Why the focus on authenticity?

Our total focus in this class is to help each of you end the course with a Web portfolio that is written for an authentic audience and that shows in a rich, thoughtful way the work you have done in your master’s program. An authentic audience is your ideal audience: the people who you want to see your portfolio, be it students’ parents, colleagues, future employers, etc. We do ask you to meet certain criteria but don’t by any means have a prescriptive formula in mind for what your portfolio should look like—you should use your authentic audience to guide those decisions.

You should think of your audience as consisting of more than just us: In fact, our primary role in this class is to offer feedback that helps you look good in the eyes of your peers, your students, your (potential) employers, and your significant others. So please be thinking of this as your portfolio, not ours. Also, think of your portfolio as something to be shared with others in the future, not something to be left in some dusty corner of the Internet when this course is over.

Because we are focused on you and your audience, we encourage you to be creative and diverse in the portfolios you create. This makes our job harder (and our expectations perhaps a bit ambiguous at times), but we really do want you to finish the Capstone Portfolio Course with a portfolio you are proud of, a deeper understanding of the power of the portfolio concept, an expanded set of Web publishing skills, and some deep reflections about the power of Web publishing in the lives of those you teach. That is not to say, however, that there are not some common requirements and guidelines that structure the great diversity, creativity, and originality that will span the range of portfolios created in this course. We’ll say more about that as we go along.

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