For when 140 characters are not enough.

To dossier or to portfolio?

That is the question, although the choice is not really an either/or one. While starting to gather up my promotion materials for the external reviewers, the process somehow turned into me creating a new WordPress site just for the promotion dossier, not that doing WordPress for this is a new idea. Cheryl Ball famously did it at Illinois State when she went up for tenure about a year before I did here at Missouri State. Her portfolio is still live, and well worth looking at.

When going up for tenure and promotion in 2009-2010, I followed local advice and supplemented the giant binder with a DVD. It worked out well. This time though, the direct approach (a central URL) is better. I can’t count on everyone having a DVD drive anymore–it’s turned into “old” technology. The argument that on the departmental level, reviewers will not go to a URL has some validity due to the tradition of having the binders in the department office for review. People do tend to stand/sit and review the binder right there. I’ve done it myself. What I can do though, is make up some cards that say, “Want to review this in the comfort of your office? Go to [easy web address] and see it all.”

Another change for me this time is the proportion of web to print. That change is partially because of my Computers and Writing specialty, but not completely. Web publication is no longer the poor stepchild for literary publication, and no genre shows that more than poetry. A printout of a single poem fails to give the rich visuality of the litmag; it also cuts out a new trend entirely, that of asking selected poets to record a mp3 or video of them reading the poem. A good number of my poems have a little podcast of me reading the poem, at the journal’s request. This is worth including.

Given my proportion of web to print publications (heavily web), and also given that literally all of my teaching materials are online in my own Moodle space, I think an online portfolio is the best choice, even though I will still have to put together a looseleaf notebook of printed pages to be hand-carried from office to office. Many, many of those pages will be screenshots with the notation to go to the online portfolio page. I will also make a huge plea in the beginning to go to the online portfolio first and use the paper dossier for the few pieces that were created for paper. I’m not complaining about paper–I understand about forms, signatures, and some degree of standardization. However, the web version should be much easier to understand and read. It will do what a dossier should, which is to allow readers to see this work in the medium it was created in. In other words, the Writing Portrait that Elizabeth A. Monske and I compiled and analyzed for Computer and Composition Online is a video. Paper is a very poor substitute. Webtexts are also much more than words– they are dimensional and visual, at least when they aren’t trying to mimic print, as with the journals that give pdf printouts of their articles. My webtexts so far won’t work that way.

One more thing– thank heavens for the Wayback Machine. Without it, I would have to reconstruct all of the links in the Table of Contents for the Computers and Composition Online side of the combined special issue that Elizabeth A. Monske and I did for Computers and Composition and Computers and Composition Online in March 2013. Here it is! Yea!

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