Week Eight of the 2020 Life Design Summer Institute was the final week and students presented their life design portfolios. This post provides a quick overview of our approach to life design portfolios and my 3 teaching takeaways.
This Week’s Lesson: Life Design Portfolios
As my fellow 2020 Life Design Summer Institute instructors and I were designing the course, we knew two things:
- The final project was going to be portfolio of the students work over the course of the Institute.
- The final session was a celebration and presentation of that work.
Life Design Portfolios
The goal of the portfolios was for students to compile the work they completed throughout the Institute AND to outline next steps for themselves. Ultimately, it was up to the students to decide the contents and format of their portfolios.
In terms of content, we suggested the following:
- Introduction (Worldview, Workview, Collegeview, Good Time Journal Insights, Three Lives)
- Life 1 (Overview, Mind Map, Point of View Statements, How Might I Questions, Stakeholder Map, Alumni Ethnography, Supporting Documents, Next Steps)
- Life 2 (similar to Life 1)
- Life 3 (similar to Life 1)
In terms of format, we were quite open and saw presentations via PDF, Word Docs, Prezi, Google Presentations, etc. Fellow LDSI instructor, Matthew Golden, created a Powerpoint Template that students were free to use. One of my students designed her portfolio based on the template and you can check out Yanni’s Gu’s LDSI portfolio to see how she showed her work.
Life Design Final Presentations
Each LDSI instructor conducted their final class and presentations in their own way. I opted to give time for all my students to present parts of their portfolios. Since there were 15 students, we need to extend the time of our class and each student had 5 minutes to present.
Here was my suggested presentation outline for all students:
- Tell us about yourself (30sec. – 1 minute): This is a classic interview question that people stumble on. You have a lot of tools to answer this succinctly. I encourage you to draw on your Workview, Worldview, Collegeview, and Good Times Journal insights here.
- Tell us about Life 1 (45sec. – 1 minute): You can draw from your 4-6 word summary, POV and HMI statements, stakeholder and journey maps, etc.
- Tell us about Life 2 (45sec. – 1 minute): You can draw from your 4-6 word summary, POV and HMI statements, stakeholder and journey maps, etc.
- Tell us about Life 3 (45sec. – 1 minute): You can draw from your 4-6 word summary, POV and HMI statements, stakeholder and journey maps, etc.
- Tell us your next steps to explore each life (30sec. – 1 minute): You could also embed this part in the presentation of each of your lives. Totally up to you.
3 Teaching Takeaways
Here are my three teaching takeaways from this week:
1. It’s important to reexamine the work that’s been done
Throughout the duration of the Institute, students engaged in a wide range of work. Compiling that work into a single document – life design portfolio – gave students the opportunity to reexamine all their work and construct a cohesive narrative. Many students noted to me that they were surprised at just how much work we had done together.
3. Creating 3 life/career #portfolios offered students a framework to reflect on how their past stories/experiences can be redeployed according to different contexts. It is my hope that they feel empowered to represent themselves in creative and contingent ways. @matthewgolden pic.twitter.com/D4S4lSEmGb— mike gonzales (@MNLfolder) August 5, 2020
2. Multiple sources of feedback can help the work continue
It was important for our last class to be an opportunity to both share and celebrate the students’ work. I wanted students to feel both a sense of the course ending, but a continuation of designing their lives. In terms of continuing the work, equipping students with feedback was key.
In addition to my written feedback of their final portfolios, students received anonymous feedback from guest Life Design Educators and their peers on their presentations. Fellow LDSI Instructor – Patrick Brugh – shared his presentation feedback form, which asked listeners to answer the following questions:
- What sounds authentic to you?
- What sounds exciting?
- What questions do you have for the presenter?
- Any resources you can recommend?
The feedback generated was both strength-based and action-oriented. Thus, giving students an additional pool of information to draw from as they move forward.
Thank you so much to @HopeMBurke, @TessaMcKenzie15, and @Leah_Banks7 for coming to watch and provide generative feedback for our #LDSI2020 section's final presentations. I'm so grateful to have such wonderful colleagues @ldlhomewood. pic.twitter.com/CktpWwMICS— Dr. Smiti Nathan (@travellingarch) August 6, 2020
3. The framework of a course gave students the time and structure to deep dive into life design
The framework of a college course allowed us to facilitate deep work on life design for our students. Meeting weekly for 8 weeks gave students the time to think through and revisit certain exercises. They also got to experience the larger structure of design thinking and see how certain life design activities worked in tandem with one another. The final presentations and portfolios solidified just how much of that deep work truly did happen.
This was our final week of the 2020 Life Design Summer Institute. I am grateful to have had a wonderful group of students and an amazing teaching assistant in my colleague – Aly Nunez. I am also thankful for all the peer-to-peer learning I acquired by team teaching with my colleagues Justin Lorts, Michael Gonzales, Patrick Brugh, Matthew Golden, Lauren Barrett, and Hope Burke. The 2020 Life Design Summer Institute was a momentous happening for our Lab and one of the highlights of my experience as a Life Design Educator.
Today marked the last class of @JohnsHopkins #LDSI2020. To say that I am proud of my students is an understatement. Their final presentations exemplified vulnerability, curiosity, and grit. I'm so excited to support them as they continue to design their lives. #getcurious pic.twitter.com/Q9KYGhlv81— Dr. Smiti Nathan (@travellingarch) August 6, 2020