Spring 2019 Syllabus

CT 399 Portfolio Design

1 cr., 4hrs. on 7 Fridays scheduled at the first 2hr. meeting of the class.
Fri. 10AM-1:50PM
Prof. Michael Branson Smith
Site: michaelbransonsmith.net
Twitter: @mbransons
Email: michaelbransonsmith [at] gmail [dot] com
Office Hours: M 2-4PM, or by appointment
Phone: 718-262-2853

Course Description

Students learn to develop a portfolio relevant to their chosen concentration in the Communications Technology Major. Professional statement writing and the fundamentals of analog, digital and web-based portfolios will be covered. Critique of fellow students’ portfolio elements is a requirement of the course.

Course Goals

Upon successful completion of this class, the student will be able to:

  • Developing larger goals and pursuing incremental tasks in the pursuit of those goals.
  • Understand portfolio / digital presence types and purposes
  • Select /  rework projects for portfolio / digital presence
  • Prepare a resume and letters of inquiry
  • Develop a project proposal
  • Conduct an internship search
  • Organize and present a portfolio / digital presence


There is no formal text for this course, but you will spend a lot of time researching materials that support your goals.

Course Calendar

Each semester a course calendar is developed with linked assignment posts. Look to the site navigation for the calendar each semester.

Hosting Accounts

Each of you should have a Reclaim Hosting account with a domain name that you used in CT 101 Digital Storytelling. If you wish to have a digital presence maintained on your own domain you can renew your account if needed. You may consider a new domain name if you feel it’s appropriate. The new domain may or may not be covered in the course fee depending on your account status.

Class Structure

CT 399 is a one credit, two hour lab class. This means the majority of time spent in the class will be active – online research, planning and documenting work, and sharing results of your work in-class with peers. Please be prepared to do work in the classroom as it is not a lecture.

The process of how we will work each week is informed by the research and activities of Dr. David Halpern and the Behavioural Insights Team. If you’d like to know more about “the nudge group” as they are euphemistically known, consider listening to the Freakanomics Podcast – Big Returns from Thinking Small.

Here is basic two part structure of what we’ll be doing in-class each meeting:

Research & Document
  • Each meeting you will be presented with a task or set of tasks to do at the start of class. There will be a short lecture framing the tasks as well as some informal discussion. This will take no longer than 15-20 mins.
  • You will have 5-10 mins to define your tasks for the next two work periods. You will post under your name what you will be doing on the white board.
  • Next you will work for two 40 min periods staying on-task. This is your time to do the work that you have defined for yourself that you need to do. Respect this commitment to yourself. I will check-in with each of you at least once across the hour and 20 minutes of work. There will be a short ten minute break between each work period to relax and chat.
Peer Report
  • After a break, you will each report to a peer the work you completed during the two 40 minute periods. Be sure to frame for your peer the work completed around the larger task goal.
  • Your peer will take notes and report them on the white board under your name.
  • Your peer will read aloud their report which will allow for some discussion and advice from the entire class.
Blog your Time
    • Blogging is an integral portion of the class as you will need to report what you were able to accomplish in the lab. You do not have to share personal information or specifics that you believe too revealing. But you must come up with a way to share how you spent your time and what you got out of the in-class tasks.
    • Each week we will try to leave 10-15 minutes for you to work on a post. But you are responsible for posting how you spent your time. And remember these blog posts count for 80% of your grade.
    • Keep in mind the following standards when writing posts:
      • A thoughtful title (please do not name the assignment in the post, it should reflect the personalized content of post you’re submitting)
      • A clear statement of the post’s purpose.
      • Contextual links related to the post’s purpose.
      • A clear statement of reflection.
      • Embedded media where appropriate.
      • Appropriate grammar and syntax.


As described above, there will be weekly in-class exercises to work on for the calendared activities. Your main requirement is to report each weeks’ efforts on the in-class activities. You do not necessarily have to complete the activity in this course, as the goals of the activities are your goals and you must set your own course to work outside of class.

The only exception to this reporting will be to present a portfolio / digital presence in the context of your larger goal at the end of class.

Blogging – 80%
Portfolio Presentation – 20%


Students are expected to treat the instructor and fellow students with the appropriate degree of respect, both in class (if applicable) and in online discussions. Communication, either in person or through electronic media, that is deemed abusive, threatening, or harassing in nature will not be tolerated.

Academic Integrity

York College’s Academic Integrity Policy & Procedures, developed to conform to the CUNY policy on Academic Integrity.

INC Grades

The following overview of the INC grade is condensed from York’s grading policy website

The student must be passing the course, and have work remaining to complete the course requirements. The student must request an INC grade. The instructor must approve whether the student has a valid reason for not completing course requirements and has reasonable expectation that the student can in fact successfully complete the requirements of the course within the allotted time.
Policy on Accommodations for Disable Students

CUNY York College is committed to providing access to programs and services for qualified students with disabilities. If you are a student with a disability and require accommodations to participate and complete requirements for this class, contact the STAR Program (Specialized Testing & Academic Resources), services for students with disabilities (Academic Core Building (AC), Room 1GO2, 718-262-2191/3732) for verification of eligibility and determination of specific accommodations.