Boy holding a yellow signal flare, completely surrounded by smoke haze.

2019.50.WOL | Signal

Hacking the Working Out Loud (WOL) concept to reflect on the working week as a Learning Designer. This week: a theme of finding the signal in the noise – portfolio, preparing support, and learning design professionalism.


The second portfolio meeting was about getting a shared understanding of what Portfolio is. The fabulous @Paulinepedagogy prepared a great mindmap of the applications of portfolio:

Mindmap of ePortfolio uses: Student workplace, accreditation, workplacement, work readiness, academic promotion.

Again, a great discussion with @l_curran64 on Friday about how to frame ‘Portfolio’ as a tool. We agreed focusing ‘portfolio’ on employability is to misrepresent the range of applications of such a tool:

If you want to get people’s attention, you don’t want to talk about portfolio in terms of “employability“. You want to talk about portfolio in terms of Program Learning Outcomes, Graduate Outcomes, Student Experience and Graduate Readiness.

But this all needs to based in learning to be effective reflective practitioners – have a look at Helen Chen’s work.


The term portfolio generates a lot of noise. Lisa’s comment really helped me find that signal, leading me to RMIT Program quality and review criteria (RMIT staff only link) – and will become another type of categorization:

  • Program Learning Outcomes – meeting needs of professional accreditation agencies and industry
  • Graduate Outcomes – further study, career formation
  • Every Graduate Ready – Authentic Assessment, Career Development Learning
  • Student Experience – coherence/appropriateness of pedagogy; scaffolded development of discipline-related and generic knowledge and skills]

We have a large team for this project. Capturing their research on applications of portfolio is tricky. After rejecting Word, Excel and a database, the collaborative tool OneNote was chosen as it has Word-like content creation ease, simple information organisation tools (Sections, Pages and tags) but most importantly it has a page template feature.

Creds Support

Finished the first draft of the Student and Staff support. This is now being circulated to the other college working group members for feedback. The process of breaking it down from large to small before getting into content worked. From the Staff version, the Student version quickly fell out.

The process of completing the detail forced some simplifying changes to the over-all structure. When detailing, had to guard against slipping into marketing fluff. The process worked: the support provides a clearer signal for those who need it. I’ll find out if the other Cred working group members agree next week.

Learning Design Professionalism

I’ve been working closely with MegCh4 which has been fabulous. She has been sharing her years of academic teaching experience through our work together on Creds, specifically:

  1. Avoiding where dragons lie when L&T solutions like Creds intersect with Policy
  2. How to approach academics who are, more often than not, close to the limits of capacity (like at most universities).

With the silly season upon us, I thanked her for generosity. Her response – with a smile: “You’re ok – you’re asking the right questions … one piece of advice is get to know Policy.”

Good advice. Funnily enough, this post took much longer to write because of researching RMIT policies. She is right (as usual): this immediately improved Portfolio template and deepened my understanding of academic process. The areas that I explored included TEQSA, Student Experience, Teaching and Research training modules – these are saved for later reading.

This reflective practitioner thing just might catch on… it’s a good way of discovering the signal from the noise.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

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