Buffalo State College
Multimedia Portfolios: The Need for a Separate Curriculum
Leah Sciabarrasi MacVie
July 14, 2008
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction……………………………………………………..Page 3
Chapter 2 Review of Literature……………………………………………Page 6
Chapter 3 Research Methodology…………………………………………Page 13
Chapter 4 References……………………………………………………....Page 15
Chapter 1 Introduction
“Multimedia: Computer Science Of or relating to an application that can combine text,
graphics, full-motion video, and sound into an integrated package.” (The American
Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2006)
Statement of Introduction
Multimedia students today are not given many options or directions for
developing a multimedia specific portfolio. Often these students face the prospect of
being lumped in with the more established fields of art and technology. While it is
important for every student to have a working portfolio, it is even more important for
multimedia students to have a presentation portfolio. (Kilbane & Milman, 2003). It is this
type of portfolio that will appeal to employers and help these students to best assess
themselves. (DiMarco, 2006; Kilbane & Milman, 2003)
Purpose of Paper
The purpose of this paper is to introduce the reader to various types of portfolios,
specific portfolios in the art industry and to illustrate why a separate portfolio is needed
for multimedia students in schools that employ a portfolio curriculum. The available
research focuses on effective ways electronic portfolios can be used by teachers and
general art students. There are relatively few sources that concentrate on multimedia as a
topic itself. Often in research, multimedia is used to expand other concentrations such as
art and technology without acknowledging multimedia as its own separate field. The
separation of multimedia from other genres of art should be recognized and celebrated.
The issues that make up the theoretical framework of this paper are all student
centered; meaning that the student will be the one to gain from a separate multimedia
portfolio curriculum. Since most portfolios are designed to help the student demonstrate
their skills to potential employers, students will have a better understanding of specific
employer expectations because the curriculum and the instructor will be able to reference
field-specific case studies. (DiMarco, 2006) The instructors will be more experienced and
knowledgeable in the curriculum because they will be hired strictly for their expertise in
multimedia and their knowledge of the field.
A separate Multimedia Curriculum will call for a design process specific to
developing a multimedia portfolio and will be able to offer the student more options
based on their strengths. Through effective training, students will experience a greater
self-confidence in relation to developing their portfolio and in job placement. Hopefully
with these specific skills, students will be better prepared for the rigors of the interview
process because they will have developed a portfolio geared for the demands of their
profession. (Chambers & Wickersham, 2007)
Essential to the creation of a multimedia portfolio is peer interaction and critique.
By interacting with their peers, students will have a better understanding for multimedia
portfolio expectations and will be able to compare their work with other students;
therefore allowing for more effective critiques. (Chambers & Wickersham, 2007;
Creative Review, 2004) Although the field of multimedia encompasses many aspects of
art and technology, multimedia specific portfolio classes will allow students to be
concentrated in one area, rather than being distracted by different fields. Students will
individually be able to evaluate their strengths and aid in finding the strengths of others,
because they will all have been trained in producing a portfolio featuring their best work
through the most effective means.
This paper will seek to prove why a separate portfolio curriculum is needed for
multimedia students. The curriculum will help them find the best means of presenting
works of various genres, rather than a general curriculum targeting no specific student.
Since this is a topic not widely researched, the current information being referenced will
include general art and teacher portfolios as well as current multimedia portfolios.
Chapter 2 Review of Literature
There are several steps that a student must take to create an effective portfolio.
Most students will opt to take the steps that lead to a two dimensional portfolio because it
can represent the mediums they work in best. Multimedia students must take another path
to best represent their three dimensional media. Multimedia students are often not given
many specific options or directions for developing a multimedia specific portfolio. While
it is important for every student to have a working portfolio, it is even more important for
multimedia students to have a presentation portfolio (Kilbane & Milman, 2003; Creative
Review, 2004). It is this type of portfolio that will appeal to employers and help
multimedia students to best assess themselves (Kilbane & Milman, 2003; DiMarco,
2006). This Literature Review will look at the following references to help determine
whether the following statements are fact:
1. Multimedia students produce three dimensional work that should be shown in
its original form.
2. A multimedia specific portfolio curriculum for students can help them to best
3. A multimedia specific portfolio curriculum will offer multimedia students
more options towards building a presentation portfolio that
potential employers are looking for.
Statement 1: Multimedia students produce three dimensional work that should be shown
in its original form.
This first research statement seeks to identify and define the work produced by
multimedia students and why it should be displayed in its original form. With the
expansion of the internet, the field of multimedia has vastly grown (Pagani, 2005). Many
new academic programs are being created at colleges across the world and students are
looking to find a job in the new multimedia field. This new field has coined the term
“Multimedia Designer”, which can refer to many jobs ranging from instructional design,
modeling and animation, graphic design and web design (Garrand, 2001). Most colleges
are studying current trends and training their multimedia students in many different areas
of multimedia to better prepare them. With so many options to fit into one portfolio, how
can any one student produce a successful portfolio of their work in a non-specific
When a multimedia student graduates, most can expect to have a wide range of
skills specific to the type of work produced by multimedia students. As a rule, students
will have worked with text, graphics, motion and sound. Students can expect to walk
away with different types of graphic design. Students may have examples of their web
design work uploaded to the internet for worldwide viewing, or if not uploaded, then on a
storage device ready for digital viewing. 3D Modeling is also a portion of a multimedia
portfolio and can be divided up into modeling and animation categories. Students will
have examples of their work in fine art, two dimensional animation and often times, also
in video. Any one of these examples of work could be formatted in linear or non-linear,
two dimensional or three dimensional, and or black and white or color (Purchase &
Naumann, 2001). With so many options, a regular two dimensional portfolio will not
In any case, the student will want to make sure that everyone can view their
portfolio and will not require special hardware to do so (Creative Review, 2004;
DiMarco, 2006; Kilbane & Milman, 2003). Because there will be a variety of content, the
student may want to think about how they will present their portfolio. The options for
presenting a portfolio are numerous. Often students may choose to use a linear portfolio
or they may choose to offer the viewer controlled options. Depending on the method of
presentation, the student must also include their resume, awards, copies of transcripts and
any other documents they see fit to be included. Some options for these students to help
present their portfolios can include web sites, edited videos, flash animations or multi-
page PDFs (Creative Review, 2004).
There are many advantages to a digital portfolio. Digital portfolios are accessible
and portable. “Because digital resources can be reproduced easily and inexpensively,
portfolios in digital format also can be reproduced easily and inexpensively. As a result,
materials can be made available to a larger and wider audience” (Kilbane & Milman,
2003, pg8). With a class full of various programs, it may be difficult for an instructor to
give full attention to the details that multimedia portfolios require, therefore warranting a
Statement 2: A multimedia specific portfolio curriculum for students can help them to
best assess themselves.
Portfolios are often used for student assessment. Students will also be able to
assess themselves through the development process. “When portfolios are used as the
basis for assessment, progress on real-world tasks can enable the tracking of growth over
time and help individuals learn to assess their own progress against standards of quality”
(Kilbane & Milman, 2003, pg16). Many multimedia students find inspiration for
standards of quality in the print media, the internet and their peers. Together as a team,
multimedia students in a separate multimedia portfolio curriculum can build quality
driven portfolios that represent the best of their multimedia works. They will be able to
assess themselves against their classmates and differentiate their portfolios by
emphasizing their individual styles.
A student developing a portfolio will not only be able to assess their work, but
they will also be able to identify their strongest and weakest skills. It is this reflection that
will help them to expand and improve their existing portfolio content. “It is only through
reflection that the portfolio developer can communicate the context, historical and
cultural biases, and lessons learned that may have influenced the development or
implementation of an artifact” (The Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in
Education, 2006). Most portfolios “call for extensive informal and formal reflection at
various points and on various levels” (The Johns Hopkins University Center for
Technology in Education, 2006). From this, the student will build a strong foundation of
reflection and self-assessment. Reflection will give students the confidence they need to
understand and improve upon their shortcomings. “In sum, portfolios can be used as an
instrument for reflection, for career guidance, and for formative and summative
assessment” (Beishuizen, J. & Banyard, P. & Twiner, A. & Vermeij, H. & Underwood,
Multimedia students will have a wide variety of concepts to contemplate as they
assess themselves. They will have learned several theories associated with animation,
uses of video, color and the internet. Typically, not only are they bombarded with theory,
they also learn several different programs and methods of fine art during their education.
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Students, when compiling their portfolios, should have a large body of work in various
media to choose from. It is important that the student learns the best method toward
developing their portfolio to make sure it is not overburdened with content. The practice
of reflection can really help in specifying their best interests and content (DiMarco,
2006). A curriculum centered on multimedia portfolios can help students to best reflect
on their specific talents and interests.
Statement 3: A multimedia specific portfolio curriculum will offer multimedia students
more options towards building a presentation portfolio that potential employers are
The general process of building a portfolio fosters self-confidence. (Kilbane &
Milman, 2003) A multimedia portfolio building process will include the preparation of
materials into digital format which requires the student to develop and combine
technology, knowledge, and skills. Students will be using most of the abilities they have
learned to construct a combination of their best work. Students will be able to recognize
their growth in skills and other qualities that might be appealing to employers.
During the Winter of 2007, Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. interviewed
301 employers about their recent graduate hires. The results showed that employers
endorse electronic portfolios of student work as a valuable tool “both for students to
enhance their knowledge and develop important real-world skills, as well as for
employers to evaluate graduates’ readiness for the workplace” (Peter Hart Research
Associates, Inc., 2008, pg2). Although it is true not all of these employers were
representatives from multimedia companies, the results are proof enough that employers
are looking for well developed skill specific portfolios that indicate a graduate is ready
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for the workplace. In order to do that, the student will have to be prepared to present their
best body of work in the most efficient way possible.
Finding a job today is harder than ever and the multimedia field does not escape
this truth. Often times, there are ways that a student can maximize their chances at getting
the job that they really want. One way is to know who their target employers are and
what it is that they do. They should do research on the employer, know the kind of work
the employer produces and the type of clients they have. With these things in mind,
students should be able to tell the employer why they would fit in and be an asset to the
company (Creative Review, 2004). A multimedia student can be best prepared for
interview topics with a curriculum designed just for them.
Students will also have to be able to explain the work in their portfolio. They will
have to explain verbally, as well as by labeling the pieces correctly inside their portfolio.
Multimedia classes often use group work and assignments that often has the student
finish half-created work. Students should be prepared to talk about and label what part
they had in the project and how all the pieces were put together. They may also have to
explain why they decided to include the particular portion that they worked on and how it
relates to the company they are interviewing with (Creative Review, 2004).
Multimedia students should also try to generate feedback from anyone who does
view their portfolio (Creative Review, 2004; Kilbane, C. & Milman, N., 2003). This
feedback can come from other students in the class, their family, faculty members, and
potential employers. Everyone will have a different perspective and students should be
encouraged not to be offended if those perspectives don’t reflect their own. They will
gain from each encounter and will be able to understand the feelings of people who come
12. - 12 -
across their portfolio. Multimedia students will be able to offer helpful hints to each other
if students and teachers are all under one curriculum.
The development of a multimedia specific portfolio offers many different
possibilities and options to the student. Although options are endless, a presentation must
be selected that best represents the body of work. Portfolios are an important part of
demonstrating curriculum. They not only allow the potential employer to evaluate the
student, they also allow the student to assess themselves. A separate portfolio curriculum
will help multimedia students find the best means of presenting works of various genres,
rather than a general curriculum targeting no specific student.
13. - 13 -
Chapter 3 Research Methodology
The purpose of this research study is to determine whether or not multimedia
students would benefit more from a portfolio curriculum concentrated on multimedia
portfolios rather than a general portfolio. Most students working on a general portfolio
will opt to take the steps that lead to a two dimensional portfolio because it can represent
the mediums they work in best. Multimedia students must take another path to best
represent their three dimensional work. A curriculum that offers multimedia students
methods and options specific to a multimedia portfolio will best embody their collection
of work. It is this curriculum that will help them to build a presentation portfolio, the type
of portfolio that appeals to employers and will help multimedia students to best assess
themselves (Kilbane & Milman, 2003; DiMarco, 2006).
The research methodology of this study is based on the successful research
conducted by Sharon M. Chambers, Ph.D. and Leah E. Wickersham, Ph.D., both from
Texas A&M University. Their study, The Electronic Portfolio Journey: A Year Later,
conducted a follow-up study investigating the use of ePortfolios with Masters students.
The study was performed through use of an open-ended questionnaire that was
administered to twenty-six students. It was performed to assess the implementation of the
ePortfolio in three student learning outcomes, self-knowledge, technological and
organizational skills development and knowledge and skills transfer. Results proved to
show changes in student learning after the second semester of implementation. The
statistics that emerged from the questionnaire showed the study group felt the ePortfolio
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helped increase knowledge, offered a way to reflect on one’s work, allowed a method to
view peers’ work, increased technology skills and increased confidence. (Chambers &
Participants in the study will be chosen from five colleges with multimedia
programs that implement a general portfolio class. A separate multimedia class will be
designated. Faculty teaching the class will be given a briefing and a curriculum designed
especially for the multimedia students.
The sample group will be administered an open-ended questionnaire after the
course comparing their growth over time, self-knowledge, organizational skills
development and their reflection on the effectiveness of their produced portfolio. Past
multimedia graduates will also be administered the questionnaire. The main role of the
questionnaire will be not only to understand the effectiveness of a multimedia portfolio
curriculum, but to discover its advantages and disadvantages.
The data will be interpreted into percentages so that the current results could be
compared against the past results. The statistics will then be published in a comparative
15. - 15 -
Beishuizen, J. & Banyard, P. & Twiner, A. & Vermeij, H. & Underwood, J. (2006). The
Introduction of Portfolios in Higher Education: a comparative study in the UK
and Netherlands. European Journal of Education, Issue ¾ (Vol. 41), 491-508.
Chambers, S. & Wickersham, L. (2007). An Electronic Portfolio Journey: A Year Later.
Education, Issue 3 (Vol. 127), 351-360.
Creative Review. (2004) How to Get a Job. Creative Review. Issue 11 (Vol. 24), 37.
DiMarco, J. (2006). Web Portfolio Design and Applications. Hershey, PA: Idea Group
Garrand, T. (2001). Writing for Multimedia and the Web. St. Louis, MO: Focal Press.
Kilbane, C. & Milman, N. (2003). The Digital Teaching Portfolio Handbook. Boston,
MA: Allyn and Bacon for Pearson Education, Inc.
Pagani, M. (2005) The Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking.
Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Peter Hart Research Associates, Inc. (2008) How Should Colleges Assess and Improve
Student Learning? Employers' Views on the Accountability Challenge.
Washington, DC: The Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Purchase, H. & Naumann, D. (2001). A Semiotic Model of Multimedia: Theory and
Design and Evaluation. Management of Multimedia Information Systems:
Opportunities and Challenges, 1-21, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.
The Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education. (2006) The Johns
Hopkins University Digital Portfolio and Guide: Documenting Your Professional
Growth, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.