Design Tips for Students



The resource to the left provides directions to students on initial preparation of their page from an instructor's point of view.

Below are some of the Top Questions from students about initially designing their Communication ePortfolio in WIX:


Can I take my current page and easily redo it if I don’t like my template?

The short answer is ‘no, not simply’.  Like other similar portfolio or archival sites, you cannot simply apply a new template and have old content filled in directly.  This is one of the primary reasons we advise that students (or anyone developing an ePortfolio): a.  Spend time carefully choosing their template, and b. maintain back-ups of general language that might be needed, the same way you might archive several copies of your resume or writing samples offline.


Alternatively, you can make a ‘copy’ of your page without publishing it, and this is recommended as a back-up to archive your basic content and language should you need to access that material later if you decide to rebuild your ePortfolio for any reason.


Which template is best for completing this project?

This is a good question but the answer is what you’d expect: “it depends.” It depends on your goals for the page—are you seeking employment or a promotion, are you looking to showcase and archive your work, or are you looking to creatively design a specific project on its own. Each goal might yield a different template choice—combined with your own personality and aesthetic preferences, you might spend some time reviewing samples in various categories of templates. For example, if you are designing a Communication ePortfolio for a COMM class at ODU, it is likely that it is rooted in archiving and showcasing your best work, and to serve as an online resume (expanded beyond a space like LinkedIn), so you might begin with templates under the ‘Portfolio & CV’ category. Business, Design, Events, and Blog templates are a great starting point as well—but be sure to carefully review the subpage options to see what might need to be added. Adding a homepage, resume page, and similar pages (as directed by the instructor) can be done manually—but if time management is a concern, then a template from Portfolio & CV is a better starting point.


What do I do with this when class ends?

Ideally, this is a site you ‘take with you’ when class ends, or when you graduate from Old Dominion.  If you plan to take additional courses in COMM you should keep your page active, or accessible.  It is likely another instructor will require a project or ePortfolio in their course!  It will be important to show how you have developed and expanded your page in subsequent courses, so your instructor might also recommend screenshots showing your page before you start editing your work each semester. Next, review the Curation documents provided at the bottom of the ‘Why Bother’ page.  These include examples on archiving and editing your work.  ​


How long should I keep course materials or specific projects on my page? 

This is a great question—and is addressed briefly in the Blog post on Dec 29, 2015.  As your professional or scholarly goals evolve, determine which projects are most in line with your objectives and disable or potentially remove older work.  Alternatively, consider adding a subpage that notes ‘Work completed from Fall ____ to Spring ____’ and move older material to that page.   This keeps your sample work fresh and hopefully highlighting your best work from upper level courses, and allows you to show development in the type of writing or projects you have completed during your studies.  If you find an older sample is detracting from your focus then it might be wise to remove it, especially if you have more advanced or focused work to share.


Once you know an instructor is requiring an ePortfolio, you might also check in with them to find out their expectations for archival are, and any recommendations for documents that should remain on the page in a given semester.


How can I make sure my Communication ePortfolio is done correctly for each class when instructors grade things differently?

Utilize any directions, checklists, or materials provided to you by your instructors.  Carefully determine which areas of your page will need to be edited or expanded to meet objectives in a specific course.  Communicate with your instructor about their expectations for the page early in the semester to avoid confusion.


How can I be smart about protecting my image online? I'm excited for the project, but I don't want to have things 'on the web' until I know they're a strong representation of my work.  If my page is published, is it acceptable to have the SEO set to 'unsearchable' while I develop my Communication ePortfolio?

As far as protecting your image, designing a Communication ePortfolio is an excellent time to review your current online image.  A good starting point is to check privacy settings on social media, photos, and review any old materials you have online from previous projects, blogs, or unused social media sites.  Then you can begin editing or removing information as needed to better reflect your professional and scholarly objectives.  As you study various areas of Communication, you can determine which sites or platforms might be useful professionally, and which are used primarily for personal reasons and therefore might require a higher privacy setting (or not).  Many people have different interpretations of ‘appropriate’ online image presentation—talk to your instructor, or reach out to the Career Development Services (formerly Career Management Cener) at Old Dominion if you are interested in exploring this further.


Regarding SEO requirements, this is again in the ‘it depends’ category—most instructors will want the page to be published so it is publically accessible to your classmates and the instructor for grading and assessment purposes.  Luckily, WIX allows work to be published but ‘unsearchable’!  By keeping the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) set to ‘off’ on your WIX page will keep the page from being searchable. (See image below).  This is a smart choice when you are in the early stages of developing your work.  As you progress through your studies, you might want to have this page searchable for potential networking opportunities or connections.




All content prepared within this site is available from the Communication ePortfolio Team.
Department of Communication & Theatre Arts, Old Dominion University 
Please do not reproduce or distribute without permission.
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