Last week you explored portfolios from last semester’s capstone students. In Module 2, you will explore technologies you may use in this course through a technology tryout! Doing so will either help you choose which technologies you will use to build your website or help you add some technologies to your existing website.

In this week’s video you will meet TAs Sarah Keenan and Brittany Dillman, who will give a broad explanation of Module 2 and talk about Piazza expectations.

Some quick reminders:

  • Remember to check out each of the headings throughout the page (like “Shinies” and “Mission”) to get valuable information and details about the module.
  • Always feel free to contact us with any questions using the Contact Us link at the top of the Communicate menu.
  • In this module, you might want to check out this information about using images in your portfolio.
Missions in this module are due by May 29th (at or before 11:59 p.m. EDT). We encourage you to begin early in the week – it is not possible to complete the entire module at the last minute.


Why try out technologies?

We all learn a lot by tinkering with and trying out what we want to get better at. However, depending on your previous experience with Web design, what you tinker with in this module will be a little different. [Read more about it here]

Why post to a house?

Beginning this week, you will complete the module by posting in Piazza. Each house has its own set of threads in Piazza where you will not only post your work for the week and also provide critical feedback to two others in your house. You receive many kinds of feedback in this course, but the feedback that happens in houses is an essential part of this course. [Read more about it here]

What were the favorite portfolios and features from last semester?

Looking at the results of the Module 1 poll should help you see what portfolios were most popular and what features are most important, which will be helpful as you develop your own portfolios. [You can see these results here]

How should I chose portfolio authoring systems?

There are many factors to consider when choosing authoring systems for your portfolio. [Read more about it here]

What are the top 10 things to know about writing?

This helpful advice from the MAET program will help you know more about general writing expectations and you can meet them. [Read more about it here]

🔗Mission 1A

This Mission does not apply to everyone—Read the following carefully to determine if you should do Mission 1A (this Mission) or Mission 1B.
  • If (a) you have not created a website before or are still in the early parts of learning this skill OR (b) you know you will create a separate website for the capstone portfolio, this Mission is for you.
  • If you are experienced at website design and creation AND you have an existing website you will add to for the Capstone Course, this Mission is NOT for you, STOP! Move on and do Mission 1B instead.
  • If you’re not sure if you will use an existing website, or create a new website, read this and decide before going forward.
image of binoculars to signify the overview

Overview—Create two portfolio home pages

As you complete this Mission, keep in mind that the goal is to create two sample webpages that could serve as your home page. You will use a different authoring tool for each of the two pages. The goal for each is to see if you can create, or re-crate, some of the features you liked from last semester’s portfolios and for you to evaluate each Web authoring tool in comparison to others. Be prepared to talk about this evaluation in your post for Mission 2.

Complete this Mission by doing each of the following concrete steps:

Pick two platforms to try

You’re free to try out anything you’d like for this Mission (and for your final choice to author your entire portfolio). This Mission is the perfect time to try out something you’ve been curious about. If you’d like, there are some additional links and resources in the “Shinies” tab to help you make this choice.

Popular choices in the past are listed below:

Other technologies we know about (many are free):

Make a homepage with each of the platforms you pick

What should be on the two pages you create? The portfolios you reviewed from the previous semester can be your guide—they typically include your name, a few sentences about you, and some links to different parts of your site (or to external websites).

For now, the links can just be non-functional placeholders for the real links and pages you’ll insert later. As part of your exploration, though, you should try to make at least one functional link, even if it is just to your school, a blank résumé, or even google.com. Play with layout, colors, spacing, and formatting so that you get an idea for how easily you’ll be able to do these things if you choose to use this tool all semester.

Be sure to save your homepage URLs (or addresses). Later in the module we will tell you how to turn in this work, so don’t delete the pages when you’re done playing around with them. Rather, copy and paste the URLs into a document that you can recall later.

🔗Mission 1B

This Mission does not apply to everyone—Read the following carefully to determine if you should do Mission 1B (this Mission) or Mission 1A.
  • If you are experienced at website design and creation and you have an existing website you will add to for the Capstone Course, this is the Mission for you.
  • If you have not created a website before or are still in the early parts of learning this skill, STOP and do Mission 1A instead.
  • If you know you will create a separate website for the capstone portfolio, STOP and do Mission 1A instead.
  • If you’re not sure if you will use an existing website or create a new website, read this and decide before going forward.
image of binoculars to signify the overview

Overview—Technology tryout

For this Mission, we want you to try out a portfolio-related technology. Since you already have created a portfolio, we ask you to consider your audience and the role of your portfolio in more depth.

We come to the Capstone Portfolio Course with diverse backgrounds and with slightly different sets of goals. One way to start to think about the goals we bring is by thinking of audience: To whom will you show your portfolio? Whom would you like to view your portfolio? What goals do you have for your portfolio? What would you like to do with your portfolio, both during the course and beyond? This module will help you answer those questions.

Complete this Mission by completing each of the following steps:

Consider your audience

While your intended audience for your portfolio might change over the course of the semester, we think it is very important to start by taking a few minutes to consider what purpose you would like your portfolio to serve, and what that means about who will be looking at it. Will it be primarily for other teachers? For parents, students or your principal? Will it be something you continue to develop for an eventual job search? Considering your audience will help you better design your portfolio to effectively communicate whatever message you are hoping to send.

Browse technology options and choose one

In this step, please browse the prompts in the table below. You will have to choose one of the technology try-outs listed to complete the Mission. Our goal is that the prompts will help you to identify a particular need for the website you’ve already created, thereby leading you to the most useful technologies for your portfolio. As you choose a technology try-out, please keep in mind that the prompts are just that—prompts. You can (and should) read more about what we expect by clicking on the link to the right.

Prompts Technology Try-Outs
Have you always wanted your own domain name for your website? Registering a domain name has a number of benefits, such as making it easier to share the URL with others as well as giving a professional first impression to viewers of your portfolio. It can take some time to go through the process of finding an available name that you like and then forwarding the name that you purchased so that it directs to your portfolio, but if this is something that you have seen on other portfolios or is something you would like to do, consider trying it out! Secure a Domain Name
Many of us have created numerous digital resources, from blogs and wikis to places to share content, such as YouTube and SoundCloud. In addition, many of us have also created multiple social media platforms, from the common—such as Facebook—to those much less commonly used—have you heard of Cucumbertown? Is some of the information on these different resources out of date? Are some of the resources not aligned with the audience you want to see your portfolio? If so, consider the resource tune-up to take charge of the resources you have already created. Resource Tune-Up
A benefit of many of the website and portfolio platforms that you may have already created is that they make it easy to embed resources such as videos, even if they were created using another service. Have you always wanted to record and produce a video but have not yet had the opportunity? Have you already recorded and produced many videos but want to create a video that is tailored to your audience and that welcomes visitors to your website? Are you already experienced at video production but would like to take your skill to the next level? Then consider this try-out! Create a Welcome Video
In addition to making it easy to embed resources such as videos from other platforms, some platforms, such as WordPress and Weebly, make it easy to customize and enhance your portfolio by editing the HTML and CSS on individual pages or across your entire website or portfolio. Have you always wanted to learn the basics of these website languages but have not yet had time to do so? Do you already know the basics and want to level up your skills? Would you like to apply what you know about HTML and CSS to improve a page that you already have created or anticipate creating? Check out the details of this try-out to learn more. Learn to Use HTML and CSS
In the Resource Tune-Up, we ask you to comb through resources you have already created in order to align them with the audience you would like to create your portfolio for. This try-out is similar, but you will link to resources from across different platforms on your portfolio instead of refining the resources without drawing attention to them. This is a great try-out to pursue if you imagine your portfolio as the hub or directory for other resources. If you have always wanted to carefully curate the image you present and take control of the content you have created, then this is a great try-out for you. Consider this try-out if you would like your portfolio to serve as a “home base”! Bring It All Home

Complete the technology try-out

  • Complete one of the options from Step 1, keeping in mind your audience and how the technology-tryout you selected enhances your portfolio.
  • Be sure to save your work: Later in the module we will tell you how to turn in this work.

🔗Mission 2

Post in Piazza

For this module, please post the following to Piazza:

  • A sentence describing which Mission you did (either 1A – make two home pages, or 1B – technology tryout.)
  • A link for and description of the page(s) you made for this Mission. If you did Mission 1A, this description should include the platforms you used and a little bit of your experience in each platform (for example, how long it took, what was confusing, etc.). If you did Mission 1B, we’d like the description to include an introduction to the protfolio that you’re working on and the audience that you have in mind for it.
  • A description at least one paragraph long of (a) what went well for you and (b) what you could use some feedback on. This may look a little bit different depending on whether you did Mission 1A or Mission 1B, but the core idea of what went well and what could use feedback should be there in either case. In fact, this core idea should inform your feedback throughout the semester!
    • If you made two home pages, your description of what went well might consist of describing the platform that you prefer and a justification for why you prefer that one. Even better, you might list the strong points of both of the platforms that you played with so that you can compare and contrast them. On the other hand, your description of what could use feedback might be some questions that you have for your classmates about how one or both pages look. You could also talk about what you had trouble with and see if any of your classmates have some tips for you!
    • If you did the technology tryout Mission, your description of what went well will likely consist of mentioning any proud moments or victories that you described. Tell us some about how you met your goals for the tryout and what you think turned out particularly well. When you talk about what could use feedback, tell us about the obstacles you ran into, any problems that you’re still having, or questions that are still nagging at you.

Unless you already have a portfolio structure and are feeling ahead of the game, you likely will be focused on exploring technologies this week rather than beginning to incorporate Powerups; however, as you begin to expand and personalize your portfolio with these Powerups, you will follow the directions below to share them with your classmates:

Posting your Powerups in Piazza

If you have completed a new Powerup then post about it in Piazza by doing the following:

  • Go to your house in Piazza
  • If this is your first Powerup, find the post called “Powerup #1!”, if this is your second Powerup find “Powerup #2!”, and if this is your third (or fourth, or fifth…) find “Powerup #3!”.
  • Post a reply to the post with the following
    • The Web address of your Powerup.
    • A paragraph explaining why you chose to complete this particular Powerup.
    • If this is your second or third Powerup, please include how you see it relating to previous Powerups and the overall shape and development of your portfolio.
    • Anything you’d like your housemates to pay particular attention to.

Just as for our regular weekly postings, give feedback to two others. Give preference to those who have little or no feedback yet (of course, this is all subject to the Bonuses and Bummers Policy).

How to do Piazza (brief instructions)

Because this is the first week you post in your house, here are the quick instructions on what to do. Full instructions are below.

  • Join Piazza—look for an email you’ll receive on how to join your house in Piazza; also, watch for any course announcements for joining Piazza
  • If you’re having problems activating your account, past students have said that resetting your password can be useful.
  • Use the navigation bar on the right to click on the correct house.
  • Find the correct module in Piazza (for example, this is Module 2).
  • Read the module carefully.
  • When you’re ready to post, click “Start a new followup discussion”.
  • Don’t forget that part of the Mission is providing feedback to two others in your house

How to Post in Piazza

If you need a hand posting to Piazza, here is a walkthrough of the process:


Step 1 – Know which house you are in. To get started, you have to be able to head to the correct place. Each group, or house, has their own space in Piazza. You can double check which house you are in by going to the “Roster & Houses” page at the top of this website.

Step 2 – Visit Piazza. Once you know which house you are in, use the “Class Discussion” links on the right hand side of the page to go directly to your house’s discussion space on Piazza. In order for this to work, you must have previously accepted the Piazza invitation sent to your MSU email account and completed all the Piazza steps.

Step 3 – Find the correct discussion. The screenshot on the right is similar to what you should see when you visit Piazza. We have already set up the post for each module that will be using Piazza (see the list in the screenshot). Find the appropriate module for the week and click on it!

Step 4 – Read the directions carefully. At the top of each post there are directions on how to complete the module post for full credit: Please read them! Each module has different directions, so make sure you read the directions for the correct module!

Step 5 – Reply to the post by clicking on “Start a new followup discussion.” This is found at the very bottom of the discussion, so if a number of people have already replied, you may have to scroll down to find it. Once you click “Start a new followup discussion,” type your post and hit “Submit”.

Step 6 – Provide feedback to two housemates. The goal is to provide feedback to two people. Your priority should be to provide feedback to someone who hasn’t yet received any feedback. If everyone has some feedback, give feedback to the housemate you think needs your input the most. When constructing your feedback, please consider the kind of feedback you would like to get in return. Click the “Write a Reply” button beneath their post and submit your feedback to that person. Remember, you must provide feedback to two people (some exceptions are listed below in Bonuses and Bummers Policy).

You can find some more advice for giving effective feedback in the Piazza posts for each module. Providing feedback comprises your Feedback Grade for the week. We look for elaboration beyond “good job!” and ask that you engage with your housemates’ work and provide your insight as to the specific things you appreciate and think could be improved upon.

How will you know when someone has posted to your house? There is a “More” button at the bottom of each post in Piazza. Click that pull-down menu and either select “Follow” or “Stop following” depending upon whether or not you want to receive notices about that discussion. We recommend that you follow discussions for your house (but that’s up to you).

Stuck? Want help with the technical parts? If you’re getting stuck using your web-authoring platform, follow the Tech Support link. It’s on the right hand side of the capstone website, below the houses under “Course Discussions.” Please note that there is no actual “tech support” page. Instead, this links to a note we created on Piazza that has instructions for posting a tech support question where your instructors and classmates can give you some advice.

Of course, this system only works if you help answer questions too, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for your classmates’ questions!


Grading rubric for this module

Each Mission in this course is important for developing your abilities to design and implement your portfolio. Recall that there are 100 total points assigned in this course; the specific Mission(s) in this module will count towards your grade as follows:

    • (1 point) – Initial Post – Posting about your Mission as described in Piazza. Up to one point will be awarded based upon the completeness of your initial Piazza post.
    • (1 point) – Providing Feedback – Up to one point will be awarded based upon the quality and completeness of your feedback to two of your peers. [Keep in mind our “Bonuses and Bummers” policy.]


Advice and help about course grades

  • Learn how to check grades in the course by reading this helpful guide.
  • Check grades early and often! This will help you understand your progress in the course and will help us correct any errors as soon as possible.
  • Pay attention to how each module is graded. We provide details about the grading rubric for each module.
  • Understand the late work policy. If you know you’re going to be late, contact us ahead of time and ask for a (reasonable) extension. Otherwise, work is accepted up to 48 hours late with 1/2 credit. The full policy is detailed in the syllabus.
  • The full grading policy is detailed in the syllabus.


Here you will regularly find information about “Powerups”—these are features, technologies, or pages that you add to your portfolio based upon what best suits you and your audience. You will need to add three Powerups to your portfolio before the course is over. In Module 1 make sure that you:

  • Are familiar with the details of Powerups and know what some of the options will be.
  • Understand to check the “🌟Powerups” tab every week.
  • Understand that you do not have to do an Powerup this week (you don’t have a portfolio to powerup yet!). However, be prepared to start the Powerups once you have a portfolio.

If you want to get started, by all means, visit the Powerups page and complete a Powerup at any time.