For many TILM courses, you’ll be asked to make contributions to an online electronic portfolio (or ePortfolio).
Why create an ePortfolio?
- Have something to show a potential employer
- There are over 200 TILM students, and when you graduate, your fellow classmates have taken many of the same courses and had similar experiences, and you can do only so much with a resume.
- The portfolio is the next best thing to riding an elevator with a potential employer, you still have 30 seconds to convince them to interview you!
- Set yourself apart from other TILM graduates
- Show your personality (difficult to do from a resume!)
- Portfolio content will be a little different for each program:
- Translation projects can be featured by a short blog post about the project, especially impactful if it was a volunteer project highlighting the client’s cause
- Interpretation students should also write about their experiences, but they should be conscientious about taking pictures at events (featuring the student of course!).
- Localization students will write and create visually impressive content that can be featured.
- Students must avoid publishing any course content without asking their professors for permission.
- Many job postings list knowledge of a CMS as a “would be nice” skill, and some employers are looking for candidates who can write blog content!
Why learn WordPress specifically?
- According to W3Techs, 60% of sites that use a CMS use WordPress
- Almost 30% of ALL websites are powered by WordPress!
- Easy to add content and control how it appears
Create your site
Please note that you aren’t required to create your website on sites.miis.edu. If you already have a website or own a personalized domain that you want to convert over to your ePortfolio site, that’s fine. If you’re taking Multilingual Desktop Publishing or Website Localization, you must at least use WordPress to pass the course. Sites is, by far, the easiest way to create a WordPress ePortfolio site.
Note, the following instructions refer to sites.miis.edu — Non-MIIS students can create a site on WordPress.com, but the instructions will be slightly different.
- Visit sites.miis.edu, which is where any MIIS community member can create a website.
- Select “Log in” in the upper-right corner. Once logged in, you will be able to create a new site.
- Under “+New” in the menu bar at the top, choose “Site”.
- For the Site Name, enter your full name or MIIS user ID (maxtroyer and mtroyer in my case). If your name or user ID is too short, you might be required to expand it!
- For the Site Title, enter your first and last name and “Portfolio”, so my site would be “Max Troyer’s Portfolio”. You can get a little creative if you want, but avoid something like “Max’s Trials and Tribulations.”
- For Privacy, choose “No” while you’re developing your site. This way, search engines won’t index your site (you may want to change this later).
- Choose “Create Site” and your site will be created. You should be automatically directed to your new site. In the future, your site will be available under “My Sites” in the menu bar (only when you are logged in).
- Click on the name of your site in the menu bar at the top, you should be taken to your Dashboard.
- In the menu on the left, choose Settings, then Reading.
- Eventually you may want to make your portfolio public, but for now, I recommend making it visible only to MIIS students and faculty. In Site Visibility, choose “I would like my blog to be visible only to registered users of Sites @ MIIS,” which will hide the site from the general public. When and if you want to make your site public, choose “Allow search engines to index this site” or “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” (both are public, the former just tells Google to index it).
If you’re not sure where to start, maybe a good first step would be to see what current students are doing. To find a student’s portfolio, just search for their name and add portfolio, which seems to work for the random students I tried (note that not all T&I students have ePortfolios, but all TLM students should have one).
Create your “About Me” page
One of the first pages you should add to your online portfolio is an “About Me” page. If you Google “how to write an about me page,” you get a TON of great articles. The first three when I performed this search were:
- 10 Rules For Writing A Compelling ‘About Me’ Page
- 10 Ways to Dazzle Readers With Your About Me Page
- How to Write an About Page
I’m not saying these are the three best, but just pointing out there are a lot of opinions for what constitutes a good “About Me” page. I would recommend spending some time researching best practices (see Google search above), and checking out some translation blogs and reading specifically their about pages to see some examples (maybe some good and bad). Recently I read an article called “How To Write an “About Me” Page That Gets You Hired,” and maybe this is all you need to read…
Here are some additional considerations:
- Consider a tagline, but don’t use mine: “At the intersection of language and technology™.”
- The about page is where a lot of employers will start out in evaluating your portfolio site, so it’s a great way for them to get to know you.
- Consider adding a photo to really make it personal.
- Use correct spelling and grammar, pay attention to the tone you use (corporate vs fun), be clear and precise.
- The about page word count should be between 100 and 300 words. A 500 word aboutpage is approaching a short blog page (average blog posts are about 1,600 words.
- You may have already written your about page for another site (LinkedIn, or a personal blog you already have). Feel free to re-use it for your online portfolio, but it may be a good time to revise it since you’re starting a new adventure here at MIIS!
Create your page
- Now you’re ready to create your first page. By default, you can create a post or a page. They are very similar, but a Post is time-related, while a Page is better for static content. I highly recommend reading “What is the Difference Between Posts vs. Pages in WordPress?”, which explains it very well.
- The first content you will add to your site is your “About Me” page (not post), which you have hopefully already written and have handy.
- Copy and paste your About Me content into the the page editor. Spend some time on formatting or at least check it to make sure your text is displaying correctly.
- Note, you can’t create your menu until you publish at least one page!
Create your menu
- Now you should create your site’s menu. In the Dashboard, navigate to Appearance → Menus. You won’t have a menu yet, so for “Menu Name,” enter “Primary” (this is the convention).
- On the left under Pages, you should see your “About Me” page, just click “Add to Menu.”
- Under “Theme Locations,” choose “Primary Menu” and then click “Save Menu.”
- At the top of your site, if you click the site’s name, it will take you to the home page, where you should see your menu with a single link (About Me).
Add course content to your ePortfolio
If a professor asks you to write a series of posts related to the same topic (or a series of posts for a class), you could create a new category, but a more simple option is to use tags. Read all about tags in the Easy WP Guide. When creating a post requiring multiple articles, just add a tag (found along the right-side in the “Add New Post” page. For example, if you need to write several articles in Introduction to CAT, create a “Translation Technology” tag (don’t include quotation marks).
If you want to publish a series of articles on your portfolio and share the link to all the posts, you need to add a menu item for related categories.
- In the Dashboard, go to Appearance → Menus.
- You may need to create a menu if you haven’t done this yet (see above).
- Before you see “Tags” in your list of categories, go to top of the screen, expand “Screen Options” and you’ll see a checkbox to add Tags.
- Back under “Edit Menu,” in the list of content on the left, expand Tags. You should see your site’s tags.
- Check the tag you want to add to the menu, then click “Add to Menu.” The tag title will now appear in your menu.
- While you’re in this screen, make sure “Navigation Menu” is checked next to “Theme locations.” This will ensure your menu appears on your site.
- Click “Save Menu” on the right.
Now you can visit your site and click the tag in the menu. You can then copy and paste this URL to share all the posts that share the tag.
Customize the appearance of your ePortfolio
While you could keep the default appearance of your WordPress site, I recommend spending some time customizing the theme, widgets, plugins, fonts, colors, etc. of your site to make it really unique. This is outside the scope of this article, but if you take Professor Troyer’s Multilingual Desktop Publishing and Website Localization courses, you’ll learn how to customize a WordPress site.