Old Dominion University (ODU) recently began offering a Preparing Future Professionals Certificate. I have been teased (lovingly) during my distance learning classes for being the engineer-minded one believing a future in academics was not where I wanted to be; I want to create things more than I want to talk about (or publish) theory. Thus, I thought this certificate would be a better fit for me than the Preparing Future Faculty Certificate.
The certificate program requires students to build an ePortfolio (done – you’re on the site now), create or update a resume based on feedback from an advisor or outside mentor, and participate in six professional development activities from three provided categories: career development; professionalism; and leadership/communication. During my time with Old Dominion University, I completed more than the six activities required, which was further evidence of my drive to become a professional in the IDT field.
Completing the professional development requirements outside of ODU was primarily done through two avenues: working with my local chapter of SCORE (the Service Corps. of Retired Executives) and attending the AECT (Association for Educational Communications and Technology) International Conference.
Working with SCORE
I have been a guest presenter with SCORE for nearly 5 years. While studying instructional design and educational technology at ODU, I began to better understand the theories and methodologies that support learning. SCORE allowed me to review their workshop data for a class project, which I in turn gave them a full report. They, too, have begun to make changes in their workshops based on my feedback and my local chapter has been at the Diamond Level for the past 3 years. My presentations expanded from one to four and they evolved each time I obtained a new skill from my instructors at ODU. One of my presentations was co-authored by two PhD students as a class project and each time I present it, I reflect on why we made certain design decisions for the presentation and how the learners respond to each of them.
Attending the AECT International Conference
I was selected to present twice while at the AECT international conference. It really began as an experiment after the prompting of one of my instructors who wanted to see me try. I never thought I would be accepted on my first applications but was looking for valuable feedback on how to better apply the next time. Instead, I received 10/10 on most review categories and was invited to present. I brought evaluation forms with me for one of my sessions and asked for feedback and in both sessions I handed out business cards which included my social media handles on them. I began interacting with other professionals at the conference via Twitter as my first presentation was of a co-authored paper on microblogging (which is what Twitter is). While there, I added on two small workshops; one of these was the “Building your Brand: Using an ePortfolio to Elevate Yourself and Your Digital Work” workshop. Only two people showed up as this was a workshop after the conference and most people had departed for home already. So instead, I was able to get more personalized attention on my ePortfolio and resume. I had learned from attending a previous conference, DevLearn, that some of the best workshops are after the conference closes. I also wore a shirt with a giant QR code on the back of it and made QR code stickers, which were tricks I learned while living in Japan and attending expos there. I was able to maximize my time spent at AECT. This will have me better prepared to request to present at the next professional instructional design conference (AECT is an academic conference). I am hoping to submit to DevLearn next year.
My Resume and Portfolio
My ePortfolio here was started as a class project, though most students elected to post their articles in the forum rather than host their own site. When I completed my BA at Old Dominion University, I had to present a portfolio to my faculty and I recall it was the only submission I made to graduate that received any criticism. My rebute at that time was that not one of my classes had ever discussed a portfolio and no instructions were provided, so I was essentially guessing at what they wanted to see. My BA portfolio was accepted, but still seen to be too much like a scrapbook. I strongly feel every student should have the opportunity to construct a portfolio while under the guidance of faculty during their coursework, so I was happy to put in the extra work when I could have sufficed with posting to a forum during my graduate studies. To prepare to leave ODU, I have started the process of moving my portfolio from the ODU web domain to one of my own at LaceyClifton.com.
Resumes are somehow harder for me and I have made several drastic revisions to the one I had when I began my graduate coursework. It was an assignment in one class where it received feedback, then it was with me at AECT for revisions by active IDT professionals, now finally, I have contacted a specialist with a California State program and we will continue to craft it as my specialist works with me on re-entering the workforce locally. I have only had one meeting to date, but ironically enough, my specialist wants to explore the option of having me become a lecturer at a local university based on my skill set. Perhaps I should have gone with the Preparing Future Faculty Certificate? I believe instances like that are why I struggle with my resume so much; I see all of the opportunities in front of me and want a resume that fits them all, which really isn’t possible to accomplish in two pages.
For anyone thinking about working on their Preparing Future Professionals Certificate, here is a copy of the current requirements:
And in case you’re wondering about my social identity, it might help you to know I teach social media and website presence for a living. So I was ready for that category:
- LinkedIn’s Top 10%: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laceyclifton