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Sharing my #CMALT portfolio: reflecting on the why and how

Open I’ve been working in my #CMALT portfolio. Given that I haven’t yet submitted it for assessment (it’s not quite finished) you might rightly think that a blog post about sharing it is a little premature. Of course you are right – and I won’t actually share it until it has been assessed and (hopefully!) passed sometime in the future. But my intention to share it openly has definitely shaped how I have approached things and to me it’s interesting to reflect on the why and how of that process.

The main reason why I want to share my portfolio is that reading others’ portfolios has been a really valuable part of making my own. I have found it interesting to see how others have build theirs, from the technology used to reflections shared. At times, I have been humbled by what others have achieved (often single-handed) and often I have felt empathy with individuals whom I don’t know, but who were struggling with the same things I have. In what is largely solitary undertaking the portfolios of others have provided inspiration and motivation.

Creative CommonsBut sharing what is essentially a personal artifact incorporating examples of work and reflection has not been entirely straight forward. My chosen format, Google docs, makes sharing easy. I can even set up a shared folder for additional evidence and control who has access. Licencing, too, I have considered. The most restrictive Creative Commons licence seems like it might work for this purpose. Some of the examples/evidence in the portfolio is already licensed under Creative Commons so that aligns well. I should be able to produce backups, copies for updating and different formats of the portfolio quite easily and that is an important consideration for me – I wanted to make it as easy as possible for me to actually do work on it initially and subsequently keep it updated.

But what about the actual content, what I describe and reflect on – in particular working with other people? What about reflecting on failures?  In most instances I have opted for not mentioning individuals by name, using role titles or generic terms instead. This is particularly important I feel when talking about colleagues in the team I lead. While it hasn’t always been easy, the consideration that what I am writing could potentially be read by anyone has contributed to making my work more balanced. But there has also been tension between accurately describing what I do and respecting the privacy of those I work with. Now that the portfolio is nearly finished I have shared with my staff team for feedback. This way everyone who is referred to has the opportunity to read what I have written and comment on it.

A further consideration has been including things that don’t work, things that have gone wrong. Given that this is a portfolio meant to demonstrate professional experience and skills, you are more likely to include examples of things that have worked. But for me there is value in reflecting on things that could have gone better, what I could have done differently. Including that in a publicly-shared document however deserves consideration.

From the outset, the intention of sharing my portfolio has shaped how I have approached my portfolio. It’s been particularly valuable as it has encouraged me to reflect on the guiding principles of the #CMALT framework in my work – one of which is empathy with and willingness to learn from others. In that spirit, I hope that my portfolio can one day be useful to others in similar ways.