Can I make a Portfolio using the OpenLab?

Can I make a portfolio using the OpenLab?


This blog post has been created for the Bronx EdTech Showcase on May 7th 2021

Hello all, my name is Ryan Seslow, I’m a CBOX OpenLab Open Educational Technology & Pedagogy Fellow and an adjunct associate professor here at BMCC in the Media Arts & Technology Department.

Please join me in this visual example that displays both the creative potentials of a blog post, as well as the blog post in context to this website as a whole using the CBOX OpenLab platform.

Please know, this website IS the example, so after reading this post, please browse each page of the site and its description:

Wait a second, blog posts can humorous, playful and lighthearted? And still serious.. sounds good, but what exactly is a portfolio?

Let’s define it, and perhaps there is metaphoric value in each one of the “traditional definition” examples below..

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

Definition of a “portfolio”:

1a hinged cover or flexible case for carrying loose papers, pictures, or pamphlets

2: from the use of such a case to carry documents of statethe office and functions of a minister of state or member of a cabinet

3the securities held by an investorthe commercial paper held by a financial house (such as a bank)

4a set of pictures (such as drawings or photographs) usually bound in book form or loose in a folder

5a selection of a student’s work (such as papers and tests) compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress

Hold up, whoa! I can already feel your inner physiological triggers sending a bright red waving flag to your ego saying: “but making a portfolio is sooooo much work!”.

Guess what?


It is perfectly normal and alright to let your “old-portfolio-definition-self” bleed out. Exercise that energy. Let’s release it. Ill wait….Take a breath, and let’s remind ourselves that things need to be replaced and upgraded. Nothing is static. We learn, we grow, we expand and we can’t allow past experiences to drive the bus on new opportunities and new ways of seeing, experiencing and re-defining things. We have new tools at hand and we should implement them!

The word “portfolio” is not a bad word. If anything, like anything else, it’s a default term that officially requires your interaction, research, resonance and re-defining within context to who you are and who you are becoming in the process! With that said, let’s think about what the next step is in creating your new portfolio. The OpenLab is the perfect platform!

Let us understand the “why” part. Why do I need a portfolio? What is the purpose?

Here is a short list (feel free to add more to your updated definition)

  1. To showcase a body of your work. This is obvious, but curating and organizing things with intention becomes very specific. It activates a higher level of awareness and attention to the process / project. You will learn how to get selective, and this takes practice.

2. To show off your strengths, creativity, skills, effectiveness, efficiency, enthusiasm and passion! Of course, this energy translates directly through the work included in the portfolio. This will be what you believe is your best work at the time, but there is context. Keep reading.. (PS – it’s OK to have more than one portfolio to help showcase various bodies of works and projects, the OpenLab allows for this quite easily.) For example, I’m an applied artist, a digital artist, animation-maker, graphic-designer and a professor of art and design. Some of the works in my portfolio can overlap in theory but I keep a lot of the works separate to subject, but I enjoy showcasing them together on my website. That’s right, my website is also my portfolio. In fact, I have created a few, the links are below to help.

3. Display your process and evolution. Duration is your friend! Nothing shows off progress better than time. A metric of growth shows itself through time. When I look back at the design work I was doing 10 years ago in comparison to today I see an incredible difference in skill, technique, taste and where my thinking and focus was at the time. I also find a lot of ideas that can be pushed and expanded upon with more with my “awareness-of-growth eyes.” I write a lot about my work and share my process. I believe that this helps me reflect and explain myself better.

4. Stand out and show your style and authenticity – There is only one “you” that you can be. Yes, we certainly learn and are greatly inspired and influenced by others, but at the end of the day we must learn how to be our authentic selves. We must learn how to translate that through our mediums of choice. How will you do this? The short answer is through consistent experimentation and practice. Over time you will create your inner curator, and that part of yourself will begin putting pieces together in groups and compartments. The process will build and flow. This aspect is a journey and it too is anything from static. I take great interest in making changes, learning new things and applying them to the foundations that I continue to build.

OK, all easier said than done… or is it you ask?

I hope that this post will inspire you to begin! Be patient with yourself. The goal is not to create a portfolio in one hour, and there is no such thing as “perfection” or the perfect portfolio. Let’s produce a result and discuss that result. Be generous with yourself in the process.

I admit it. I love to experiment, test, tweak, deconstruct, remix and repeat processes. I treat the creation process of such a task, creating a new portfolio, the same way that I approach making art. Suspend your judgement! Allow yourself to “make something that may really suck” as a first iteration. This is crucial to developing a contrast of your own. Again, you need to produce a result in order to make an assessment about the result. Until you do this, your contrast is someone else’s stuff / thing that has inspired or affected you.

I would like for you to consider the portfolio building and displaying option below. Im a huge fan of the OpenLab platform.  I have created a sample and template / example using the OpenLab and my own self-hosted projects that go into the process. I consider all of these links below to be portfolios. Perhaps you have a preference over one or the other? I hope that these links below will help you get started.

Lets check out a few examples:

1. An OpenLab portfolio website “A How-to” example walk though:

2. A single project showcase example using the OpenLab:

3. A course site that uses the blogging prompt to share and expand course content:

Feel free to leave your questions and feedback in the comments section below!

Lets add more resources to this post together!

Or contact me at –

Portfolio Examples – To Blog or Not to Blog?

This post is simply an example. A visual for how both images, videos and text can populate a web page and organize themselves into the “visual space” that you are experiencing. Supporting text and verbiage goes a long way, especially when dealing with subjective imagery, like the image above and the one just below.

What is the difference between a blog post and a page on your blog? Wait, is a blog a website, or a part of a website? And, how do you know if you should be blogging about the work on your portfolio / project website? These are all good questions, and you should have fun defining them in context to your portfolio based blog-site :)) That is the beauty of this platform, it is designed for the experimental process and ease of modifying and revising. Plus having access to your college’s community at large is a great place to ask questions and participate. The examples below are also located on several of the static pages on this website but perhaps they communicate differently as a blog post? Do you plan on using your site as a blog as well as a website?

I embedded this small gallery of images above using the wordpress gallery feature from the “Add-Media”  button in the blog editor. The button works the same way for individual static pages. Be sure to check out the Portfolios page here on this site and explore some of those examples.

“The Game Begins”, April 2019, is an animated video art work in progress constructed from multiple individual components. The animated clips were composed and generated with various mobile and desktop applications. They have been layered and and recomposed in Adobe after effects. The video loops repeatedly and is intended for large scale projection presentation. Iterations and experimentation of its presentation are underway.

Video Example #1 – Above you will find a single embedded video with a text description just below.  Youtube easily allows for its URLs to be copied and pasted directly into wordpress posts and pages. WordPress recognizes and converts the URL into pre-set video player that works across all devices and platforms. This method above can easily be duplicated in a vertical composition and series of videos.

*Example #2 – (Below) Below you will find a YouTube video playlist that has been embedded into this page. (*Note – Im currently troubleshooting the youtube embedding <iframe> issue) This comes in very handy for creating specific clusters of video and or media art related works. Context plays a role as per your specific work or curation. Perhaps this feature showcases your video art work, experimental films, video interviews, music video, footage and or other related-ness. I created this example from my own YouTube channel and used the plug-in feature that comes with the commons media plug-in package.

**By all means, please leave any questions or comments below!

Coming Soon!

Welcome! This is an experimental portfolio project. It is my intention to share a series of blog posts and examples of “what a portfolio can be” using the openlab.