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Course Portfolio for CMM 498: Communication Internship

The Communication Internship, CMM 498, portfolio – due at the end of the semester – is the student’s capstone project for earning academic credit and provides evidence of the student’s education and performance during the internship experience. In a final paper included in the portfolio, called the Reflection Paper, students also reflect on their experiences, assess their successes and failures in the context of their educational objectives, and consider their next steps professionally and academically.

Note: If your internship will not result in work samples, then you must obtain the written permission of the Internship Coordinator at the beginning of the internship and semester, and agree to another course assignment. If, by mid-term of the internship and you do not have any examples of work that you produced, then arrange to meet with the Internship Coordinator immediately and your workplace supervisor to address your educational objectives and find solutions.

Objectives

The CMM 498 portfolio:

  • documents the scope of the student’s internship experience academically and professionally;
  • documents achievement of the student’s educational objectives;
  • provides evidence of the knowledge and skills that the student acquired during the internship;
  • demonstrates the student’s competency level in at least three areas related to the internship experience;
  • begins a plan for the next professional step; and
  • offers reflection.

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Portfolio Materials

To create your portfolio, you will need:

  • A 2- or 3-inch, 3-ring binder.
  • A 2-inch binder is adequate for most students and job hunters, but if you are    writing a lot or expect to have several disks, a 3-inch or larger binder would be better. 
  • The binder should be of good quality. If the binder looks cheap and/or dirty, then the employer’s first impression about you will be sloppy and careless.
  • Get a binder with a clear insert on the cover so that you can create a custom cover. For CMM 498, put your name, semester and internship site on the cover.
  • Get a binder with a clear insert on the spine so that you can put your name and profession on the spine. For CMM 498, put your name and semester on the spine.
  • Get a binder with pockets to hold disks. Plastic sleeves that can hold disks and keep them from falling out might be a better choice. See below.
  • Clear plastic page sleeves.
  • Put your pages inside the plastic sleeves to keep them clean and neat.
  • You especially will want to keep your work examples tidy for future copying. Although electronic versions may be available now, they may disappear or be difficult to retrieve in the future.
Pockets
  • One or two pockets will hold disks and keep them from falling out.
  • Pockets can also hold odd sized work product that do not fit well in standard plastic sleeves.
Tabbed dividers
  • Use tabbed dividers to organize and separate the contents of your portfolio.
  • Label the different sections of your portfolio for ease of finding information.
  • Type the section names rather than hand write them.
 Nice paper
  • White paper is fine.
  • Avoid very light weight stock.

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Portfolio Documents

Your portfolio will contain:

  • Internship Learning Agreement;
  • Educational Objectives;
  • Job Description;
  • Progress Reports;
  • New Employment Cover Letter;
  • Updated Resume;
  • Reflection Paper;
  • Minimum of five samples of your work; and
  • Brief explanations of each work product.

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Portfolio Organization

1. Title Page

  • Type your name, semester, year, number of credits 

2. Table of Contents

  • Identify each section
  • Include all documents in each section
  • Include page numbers
  • Page numbers can be affixed to the outside of the plastic sleeves. 

3. Introduction

  • Internship Site, Job Description, Time on the job (hours per day, per week)
  • Internship Learning Agreement (completed, signed copy)
  • Educational Objectives

4. Documentation of Learning

INTERNSHIP WORK

  • Include at least five samples of work produced during the internship.
  • Each work product must be preceded by a brief descriptive explanation that contextualizes the material, e.g., identifies its role, significance.
  • This contextual paragraph also should briefly describe your role in the development of the material.
  • For example, did you create the entire product? Or were you part of a team? Or perhaps you edited the copy. Or perhaps you proposed the idea that was completely developed by someone else.
  • Be honest about your role.
  • Use published, official copies of your work.
  • Work presented on plain, white paper will not be viewed by an employer as legitimate.
  • Include originals or copies of newsletters, web pages, etc.
  • Internal work should be on letterhead.
  • News releases that were published by the press should be followed by the newspaper articles
 Organize your material by type or project. For example, put all press releases together, all designs together. Or, if various materials were required on one project, you might group all under the project.
  • Be sure to label any disks completely and clearly.
  • Be sure to provide contextual information in writing for all CDs.
  • Be sure to identify what programs are necessary to open the CDs.

ASSIGNMENTS

Reflective Essay

  • Follow the directions for writing the Reflective Essay.
  • Reflect on ways you met, or didn't’t meet, your educational objectives.
  • Address a minimum of three competencies.
  • Consider other issues and questions listed in the directions. Write about five pages.
  • Use proper English style and format (e.g., spelling, paragraph structure).

Cover Letter

  •  Write a new Cover Letter to a prospective employer, seeking an internship/job.
  •  Feature the skills/knowledge you acquired in this semester’s internship.
  •  Show how you will present yourself for the next internship or job.
Resume
  • Update your resume.
  • Add this semester’s internship.
  • Make sure that work experience starts with most recent position.
  • Work experience should follow education.
  • Skills (e.g., technical or computer skills) should precede activities
  • Attach References. Asking employers to ask for references just adds a delay.
Progress Reports
  • Include copies of all previous Progress Reports.

5. Affirmations & Honors

  • Certificates of awards and honors related to your work
  • Letters of commendation 
  • Special thank-you notes from clients, customers
  • Newspaper articles that address your special achievement
  • Be sure that affirmations are on official stationary and that letters are signed. Unsigned letters are meaningless.

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Work Product Examples

Examples of the work you produce at your internship prove your capabilities in the field. In journalism and public relations, work examples are often obvious. You will have stories, page designs, news releases, media alerts, fact sheets, situational analysis, campaign materials. In electronic media, you will have disks of stories, stand-ups, segment productions, editing.

In these and other areas, look for opportunities to document the knowledge and skills that you are acquiring, expanding and improving. For example, if you present ideas during a creative brainstorming session, consider writing up those ideas immediately afterward on letterhead. Include a heading referencing the project, the date, the fact that this is your proposal. Then you can summarize the idea in a paragraph or perhaps in bullets. Professionals often follow up meetings with a written summary. You also will have proof of your creativity to show the next employer. 

Research work will be difficult to present in a portfolio: 1) it could be proprietary, and 2) reams of data is boring to prospective employers. Perhaps you can, in a professional way, summarize the search techniques and databases you used for the project. Be sure to present the summary on letterhead, with a nice heading of the project, for whom, with dates, with a short graph of goal of project. You might use bullets listing search engines used and data bases explored, and then include a short summary of what you found, with a few examples. Then, when an employer looks at your portfolio – or you review what you know to prepare for an interview – you will have a clear, precise picture of your knowledge and skills.

Here are some other examples of work product to include in your portfolio:

  • videotapes, CDs with audio or visual clips;
  • newsletters, brochures;
  • news articles, press releases, scripts;
  • online content;
  • reports, backgrounders;
  • edited articles or tapes;
  • policy briefs, proposals;
  • program outlines, strategic PR/marketing plans and outcomes;
  • press kits, media lists;
  • pitch letters, memos, other correspondence;
  • pitches during strategy meetings;
  • speeches, interviews, presentations;
  • spreadsheets, databases;
  • event plans, promotion plans and results;
  • advertising;
  • displays and exhibits;
  • training programs, manuals, surveys;
  • written cases, research and results;
  • layouts, graphics, artwork, photos;
  • cost sheets, financial reports, budgets;
  • call sheets, agendas; and
  • contracts.

Be sure that you do not violate confidentiality agreements by enclosing any materials in your portfolio, which might apply to strategic plans, budgets or database information, for example. Also be sure to preserve any personal or confidential information by blacking it out or submitting a blank copy. When in doubt, check with your job supervisor and/or the Internship Coordinator, who will ensure confidentiality.  

Make it Nice

Take the time to create a neat, polished portfolio. Shoddy work won't reflect well on your candidacy for employment – or for your internship credit.

  • Don't overload the portfolio with lengthy explanatory text, or repetitive graphics or photos.
  • Use 10- or 12-point type Arial, Times Roman or other simple, typefaces for easy readability.
  • To add a professional touch to newspaper copy, "erase" the lines around the clip on the full sheet. Copy shops now have programs to do that.
  • When copying web pages you designed and wrote for, make sure that copies are full width. Oftentimes, copies cut off the right side of the page.
  • If using still photos (to demonstrate your photography, perhaps), tape them to a sheet next to captions printed from a computer. Run a color copy of the whole finished sheet to use in the portfolio, and take the originals back off the taped-up master. Use a copy program that "erases" the lines.

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Deadline & Pick Up

Deadline

Your portfolio is due to the UD Internship Coordinator office no later than 4 p.m. on the first day of final examinations. It does not matter when your internship ends; the portfolio is due when the semester ends. For the exact date, see the UD Academic Calendar of the relevant semester. The deadline is set so that the Internship Coordinator has a few days to review the portfolios and submit grades by the Registrar’s Office grading deadline

If you are out of town, then plan to mail or overnight (FedEx or Express Mail) the portfolio to the Department of Communication office to ensure that the portfolio arrives in time. (See your Internship Learning Agreement for the Department of Communication address.) If you plan ahead, you can avoid the costly overnight delivery costs and mail your portfolio by book rate, which should cost you only about $5. But you would have to allow about 10 days for travel and delivery. In that case, you would have to complete the portfolio about two weeks before the end of the semester. It’s possible, and many students have taken advantage of the cheaper delivery charges.  

Pick up Your Portfolio

Portfolios also are available for you to pick up by the Tuesday after exam week. Portfolios will be stored in the Department of Communication main office, 121 St. Joseph Hall, for about six weeks into the following semester, ready for you to pick up during regular business hours. Portfolios from winter term are usually held until about the end of June to give travelers time to pick them up or to make arrangements to get them. Portfolios that are not picked up by then are destroyed because of the personal information inside and our own lack of storage space. After all the work you put in to present your skills and knowledge, don't just allow your portfolios to be thrown in the garbage.

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