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Preparing Your Portfolio

Engl 516 class, Maya Duratovic, Kristen McPeek Photo

Your portfolio—which acts as the culminating activity for the M.A. in Technical Communication degree—will contain five or six substantial samples of your work that best demonstrate your ability to produce a range of effective technical communication genres.

How do I submit my portfolio?

You have several options to discuss with your advisor. Traditionally, portfolios were turned in via print and flash drive; this option is still available. As of Fall 2015, with permission from your advisor, you may instead choose to submit your portfolios digitally, either through a shared Google Drive folder or perhaps using a more dynamic mode, such as a web site or wiki. However, whatever you do create must be self-contained (e.g., it can’t link to outside content that might go away) and you must be able to save all the files to a flash drive, CD, etc. We must be able to archive/store a copy of your work for institutional reasons. Please contact your advisor to discuss which mode(s) of delivery would be most appropriate for your portfolio, as well as a timeline to complete your portfolio.

What do I put in my portfolio?

Below are several sample table of contents from portfolios submitted by MATC students and approved by reviewers. The collection of documents you decide to include in your portfolio may vary. Please consult with your advisor if you have any questions.

Sample Table of Contents #1: Brochure, Poster, Website, Tutorial, Usability Test, Manual, User Guide, Article Manuscript

  • Overview
  • Resume
  • Brochure and Poster
  • Website
  • Tutorial and Usability Test
  • Training Manual and Instructor Slides
  • User Guide
  • Article Manuscript (submitted to Journal of Business and Technical Communication)

Sample Table of Contents #2: Instructions, Memo, Presentation Graphics, Grant Proposal, Newsletter, Brochure

  • Overview
  • Resume
  • Instrument Panel Instructions
  • Wastewater Memo
  • Presentation Graphics for Talk on “Why Fundamentals of Technical Communication Still Matter”
  • Grant Application
  • Newsletter
  • Museum Brochure

Sample Table of Contents #3: Article Manuscript, Internship, Presentation Graphics, Website, Manual

  • Overview
  • Resume
  • Article Manuscript (submitted to Technical Communication Quarterly)
  • Academic Internship Manual
  • Presentation Graphics for Talk on “Writing for Translation”
  • Website for College of Arts and Sciences, Boise State University
  • Bicycle Owner’s Manual

Sample Table of Contents #4: White Paper, Presentation Graphics, Online Help, Video Help, Documentation

  • Overview
  • Resume
  • White Paper on Voice-Recognition Technology
  • Presentation Graphics for Talk on “GoogleDocs”
  • Online Help for Recording Software
  • Video Help Tutorials
  • Documentation Plan

Sample Table of Contents #5: Infographic, Instructions, Video Tutorials, Recommendation Report, Support Document

  • Overview
  • Resume
  • Infographic
  • Instructions on How to Perform Tasks in a Presentation Graphics Software
  • Video Tutorials
  • Recommendation Report on Google Glass
  • Printer Support Document

How do I select a third reader for my portfolio?

Students starting their final semester (see portfolio development timeline), must discuss with their advisor who will serve as their third and final reader. Typically, the student identifies and recommends to her or his advisor a third reader by providing the person’s name, job title, and email address of their choice as well as a brief description of why this person would be a good third reader. Students may also seek the advice of their advisor for possible third readers at any point in the process. Typically, the third reader should be a person outside the English Department (i.e., not another English faculty member). Although this person does not have to hold a job title of technical communicator, this person must have the background to evaluate and comment on the quality of the portfolio. Students have used former internship supervisors, current supervisors or workplace colleagues, or asked a person they have met through networking. In rare instances, a student might identify a small team (2-3 people at a company) to review the portfolio. In such cases, multiple people may review and comment on the portfolio, but a single person must still be identified and responsible for determining whether the portfolio represents passing work.