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Grad Portfolio Guidelines

WKU Folk Studies M.A. E-Portfolio Guidelines 

web port

An in-progress sample page from Sarah McCartt-Jackson's e-portfolio.  


Submission Requirements

The portfolio is required for all Public Folklore and Historic Preservation track students. The portfolio must be submitted before you take your comprehensive exams. Your portfolio must be an e-portfolio delivered live via the Web.


Why Have a Professional Portfolio? 

The purpose of your portfolio is to help you secure employment by demonstrating the breadth and impact of your education, skills, and experience. Therefore, you should construct your portfolio in such a way that information is clear and easily accessible and it is easy to customize its contents for different purposes. Used in a job search, your portfolio is intended not to show everything you've ever done but rather to present useful, persuasive information about you relevant to the position in question.


Portfolio Web Site

These instructions are minimum requirements. You may go well beyond these structural & technical requirements if you can do so effectively and professionally. Every portfolio must: 

  • project a clean, professional, and consistent theme from page to page and item to item
  • clearly and neatly identify yourself on the main page—you want no ambiguity should your portfolio be one among many on a prospective employer's to-view list
  • avoid light text on dark backgrounds, flashing text, or more than two different font styles, etc.
  • use your web space (it's free) if possible; if you prefer to use a service or another web address, ensure that the address has your name in it and is simple and professional (nothing like or
  • be easy to navigate with a clear, intuitive method of organizing each page and the collection of pages; give careful thought to how you will present your gathered materials and information so that it will be useful and appealing to your audience
  • have your name and contact information clearly visible (though discreet is fine) on every pagehave links to main portfolio areas on each page, including a "Home" link
  • strongly recommended: create a "site index" page that lists all items for presentation so that visitors don't have to guess or remember on which pages particular items appear
  • offer material items in formats that are accessible and convenient for your visitor
    • provide scanned image copies of important documents you receive (such as letters of commendation, awards, etc.); you would treat these scanned documents as images or PDFs on your web pages
    • provide a PDF versions of documents (see formatting rules below)provide inline text (words right there on your web page) alternatives to all documents so that visitors are not required to download and open PDFs in order to view your materials
    • provide audio and video samples where appropriate (to represent your interview techniques or video editing skills, for example)
    • when providing a collection of photos, use a photo gallery program or service (the Department can recommend several options) that minimizes distractions, permits captioning, and highlights your images and captions (stay away from services like PhotoBucket or Flicker which are distracting, confusing, and cumbersome)
  • include photos or images but do so with purpose and restraint only
    • caption every photo to briefly indicate the contents and clearly designate photo credits or permissions
    • stick with images that communicate something specific about you as a folklorist
    • no cat photos, random vacation photos, or abstract mysteries
    • never use a photo you did not create or for which you do not have permissions
    • use image files that are suitably small for web delivery (72 dpi, no more than 600 pixels wide, for example)
  • represent your original material or materials produced by others only with permissions or under fair use rules (no plagiarizing or copyright infringements!); if you didn't produce it, don't use it unless you have written permission or are certain you have fair use rights or the item is in the public domain
  • follow acceptable standards for internet content delivery such as:
    • ensure that your portfolio is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant; most present-day services and software for web development generate pages that are ADA compliant as a norm, but check ahead of time to ensure that what you use will do so
    • format downloadable text files as PDFs; do not format documents as Word, WordPerfect, Pages, or other specific formats (they introduce a great many complexities and some users refuse to download or open such files); PDF is a platform-independent interchange standard readable on most computers in the world
    • format image files as .jpg/.jpeg, .gif, .pdf, .png. files
    • format audio files as .wave, .aiff, .mp3, or .mp4 files (most audio editing software handles those formats anyway)
    • format video files as QuickTime or Flash or Windows Media Player file


We recommend using these programs or services to help you with your web page. You may choose other options not listed here, but it is entirely your responsibility to ensure that your portfolio conforms with this document's overall guidelines. Also you should be well aware that it is up to you to choose and learn to use the necessary tools to prepare your portfolio. The Folk Studies Program will offer guidance and WKU offers free training on many web-related topics, but you should start learning to work with necessary tools early in your M.A. program.


WEB PAGE DEVELOPMENT (to handle the overall process)

  • (free web site builder and web space, work through any web browser)—recommended
  • iWeb (Apple software product, requires paid Apple iLife and Mac computer)
  • and wordpress are also good free sites



  • JetPhoto (free download, pro upgrade available)
  • iWeb (photo sharing in Apple's paid software, see above)


Portfolio Contents

Your portfolio should include at least the things listed below, in a sensible order. Remember, you want to guide the viewer through your materials in such a way that it clearly indicates what skills and experience you have and how you can fulfill the requirements of the position you seek. Your portfolio should also be easily used and understood even if you are not present while others review it.


For your portfolio defense before the Folk Studies faculty, you will have to make a choice concerning how to construct the portfolio. Many of our students gather a very broad range of their materials in an omnibus format demonstrating a broad overview of what they have done while at WKU. If you choose to do this, be prepared to explain how you might adjust the contents and organization of your portfolio to suit the needs of specific kinds of job searches.


Your site index or table of contents should account for every item. Dividing your portfolio into sections (some with multiple pages if necessary) can help emphasize skills or experience to your advantage.


Every entry or item you include should be labeled to:

 1. clearly identify the item as referred to in the table of contents and

 2. offer a brief explanation of what the item shows about your qualifications


Your portfolio should have the following items at a minimum (if you produced them):

  • curriculum vitae or resume
  • sample ethnographic report
  • sample academic paper
  • grant proposal materials
  • K-12 lesson plans
  • sample museum materials (photos, reviews, etc.)
  • National Register application materials
  • field notes
  • sample verbatim interview transcription and catalog transcription
  • sample photos and accompanying index with captions
  • internship materials (make selections geared toward briefly indicating for whom or what organization you worked, emphasizing your responsibilities; provide any relevant praises such as evaluations of your performance and samples of work you did there, letters or other documents recognizing your participation—volunteered or compensated—in special projects or activities)
  • letters or other documents recognizing you as the recipient of any awards or special recognitions you've earned, including thank you letters for relevant activities
  • relevant information or materials from activities conducted before enrolling in the Folk Studies program (be selective, including only what is strategically reasonable for possible job searches)


Portfolio Defense

At the portfolio defense, you should dress professionally and present yourself as you would at a job interview. You will begin by walking the faculty members through your portfolio in a way that makes content and organization clear. You should be prepared to say why you included (or did not include) specific items. Faculty members will then ask you questions and make suggestions. It is best to bring a pen and paper so you can take note of the suggestions. You may be asked to redo parts of your portfolio.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 Last Modified 9/25/14