing my portfolio here as an example from which others in this same situation may be motivated to prepare their own portfolios. I have deleted some personal identifying information. Also, the title page looked like an actual title page, but here I have deleted the blank lines so as to consolidate the portfolio for this web presentation. Additionally, the Personal Statement and the Learning Outcome sections were double spaced and had identifying headers on each page with abbreviated title, my name, and page number. The Works Cited was set up with hanging indents as was the Annotated Bibliography. Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have questions about writing your own Prior Learning portfolio.

TITLE PAGE:

Communication is What Matters at the End of the Day

 Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip

Date of Submission: May 3, 2012

Home phone:

Cell phone:

Email:

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Table of Contents

1.) Letter of Intent

2.) Resume

3.) Unofficial Transcript

4.) Personal Statement

5.) Competencies and Learning Outcomes

6.) Documentation

7.) Annotated Bibliography

LETTER OF INTENT:

May 3, 2012

Greetings,

With this portfolio, I intend to prove my learning outcomes in communication and cross-media. Communication is one of my strengths. I work with cross-media as I have been editing and writing for newspapers since 1999 and the industry has changed considerably in that period of time, going from a paper product to paper and digital products. I am currently a full-time special sections editor at a newspaper. I intend to demonstrate in this portfolio my areas of expertise which are communication skills and cross-media production: speaking effectively and articulately, writing clearly and concisely, and listening with thoughtful objectivity. Through life experiences, I have learned critical thinking skills such as analyzing problems, ideas, and situations; theorizing and reflecting; and making decisions that end uncertainty. I find that people like it when someone has the answers.

In my job as an editor, I have networked and interacted with peers, supervisors, and subordinates. I enjoy being a team player and I encourage and appreciate the contribution of others. At the same time, I can lead and effectively oversee and direct people. When the budget at work allowed for additional help, I hired and managed part-time special sections paginators. I often take the role of leader in team projects, motivate, inspire, and delegate tasks that need to be done so as to meet deadlines.

As an interest outside of my work, I became involved as a historian for a nonprofit women’s club. I organized the historical documents the club had archived since 1892 and discovered many historically significant civic accomplishments of the group that have largely been forgotten. I wrote a grant for CLUB, which was awarded through the State Archives, to fund a professional conservationist to preserve the club’s archives. I put together three public presentations on the history of the club and created a Facebook page to create public awareness about the civic engagement of the club’s members. I include this information here because I had to persuade the members who are computer illiterate that the use of Internet-based social media allows for a presence and audience interaction not possible through old media.

For several years I have worked part-time in the marketing office at the college I attend. I was hired as a journalist to interview and write profiles about the full-time faculty, and students at the college. Many of these profiles have been published in a local magazine and some in the local newspaper.

In my marketing, editing, and historian roles, I organize facts, concepts, and principles for print and digital versions of information products. My e-knowledge is deep. I have built my own drupal-based website at denisescammon.com. I built that website just so that I could better understand the drupal-based Content Management System we use at the newspaper. All of my online courses have required above-average knowledge of computer applications such as BlackBoard, Skype, making podcasts, PowerPoints, slideshows, and online test taking.

My reason for submitting this portfolio is to request 11 credits for learning outside the college classroom. Reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of learning that has occurred outside of school, I have examined my skills in public relations, graphics and design, marketing, advertising, and social networking, as they pertain to communication and cross-media. This reflection and compiling information for my portfolio has been a learning process in and of itself.

Sincerely,

NAME

RESUME SECTION:

Name

Address

Telephone: XXXXXXXXXX Cell: XXXXXXX

Email:

Area of Expertise: Cross-Media Communication

  • Project Management: Responsible for production of 800+ newspaper supplements; verifying and coordinating information with other departments, co-workers, freelancers, and advertisers.
  • Editing/Writing/Designing: Edited 7,200+ news and feature articles; written 100+ published news and feature articles. Design skills include graphic/ typography/ photography design with popular software such as PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, QuarkXpress, and OpenOffice. http://npd.snd.org/profile/SpecialDee
  • Active Listening/Social Media: In-person interviews of people of all ages/backgrounds for news, feature stories, and more. Social media including Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to communicate with colleagues, freelancers, advertisers, and interviewees. http://twitter.com/specialdee
  • Critical Thinking: Look for ambiguity, identify strengths/weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches. https://specialdee.wordpress.com/
  • Judgment and Decision Making: Consider relative costs and benefits of potential actions. Created Freelance Agreement. Curate editorial content based on research and benefit to both advertisers and readers.
  • Active Learning/Training: Understand implications of new information for both current and future problem solving and decision making. Create work flow charts to demonstrate what works and what could be improved. Create training documents for co-workers and customers, such as an explanation of resolution and dpi in graphics. Use online tools such as Google Docs, Google Reader, PowerPoint presentations and learn new tools as needed for better work flow and organization.
  • Monitoring: Assess performance of self, other individuals, and organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. Pro-active in all aspects of work, anticipate trends to plan editorial content, making sure other departments have the same deadlines.

Professional Experience

  • Title, Name of Employer, current
  • Student Journalist, xxxxxx College, current
  • Freelance Writer / Photographer
  • Office Manager, Name of Employer

Education

  • College Name, Arts & Humanities, 4.0 GPA, awards include Distinguished Student 2012, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, USM Golden Key International Honour Society, Dean’s List each year

Community Service

  • Working with nonprofit group to preserve and digitize collection of historical documents; wrote, and was awarded, a grant for the group to hire professional conservationist; bringing the group up-to-date on social media used for civic engagement; creating educational packets from collection material; making collection available to researchers
  • Marketing Director at Name of Computer Club, Volunteer
  • Name of Little League, Volunteer
  • CityName Public Schools, Volunteer; taught computer skills; fund raising; photographer/ graphics

UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT SECTION (get this from Student Success Center)

PERSONAL STATEMENT:

Personal Statement

The life experiences that have shaped my views on communication and cross-media include my work in the newspaper industry since 1999. I have been editing and writing for newspapers since that time. I am currently a full-time special sections editor at EMPLOYER. Also, I have worked part-time since 2009 in the Marketing department at NAME of College. I am in my second year of filling the volunteer position of Historian at a nonprofit women’s club, NAME.

My prior learning and experience support the theoretical frameworks and paradigms of communication and new media. In this portfolio, I reflect on my achievement of learning outcomes for those subjects. My prior learning is shown through real-life examples that highlight how I have applied my college-level learning. The writing of this portfolio is one example of my college-level writing skills. I have included examples of my problem-solving skills that show the depth of the knowledge I have gained and put to use in theoretical and practical applications.

JUDGMENT AND DECISION MAKING: As managing editor of Special Sections, which is a function of the Advertising department, I produce newspaper supplements that have themes. The editorial content for the supplements comes from many sources which funnel through me. Supplements are also known as tabloids and in the newspaper industry they are simply called tabs. Some tabs, such as the Balloon Festival tab, are almost entirely filled with editorial content and photos supplied by the organization’s committee. One-time supplements – usually a business or organization celebrating an anniversary, open house, grand opening, or renovation – contain editorial content supplied by that advertiser. Sometimes an independent contractor (freelancer) is needed to provide the editorial content, in which case I hire a freelance writer/ photographer/ videographer to work with the advertiser.

ACTIVE LEARNING/TRAINING NEW MEDIA: As Special Sections editor, I use the services of independent contractors to produce some of the editorial content for the supplements, and so I have had to learn about the freelancer copyright laws. The newspaper purchases first-time publication rights from the freelancer and permission for publication in any and all of its newspaper/ online products. Advertisers and others who wish to use the freelancer-produced editorial content in products not affiliated with the newspaper – content for which the newspaper has paid the freelancer – must contact the freelancer directly for that permission and possible payment to the freelancer. That is because the newspaper has paid for the use of that editorial content in its newspaper/online products only. The newspaper is not paying the freelancer to provide marketing materials for the advertiser. Knowing the law about using the work of independent contractors is an important part of my job which I share with advertisers and my co-workers.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT: My work is detail-oriented. I maintain lists of independent contractors, assignments, and payments. I submit invoices to NAME of Advertising & Marketing, as well as the Payroll department. I have kept track of freelancer payments from 1996 and analyze trends in the growth/shrinkage of my budget. For themed supplements such as Weddings, Women, Health, Family, and others, after discussion with the editorial team, I decide what topics to assign to the freelancers. The budget allows for at least two or more freelancer-produced articles per supplement. The topics are based on the theme of the supplement, to be sure, but also taken into consideration are the advertisers of those supplements. For example, if family counselors usually advertise in the Family supplement, a freelancer could be assigned to write on a topic such as teen depression, including quotes in the article from at least three sources. Advertisers are allowed to submit topical articles that adhere to Special Sections guidelines. The editorial content is meant to be interesting and useful for our readers. The inclusion of quotes from local experts gives the articles a local flavor and more believability. The number of pages in a supplement is determined by the number of ad inches sold.

EDITING/WRITING/DESIGNING: At the newspaper, I edit stories for grammar, spelling, and to make sure the guidelines in the AP Stylebook are followed as closely as possible. Also, I format photos in PhotoShop, adjusting for the best print and web versions. Text, photos, and videos need to be entered in the Content Management System. When a supplement is designed for the print version, I become a paginator, which means page designer. Pages are designed following the Special Sections Design Standards. Adjustments are made as needed. I notify the advertising department design manager of missing or problematic ads. I also check the print schedule to make sure that the supplement is scheduled to be printed by the press room and that the day it is being printed is at least one day after I plan on sending the pages to the PrePress department. A copy of the supplement is printed on the copier machine so that the Advertising department can proofread it before it goes to the printing press. Every extra set of eyeballs help catch mistakes.

ADAPTABILITY IN NEW MEDIA: When the supplement has been okayed, I export the pages to a folder that prepares the pages for the plate-making process. I must view each page digitally and check that everything on the digital version of the page looks as it does on the print version. When each page is approved, my job is finished. The next step in the workflow is PrePress, the department that makes the plates which will be sent to the press room. When I first started working at the newspaper, at this point in the workflow I used to send the pages to the film machine which made negatives that were used to make the plates for the press. Now everything is done digitally. I send an email to Advertising informing them that the pages have been sent to CTP so that they don’t make any more changes to ads in the tab because it will be too late once the plates are made and/or the supplement is printed. I also create digital versions of the tabs and upload them online.

MONITORING PERFORMANCE: In my job as an editor, I have networked and interacted with peers, supervisors, and subordinates. I enjoy being a team player and I encourage and appreciate the contribution of others. At the same time, I can lead and effectively oversee and direct people. When the budget at work allowed for additional help, I hired and managed part-time special sections paginators. I often take the role of leader in team projects, motivate, inspire, and delegate tasks that need to be done so as to meet deadlines.

ACTIVE LISTENING: In my journalist job at COLLEGE, I interview and write profiles about the full-time faculty, and students, at COLLEGE. Many of these profiles have been published in NAME of Magazine and some in the local newspaper. The interviews were always taped and then a rough draft would be typed up from the tape and my notes. I would then submit a good draft of the profile to the person interviewed for feedback and to catch potential errors. I have found that people reveal more in an interview than they realize and since these profiles are not “breaking news,” getting approval from the one being profiled is a big plus.

RESEARCH/SHARING: As an interest outside of my work in the newspaper industry, I became involved as a historian for the nonprofit WOMEN’S CLUB NAME. As volunteer historian, I learned how to archive, preserve, and digitize historical documents and photographs which reach back to the founding of the organization. I organized the historical documents the CLUB had archived since 1892 and discovered many historically significant civic accomplishments of the group that have largely been forgotten. I wrote a grant for CLUB, which was awarded through the State Archives, to fund a professional conservationist to preserve CLUB’s archives. I continuously research grants that might fund restoration projects of the organization’s historical club house. I put together three public presentations on the history of the CLUB and created a Facebook page to create public awareness about the civic engagement of the club’s members. I maintain the club’s social media tools that are used to reach out to members and the public. I appreciate the social and cultural context of historical events more now that I have seen the important information in the club’s documents and see patterns that repeat themselves throughout history, such as the return of efforts to clean up along the river by local groups, which is something the club did back in the early 1950s.

In my marketing, editing, writing, and historian roles, I organize facts, concepts, and principles for print and digital versions of information products. My e-knowledge is deep. I have built my own drupal-based website at denisescammon.com. I built that website just so that I could better understand the drupal-based Content Management System we use at the newspaper. All of my online courses have required above-average knowledge of computer applications such as BlackBoard, Skype, making podcasts, PowerPoints, slideshows, and online test taking.

COMPETENCIES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES SECTION:

Competencies and Learning Outcomes

Communication comes in many forms and in a variety of contexts, including intrapersonal, organizational, intercultural, and mass communication. The actual application of theories presented in this paper reveals what I have learned outside the classroom. As the Special Sections editor for over 10 years at a major newspaper in central Maine, I have become accustomed to taking a broad view of, and a close look at, communication and cross-media. Over the years, my views about communication have evolved as I have examined it in many contexts: news in print, online, text messages, videos, and delivery through social networks and augmented reality. A big component of emerging research is cross-media communication, which is an umbrella over communication and how the different types of media used to communicate interact particularly with an audience. In his book, Communication Theory: Media, Technology and Society, (2005), David Holmes explains the way communication has been changed by new technologies:

It was in the final decade of the twentieth century that the emergence of global interactive technologies, exemplified by the Internet, in the everyday sphere of advanced capitalist nations dramatically transformed the nature and scope of communication mediums. These transformations heralded the declaration of a ‘second media age’, which is seen as a departure from the dominance of broadcast forms of media such as newspapers, radio and television (4).

The Internet provides a new venue for communication. For example, 10 years ago, online bloggers, sometimes called citizen journalists, were not using the Internet as widely as they are today. Many online bloggers now regularly disseminate opinion-based “news” as if it is journalism which has created global debates on what constitutes journalism and where bloggers fit in. I have followed the journalism versus blogging debate with much interest and have examined different approaches to understand the larger context of the debate and how it has affected the newspaper industry.

In “Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future,” (2012), communication theorists Stanley J. Baran and Dennis K. Davis, explain the debate: “The question facing blogs and their social responsibility … is really no longer whether they practice journalism. It is whether or not they can remain independent of the pressures that seem to limit more traditional outlets” (126). This quote from Baran and Davis reveals the complexity of the situation and this complexity is one of the reasons that I read a lot about what is going on in the news industry. Communication theorists, Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, (2008), add this note, “Knowledge in the electronic age changes rapidly, and we become aware of different versions of truth. The constant change created by electronic media can make us feel confused and perhaps unsettled. … [and] creates a culture of … groups pitted against one another to promote their special interests” (291). In addition to online blogs, Wikipedia is an example of an online source of information that is typically based on journalistically uncredentialed input. In my opinion, the validity of news is only as good as its source.

Computers, mobile devices, and the Internet are common tools of communicating to the masses. I have explored the effect of mass media, and from Herman and Chomsky, co-authors of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, comes this quote about how messages are communicated:

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, inform and inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs and codes of behaviour that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda (1).

Special Sections is part of the Advertising department of the newspaper where I work and so I am very familiar with U.S. commercial culture from historical and theoretical perspectives that privilege media and advertising/marketing, including yellow journalism. In making decisions about what editorial content to include in the newspaper supplements I produce, I acknowledge consumer culture and how identity, the environment and economy, are impacted and shaped by it. I choose editorial content based on research and the benefit to both advertisers and readers.

With the explosion of digital technology that has affected the industry I work in, I have examined the relationship between media, technology, and society from different perspectives. I understand the frameworks and theories that explain technological change and the fundamental relationship between humankind and technology. In McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, (2010), Denis McQuail notes,

The wish to communicate does not stem only from political or economic necessity. People have always displayed an urge to combine, share and co-operate for personal and social ends that cannot be explained in material terms. This urge finds expression in the wish to share the pleasures and sorrows of life, to embody them in rituals and narratives of family, community, tribe or nation (544).

I know the importance of lifelong learning, but more thrilling to me is that I have discovered that I love to learn. I understand the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. I create flow charts to demonstrate what tasks work effectively and what tasks could be improved. I create training documents for co-workers and customers, such as an explanation of resolution and dpi in graphics. I use a diverse array of online tools such as Google Docs, Google Reader, PowerPoint presentations and have learned to adapt to new technology as it emerges. I know that not all technology will be long lasting or useful, but I am willing to explore it. I have participated in many phases of news production and design including multimedia production, photography, and page design.

***Here I have deleted information*** I have examined methods of inquiry found in communication and media-studies research literature. These methods include experimental design, survey research, textural analysis, and ethnography. In examining these methodologies, I look at both strengths and limitations with a critical eye toward the origination of the research and whether it was peer-reviewed. ***Deleted***

When adapting to new technology, I identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. For example, if a computer system fails, I find alternatives to keep the work flow moving. I use the computer as a tool of communication every day and so it is important for me to have a thorough understanding of where items are found on the company’s intranet; sometimes links are broken and paths must be retraced. A few years ago, the company I work at experienced a computer virus that had our IT department isolating computers one by one in order to find the culprit. This process took several months to complete. Many computers were found to be infected and those users were given new hard drives. Paths to links were broken repeatedly in the rebuilding process and requests for help from IT to find those paths were followed by long waits. From years of using computers, having purchased my first computer in 1984, I am familiar with how computers are set up and I was able to help my co-workers find paths to broken links, too.

At home, I use Apple computers, while at work the computers are Windows-based PCs and so I have learned to adapt to new computer situations. Since I frequently work with deadlines, I have learned the importance of being proactive when upcoming changes to the company’s intranet are announced. I like working on computers so much that for several years I was the marketing director and webmaster of the ***Computer*** Group which is presently in hibernation. I have worked with html code and created websites. About two years ago I purchased the domain name: denisescammon.com and about a year later I taught myself how to use drupal code to create the site as it looks today. Coders have a culture of their own and some inside jokes. One of my favorite geeky phrases is on a baby’s t-shirt: “I TCP/IP but mostly IP.”

I have worked part-time for the last two years in the Marketing office at ***NAME*** College. This position has provided opportunities for me to interview faculty and write profile-type articles about them. About 14 of these profiles have been written, and about seven of them have been published, several in the local newspaper’s college-themed section, and several in the local publication, ***Local*** Magazine. In An Integrated Approach To Communication Theory and Research, (2009), Stacks and Salwen, state, “Interviews likely should be combined with observations to understand cultural perspectives, and doing that is a good way of combining the strengths of social science and of ethnography” (306). In researching and writing for a variety of different publications, I practice different writing styles. My journalistic form is concise and accessible to a ninth-grade reading level. The magazine prefers a creative nonfiction-styled writing. I have conducted interviews with people of all ages/backgrounds for news and feature stories. I use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to communicate with colleagues, freelancers, advertisers, and interviewees. I have learned to appreciate the liberal ideals of public engagement and discourse in the diverse sources of news publications. The newspaper’s audience and the magazine’s audience have different demographics and expectations. Furthermore, the print audience and the online audience have different demographics. The newspaper just recently conducted a survey to update its audience statistics. These statistics are valuable information for making decisions about editorial content for my special sections.

My professional writing skills include techniques and strategies used in media writing for both the print and online versions of the special sections products I create. I use my media writing skills to communicate information, create media content, and construct meaning. In addition to media writing, I select specific articles for publication, thus becoming a curator of news. I have come to an understanding of how news media coverage affects social change. I have examined historical aspects of news publishing and electronic media. I have seen firsthand how and why the media cover social movements the way they do. I pay attention to news coverage of the civil rights, black power, antiwar, women’s and men’s movements and note the presence of ambiguities, prejudice, and bias.

I also make note of how quoted materials are cited since in my academic writing I use either APA or MLA formatting, but at work I use AP formatting. The AP Stylebook is my bible at my newspaper job. The difference in journalistic writing and academic writing is great. In the AP Style of writing, the most important information comes in the first few paragraphs and a specified paragraph is determined to be where the article can be edited for length without losing the important context of the article. In academic writing, MLA and APA styles promote essay and research paper outlines that begin with an introduction that includes a thesis statement and end with a conclusion that summarizes the middle paragraphs of supporting information. In journalistic writing, paragraphs are broken up into sentences to fit the space available on a page. Words such as “that” and “which” are often edited out, again to fit space. When I switch from journalistic to academic writing, I am aware of the differences in the way I write, word selection, and the power of language to convey messages.

I have learned essential communication skills that have benefitted my business and professional work. My interpersonal, group, and public communication skills include listening actively, giving and receiving constructive feedback, interviewing others, leading groups, negotiating, and making effective public presentations. My skills have improved each year as I review the methods I use to send, receive, and store information. At one time, I thought my communication skills were improving mainly because of achieving maturity, but I have come to realize that my communication skills have improved due to the direct application of trying different methods of communicating. I have made sense out of my experiences and learned what type of communication works and what does not work in specific situations. I have formulated organizational behavior theories through observation. ***Deleted examples*** In Explaining Communication: Contemporary Theories and Exemplars, (2009), Wendy Samter explains the importance of studying aggressive communication will help us to “understand the ways in which individuals’ behavior in dealing with controversial issues impacts their relationships with others” (157). I try to be cognizant of the messages I am communicating ***deleted***.

Workplace communication can be tricky. I find that some people depend on shortcuts rather than knowing the steps required to complete a process. For example, some people depend on others to show them how to perform a task which they should know how to do themselves. Rather than write down the necessary steps the first time they are shown the task, they continue to ask for help each time they need to perform the task. I have learned to identify this lack of responsibility for one’s job performance and use a simple solution by way of suggesting to anyone who is learning a new task that note taking is a valuable, time-saving skill. I have taken it upon myself to create work flow charts, folder paths, and style notebooks to combat this problem. I refer those who should know how to perform a task to these guides. This has become a learning experience on my part as I constructed the guides with images and the correct terminology so that anyone can follow the instructions. In examining the best way to work as an effective team, I rely on methodologies of intrapersonal communication that allow all members of the team to feel comfortable in expressing opinions. Compromise becomes part of final decisions and an effective method in interpersonal communication that fosters teamwork. I have become familiar with techniques associated with group behavior that include leadership, conflict resolution, group climate, and decision making.

I have learned that while I have the ability to lead, at times I have to sit back and give others an opportunity to lead. In both situations, whether I am the leader or participant, I put my best effort into the project. For years I worked alone without the benefit of an editorial team and so I have had the freedom to take initiatives and work independently in making decisions about what stories get published. Since 2002, my project management skills have continued to evolve as I have overseen the successful production of 800+ newspaper supplements without missing a deadline. This includes verifying and coordinating information with other departments, co-workers, freelancers, and advertisers to meet deadlines. ***deleted example*** My editing/writing/design skills include the editing of 7,200+ news and feature articles and the writing of 100+ published news and feature articles. My design skills accumulated from designing over 800 newspaper supplements and include graphic/ typography/ photography design with popular programs such as PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, QuarkXpress, and OpenOffice. I have been part of the team that created the Special Sections Design Standards manual. I have also selected winning designs for newspaper contests.

I assess my own performance and that of other individuals and organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. I am aware of the need to be proactive in all aspects of my job and so I look for and anticipate trends that help me plan editorial content. I also make sure other departments know a project’s deadlines for the best possible project finish. When I hire freelance writers and photographers, I describe their writing assignments in detail. Sometimes a writer will contact me with a writing assignment of their own and try to persuade me to approve it. I have had this happen often enough over the years to have analyzed persuasion as a behavioral process. In these instances, I examine the attempts by the writers to persuade me, and then I carefully craft a communication that either accepts or refutes their suggested assignment. In my response, I often explain the reasoning behind my denial, keeping in mind the ethics involved in persuasion. There is not such a need for explaining an approval as there is a denial. Sometimes my reasons include the assignment already having been assigned, a similar article was recently published, or my budget for the month has already been spent and cannot cover the freelance fee for another assignment.

I generate story ideas for freelance-written articles that are targeted for publication in specific markets. I envision the strengths and weaknesses, and fields of interest, of the dozen freelance writers I hire and select the writer I think is best suited to the topic of the feature. I provide helpful writing suggestions to the freelancers in order to help them develop a writing style suited to Special Sections publications. The freelance writers have built portfolios of their published work. Some freelance assignments are photography and/or video projects. I apply my understanding of visual aspects of reality as mediated through a camera lens to these projects whether assigned or a project I am doing myself. These applications include my understanding of the techniques of lighting, camera angles, perspective, shot distance, editing, and montage. In my early days as an editor, I used a 35 mm camera to take photos, but shortly after starting my career as an editor, I purchased a digital camera. Regardless of which type of camera I use to take photos for publication, discussions about visual language and persuasive strategies occur with my co-workers, particularly the staff photographers. A working knowledge of photographic techniques has enabled me to produce photos that illustrate an article’s subject. Several times I have even been on the other side of the lens when my co-workers needed a model for illustration purposes, too.

As part of my volunteer work as historian for a nonprofit women’s literary club, I have given public presentations about the club’s history as well as the history and architecture of its clubhouse. These presentations included my photography in a PowerPoint presentation of the findings of my research. I have learned to be cognizant of my verbal behavior and pay special attention to the ways in which words and actions take on meaning in context. For example, in my presentation, I was describing a flying staircase and stated that the stair posts were made of three different designs. But, I did not say “stair posts.” I referred to the posts as “newell posts” and was promptly corrected by a member of the audience. It is that type of attention to language that makes me realize the immense undertaking of understanding the specificity of words and their meanings. I examine my speeches for manipulation in which I might take things out of context in order to persuade. I try to envision how other people will interpret what I say. I do a close reading of my speeches and try to ascertain that bias and prejudice have not gotten past my filter. But, I am also aware that my filter is subjective and thus having another set of eyes or a whole team to improve my work is very important to me.

In conclusion, I have analyzed the components of my learning experiences outside of the classroom. I have distinguished between crucial and trivial information, using examples that show how what I have learned from detail-oriented tasks in a deadline-driven work environment. I have been successful in life because I am adaptable: I associate new information with stored facts and integrate information from many sources to solve problems. What I learn in one situation helps me in another because I gain a new awareness with each new experience. I project an attitude of success gained through learning from both my studies and life experiences.

I have improved my editorial and writing skills, built an accomplished portfolio, and examined the practical and philosophical challenges of editing and writing professionally. I see patterns that help me think critically in my work as an editor by studying human culture and society in order to determine what types of stories will generate reader interest and advertiser dollars. I have to be able to recognize quality writing when I see it and explain my reasons for including that writing in the supplements I produce. While the Arts & Humanities program has provided a background in adapting book-smart knowledge to real world settings, the learning that has occurred outside of the classroom has enabled an evolution in my understanding of theories that I did not learn from textbooks.

I have given public speeches/presentations and learned to speak slowly and, when appropriate, ask questions of the audience in the early part of my speech to get them involved in a learning process which is the goal of my presentation. As I present historical facts and discoveries, I believe the slow delivery gives my audience time to absorb the information I am sharing with them. Speaking slowly does many wonderful things for myself as the presenter and for the audience, in my experiences. It slows down my heartbeat from the initial stage fright I feel at the start of my presentation. It also gives me better control over my speech so that important elements are not forgotten. I like my audience to feel that they are on a path of historical discovery with me. I have learned to organize and communicate connections in diverse information.

I have learned to conceptualize many sides of a controversial issue, to understand the root of the issue and differing perspectives, and to effectively resolve informational conflict. ***deleted summary*** I have learned from my experiences. I analyze my own behavior and think of alternative ways of behaving that may produce better or more effective results. I also review the behavior of others and our interactions so as to examine the results of complex choices that were made and that could be improved the next time the same situation arises.

I have learned from my writing/editing career to form clear and concise written thought with a careful eye for ambiguities in language. I have written over 100, and edited over 7,200 published news and feature stories. I am intellectually curious about people and the world around us. I have learned to actively listen when conducting interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds. Staying cognizant of the reason for the interview — usually a news or feature story — I remain open-minded while listening for context and potential ambiguities. When listening, one might not hear the “comma” that one would see if reading, such as occurs in the well-known example: “Let’s eat Grandma” versus “Let’s eat, Grandma.” I taught myself the Associated Press Style of writing because it is widely used at my place of employment. The journalistic style of writing that I must use in my line of work is self-taught and oftentimes quite different from my academic writing. Both journalistic and academic writing require integrity (citing sources) and ethical considerations. Most importantly, stories connect us and make us feel alive. The Internet has the ability to connect one voice to many which is analogous to saying that it connects one voice to the collective spirit. Storytelling has always been a big part of my life and I plan on making up stories for the rest of my life. ;-}

Works Cited

Baran, S. J., and Davis, D. K. (2012). Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

Herman, E. S. and Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon.

Holmes, D. (2005). Communication Theory: Media, Technology and Society. California: SAGE Publications.

Littlejohn, S. W., and Foss, K.A. (2008). Theories of Human Communication, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, 6th ed. California: SAGE Publications.

Samter, W. (2009). Explaining Communication: Contemporary Theories and Exemplars. New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Stacks, D. W., and Salwen, B. (2009). An Integrated Approach To Communication Theory and Research, 2nd ed. New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

DOCUMENTATION SECTION:

For each qualification/skill/learning outcome you claim in the above sections, this section is where you include proof. For example, if you claim to have public speaking skills, include a copy of a speech you wrote and presented and/or a copy of your PowerPoint presentation and/or a press release about your speech. This is where you put copies of certificates and awards you have received, as well as “thank you” cards and letters. Your documentation should be for learning that occurred outside of school. The portfolio does not give you credit for things you did for a class for which you have gotten credit already. If you create forms or have written policies or grants, include copies of those in this section. If you design brochures, websites or other marketing material, include samples.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY SECTION:

Annotated Bibliography

Baran, S. J., and Davis, D. K. (2012). Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.
A solid base for learning about many communication theories: an introduction that begins with a history of communication to future trends. Also, ideologies about cultural and social communications.

Herman, E. S. and Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon.
This book provides metadata on criticisms about the manner in which the media provides biased news based on the dominant social class and its needs.

Holmes, D. (2005). Communication Theory: Media, Technology and Society. California: SAGE Publications.
This book contrasts various types of communications, particularly old media which was one-way and new media, which has the potential to be interactive with its audience.

Littlejohn, S. W., and Foss, K.A. (2008). Theories of Human Communication, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.
This book offers a good overview of many types of communication theories.

McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, 6th ed. California: SAGE Publications.
This book provides a look at different components of communication such as the sender, the message, and the audience among various types of media and how all relate to culture.

Samter, W. (2009). Explaining Communication: Contemporary Theories and Exemplars. New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.
This book offers scholarly perspectives on communication theories, from its history to future possibilities among various media.

Stacks, D. W., and Salwen, B. (2009). An Integrated Approach To Communication Theory and Research, 2nd ed. New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.
Research findings are included in this book along with communication theories.

Advertisements
12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2012 2:12 pm

    Hi!
    Thank you for sharing your portfolio! I am doing a training course for my university and would like to include your portfolio as an example. (You really did a great job!)

    Would you mind?

    Also, I am assuming you were awarded credit (I would certainly have awarded you credit), but can you verify how many credit you received and in what area?

    • October 19, 2012 7:31 pm

      Hi Sonia, Thanks for your comment. You may include the portfolio as an example. I wrote this post to help two friends of mine who were delaying putting together a portfolio because they had no idea where to start. I was awarded credit. I asked for 11 credits and was given those although I was told the portfolio could have garnered more. But I only needed 11 credits to graduate so that’s what I took. I don’t remember the three areas the credit was earned in, but one of them was Newspapers. Hope this helps and good luck!

  2. October 20, 2012 12:38 pm

    Good for you, for putting together a well-done portfolio and for encouraging your friends! Thanks for allowing me to use it in our training course. You will help many students by doing so!

  3. November 18, 2012 2:44 am

    Fantastic portfolio. I’m in the beginning stages of this process and this is a top notch example to get my brain working. Thanks so much, Denise!

    • Denise permalink*
      November 18, 2012 9:35 pm

      Great! Glad it is helpful.

  4. July 17, 2013 5:18 am

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  5. Teisha permalink
    July 20, 2013 9:53 pm

    Very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I really appreciate your time and effort in doing so.

  6. November 10, 2013 3:08 pm

    I am going through this process now and found your portfolio helpful. Thank you for your generosity.

    • Chales permalink
      November 20, 2013 7:13 pm

      I am working on a portfolio myself and can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept. Any suggestions?

  7. April 18, 2014 12:16 pm

    He claims that it is the vulnerable who are being profiled.

    A fundraising minimum, in contrast, is all about hslping your organization meet its mission.
    It’s a theme people can take as far as they dare – from the
    nominal red sock to the full-body makeover.

  8. Deborah Wright permalink
    October 3, 2016 7:46 pm

    Hi Denise, I am writing a new PLA course and using the E-Portfolio rather than binders with this university. I would like to link to your portfolio in my online class as an example if you’re are okay with that. I see that it is open, but I wanted to ask anyway. Let me know.

    thanks,
    D. Wright

  9. Lakesha Earl permalink
    October 19, 2016 6:17 pm

    Hello Denise,
    Thank you for posting this sample for students! Like D. Wright, I am developing an E-Portfolio option for my students and would also like to refer to your sample for students. Will you let me know if this is ok?

    Thanks,
    K

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: