Throughout every stage of my Business & Professional Writing course activities have been geared toward developing a professional portfolio, which helps students gather, create, and manage visual and written documents on a website that is designed to house and organize a cohesive display of students’ professional and personal materials. Through this final project students gain hands-on experience as they build their digital spaces. These online spaces, in many ways is a type of habitus, which acts as an online extension of one’s physical body. Although the word is usually thought of as a medical jargon term, habitus—in this context—refers to the constitution of one’s personal and professional work habits. In this sense, the Digital Dossier functions as an online home and demonstrates how students proceed in the world and address their personal approaches toward becoming exemplary citizens, colleagues, and neighbors.
For this reason, everyone’s Digital Dossiers is different, and is reflective of individual experiences and aspirations. Digital Dossiers do not necessarily have to conform to ordinary constraints of a “corporate identity.” Rather, it is a type of personal and professional portfolio that represents as the capstone of learning that’s been accomplished in Business & Professional Writing. The Digital Dossier is about MAKING an in-the-world product that reflects everyone’s own UNIQUE constitution. The dossiers made online are designed to emphasize a personal awareness of KNOWING one’s professional situation and circumstances and shows the practice of writing and designing documents that work to convince potential employers and professional contacts of one’s skills and talents. How students design their Digital Dossier’s webpages help them make the transition into satisfying careers and open up the possibility of living a productive and meaningful life of one’s own choosing.
If you’re still unconvinced about the value of Digital Dossiers, see University of Pittsburgh’s excellent website “Manage Your Online Presence and Use Web Tools Effectively.” You can also visit this ever-growing list of links to FSU students’ Digital Dossiers, which they created for their finals in Business & Professional Writing.