Portfolios (new)

Overview of New Portfolio Feature (2014 upgrade)

Instead of accessing the Portfolio through your Content Collection, you get to it through what they call “My Blackboard” or “Global Navigation”, the area in the upper, right side of the screen with your name.

1. Click on the triangle beside your name – be careful not to click on the Log Out button, which is immediately to the right!

  • Below the list of Courses, you will see other areas: Organizations, Spaces, Links, Tools, and Settings 
2. Click on Tools, and then choose Portfolios
a list of options under Tools, with Portfolios highlighted
(Notice that there are two Portfolios buttons. That is a glitch. Either one will take you to the new feature.)

3. There, you will see [My Portfolios] and you should be able to access any portfolios you made in the previous system.

  • Notice that there is also a button for [My Artifacts], which acts like the Content Collection. It contains the files you pointed to in your portfolios. 
  • Also, note that any portfolios other people shared with you are can still be found in [Shared with Me].


Stephanie Richter, Northern Illinois University (NIU)

Create a New Portfolio

A great overview of the new portfolio feature in Blackboard and a place to help you get started can be found at:

  • When the narrator refers to getting artifacts from 'units', he means getting artifacts from your course sites on Blackboard  :-)
  • Captioning has not been cleaned up (but his wonderful Australian accent makes for some funny mistakes in auto-captioning!)
  • Approximate time codes:
    • 0:00 - 1:24  overview
    • 1:24 - 3:18  add artifacts
    • 3:18 - 6:48  create a portfolio
    • 6:48 - 8:00  preview, change details, and customize style
    • 8:00 - 8:38  see settings, share, download, etc 


See Administrators Only area on this site for information about creating a Blackboard Portfolio Template. An instructor or representatives from a department or program need to work with a Bb Administrator to design the template. Only an administrator can create it.

Because templates are system-wide, anyone can see and use anyone else’s template. You can see what they look like by creating a new portfolio. The fully developed templates have instructions for each page or section written in italics when the student is editing their portfolio. Those instructions do not show up in the actual portfolio when you view it.

1.       In Global Navigation (the dropdown beside your name in the upper right corner of the screen when you are in Blackboard) click on Tools and then Portfolio (There have always been 2 links to Portfolio, but they both take you to the same page.)

2.       Click [Create Portfolio]

3.       Give it a title

4.       Then click [Select Portfolio Template]

·         The two active templates are:

o   SLIS Non-SLM Portfolio Template (one page with multiple sections)

o   SLIS SLM Portfolio Template (multiple pages in the portfolio)

·       Others on the list vary. Some are pretty well developed, but others were attempts that the group did pursue.

5.       Go into the portfolio to edit it. You will be asked if you want to take a tour.

Add Artifacts

In the new version of Portfolios, artifacts are kept in [My Artifacts]. If you created portfolios in the previous versions of Blackboard, you may already have items in your My Artifacts*.  Artifacts in the new version can also be more than just a link to an item. You can create an artifact that is just information without attaching or linking to a file. 

  1. Click on the [My Artifacts] button from the Portfolio tool
  2. Choose [Add Personal Artifact]
  3. Give your artifact a Title. This will help you find it in your My Artifacts.
  4. It is important to also give your artifact a Description. If it is not obvious from the title, you will want to describe your artifact as a document, video file, etc. This will help you as you search among your artifacts.
  5. If you have text you want the user to see, add that to the Content area. If you are creating a text-only artifact, this is where your details will go. 
  6. Use the Attach File option to browse your computer or the old Content Collection to find a file to attach on this artifact.
  7. Click [Submit].

    Now, when you are creating or editing a portfolio and what to add an artifact to a page, you will search My Artifacts.  

* When the Blackboard upgrade was done in December 2014, the artifact files that you linked to from your portfolios were automatically moved to the new My Artifacts area. You will notice, though, that the items in My Artifacts are not organized like you may have had them in your Content Collection. (You cannot organize them into folder like you may have done in the past, for instance.) There is also no indication of the type of item it is - a document, pdf, video file, audio clip, folder, etc.  As you add new items to My Artifacts, it is particularly useful to put that type of information in the description. 

You can also go back and add descriptions to items that were moved during the upgrade:
  1. Click on the drop-down beside the item and choose Edit
    dropdown pointing to Edit option

  2. You can then add a meaningful description or change the name of the link if that would be helpful. 
    IMPORTANT: Please be aware that if you make a change to the artifact file, the link will not work in the original portfolio. You will need to go back to any portfolios that you created in the past and re-link the artifact.  
Edit Your Portfolio

General Suggestions

  • The editing tools are pretty simple in the Blackboard portfolio tool. We are constantly finding work-arounds or ways to 'fake' the system and get the portfolio to look the way you want! 
  • Your pages do not always look the same in Edit mode as they do in the final view. For example, we often see little or no spaces between paragraphs in the edit mode, but there are spaces when you preview your pages (which is what others will see.) 
    • My suggestion: As you work in the edit mode, periodically click on the Preview and Customize button on the top, right side of the screen between the [Settings] and [Done Editing] buttons  
  • Remember that web sites may look different depending on the computers and browsers others are using. You may want to share a snapshot of your portfolio with a friend from time to time during development and see what they see.

Make Text Look Consistent Within a Page and from Page to Page

Many people copy and paste text from other places into their portfolio. This often leaves the text on different pages of the portfolio, or even blocks of text within one page, look different.

My suggestion
A good rule of thumb for any text that will be viewed online is to use the pre-determined Format Styles rather than adjusting the font and size of text on each page. The best idea is to copy your text into the portfolio (or enter the text directly) and then: 

1. Highlight all the text on the page
2. Click on the Remove Formatting button on the far right of the first row of editing tools.

cursor pointing to an icon that looks like an eraser

3. Click on one of the pre-set Format styles in your page – the portfolio tool only has five: heading, sub-heading 1, sub-heading 2, paragraph, and formatted code - and choose Paragraph for all the text. 

pop up box shows the options for Formats listed in the text

4. Then highlight any text you want as heading or subheadings and choose the appropriate style for that text.
5. Finally, highlight any text that you want to do some special editing with, such as information in a list, words you want to be italicized or bold, text you want centered or right justified, etc and choose the appropriate editing features. 
6. Repeat these steps on all the pages in your portfolio 

Unfortunately, the editing tools in the Blackboard portfolio do not allow you to easily customize the styles, but at least the text will be consistent among your pages! 

Note that you can go into the HTML code and make changes, but that is way beyond what most people are willing to do.

FYI, the other reason that it is good practice to use pre-determined styles in any material that will be online is to make it accessible to people who use a screen reader.

Hyperlink to a URL Link in Portfolios

When you add a new artifact in a Blackboard portfolio, it generally assumes you are adding a link to file, such as a document, presentation, etc. If you want to link directly to a web page, create a text link either in the body of a section you already have written or you can create a separate section with the direct link. In the example below, I created a new section.

1. I made a new section at the bottom of the page called 'Direct Link to School Web Site’.
2. I typed in the name of the school and the URL.
3. I then highlighted the text of the URL and chose the Link button in the editing tools (it looks like a chain).

Link button with chain icon

4. I copied the URL into the Link Path box. I also selected to 'Open in New Window (_blank)' because I thought you would probably want the user to be able to switch between reading what you wrote about the site and the actual site:
link address written out and open in new window highlighted

The link now looks like this at the bottom of the portfolio page:
text of URL is underlined and blue, indicating it is a link

  • You could have highlighted the name of the school and used the same Link Path if you wanted the name of the school to be the link. 
  • You can also make the text link within the body of your description. 
  • Just be aware that you need to highlight the text you want to use as the link first so the Link (chain) button becomes active.

Hyperlink to Audio and Video Links in Portfolios

[Thank you to Gerry Solomon, USC School of Library and Information Science, for working with me on the following information! The link to a handout containing this information can be found at the bottom of this page.] 

1. In the edit mode, choose the Insert/Edit Embedded Media button:   
                     cursor pointing to button of filmstrip called Insert/Edit Media

2.  If you click on the dropdown beside the Type box, you will see the drop down with different file types that Blackboard supports:

Arrow pointing to box labels File URL  List of file types, with Flash highlighted. Other include Quick Time, Shockwave, Windows Media, Real Media, and Embedded Audio

3. You then need to copy or type the URL for your Screencast.com/ Jing.com link for that video.

  • Note that Blackboard will convert the original (Screencast or Jing) URL to a long ’permanent’ URL. We are not sure why they do that, but when you go in later to edit the Embedded Media, you will see the long Blackboard URL if it converted correctly.

4. Note that the Dimensions of the video are automatically configured when upload as a video, but you can modify those here if necessary.

5. Click the [Insert] button.


Blackboard does support Flash. But having said that, not all users’ computers are good at viewing Flash. It depends on the operating system, plug ins, browser (and even the version of the browser) combinations they are using.  Because of that, many people avoid embedding Flash videos – and really, any videos - into their web sites.

An alternative is to include the links directly to the Screencast or Jing site on that page of your portfolio.

In general, it is a good idea to also write out the URL for a link in case someone has problems with the link opening. This is especially true for long URLs or ones that you anticipate people might have trouble viewing (such as Flash videos.) If the link doesn’t work for your user, it can be seen from the beginning of the URL that it is located at Screencast.com or Jing.com and they could then go there and try to search for your video. 

Share a Portfolio

If you shared a portfolio in Blackboard in the past, you may remember that you only had to share the portfolio once. After you shared it with a group or an individual, they would see the latest changes whenever they viewed your portfolio.

In the new version of Blackboard, you actually share a “snapshot” of the portfolio, meaning that the people you share it with will only see the version of your portfolio at the time you took the snapshot. 
  1. Go to your list of [My Portfolios
  2. Click on the drop-down beside the portfolio you want to share
  3. Choose Share
  • If you have shared this portfolio with an individual or group in the past and you want to share an updated snapshot of your portfolio, you will need to select that snapshot and click [Remove this Snapshot] 
  • If you have never shared this portfolio with others, you will go directly to Share a Snapshot with… 
Click [Share a Snapshot with]
You have a few choices:
  • Users. These are faculty, staff and students within the USC system. You will need to know or browse for their USC Network Username. They will see your portfolio in the [Shared with Me] area of the portfolio tool when they are logged into Blackboard. 
  • External Users.  These are people outside the USC system. You must know their e-mail address. They are sent a unique link to view your portfolio. You are given the option of editing the e-mail that is sent. 
  • Share with Courses and Organizations. Portfolios can be shared with all users in a course or organization within the USC Blackboard system. You will need to search for the specific course/organization 
  • Sharing by Institutional Roles and to All System Accounts should be disabled. 

Note About Sharing Your Portfolio with a Course in Blackboard

It is sometimes hard to find the specific course because this search tool requires you to have the text exactly like they have it in the system. The best way is to search by using the "Course ID" field.  Here is an example:
I wrote the letters and numbers of the Course ID (without the section number) and did not include spaces or hyphens. SLIS794  I got a lot of hits because there are so many sections of this course each semester, but I found section 014 for the current semester. Here is what the search and results looked like:

search fields in Blackboard Portfolio share

Note About Permissions for Sharing Some Artifact Files

Depending on the source of artifacts you link to, you may need to grant permission for the specific people or course/organization who will be viewing your portfolio to access the particular file, folder, or web page.

In the case of online resources that require a password to use, there may or may not be a way to share resources you create in that system. This ranges from basic tools like Google Drive to content-specific tools like Quia (where you can create an online educational activity). You will need to explore the rules for using those tools to confirm that someone without a password or an account will be able to view the material. 

If you point to an item that is stored in your Content Collection in Blackboard, you will need to make sure the users you want to be able to view (or edit) the item have permission to do so.
In your Content Collection, go the the item you want to share and click on Permissions:
Option for Permissions highlghted

Depending on who you are sharing your portfolio with, you will need to select Specific Users, Select Specific Users by Role (shown in the image below), or you can Permit Anyone. 
Within the option(s) you choose, you will then give permission for them to Read, Write, Remove or Manage the item. 
You will probably want most people to just be able to Read the items you are sharing. 
Manage Permissions

Download Your Portfolio

When you download your portfolio from Blackboard, you will get a .zip folder with the files contained in your portfolio.
  • To view the portfolio, the user must extract the files from the .zip folder and open the index file in a browser.
  • You can save those files to a CD/DVD.
  • If you have access to a hosted web site, you can upload the parts of your portfolio into your site. You need to use a web authoring tool to move the index file and all the items contained in the content folder from the downloaded and extracted .zip folder. You will likely have to re-create the links to the items in your hosted site.
  1. Click on the drop-down beside the portfolio you want to download
    highlight where to click on Download

  2. You will see some additional instructions and the link Click to Download Portfolio
    window with link to Download

  3. Below is what a typical downloaded folder will look like:
    content of zip foldert

  4. Extract the files
  5. Click on the index file to view the portfolio. 


Edits don't seem to update

There are two things I can suggest might be issues:

1. When you edit your portfolio, go to Portfolios -> My Portfolios. Click on the dropdown to the right of the name of your portfolio and choose [Edit].

After you edit the information on the pages, click on the [Done Editing] button at the top, right side of the screen:

3 buttons, right to left: Done Editing, Preview and Customize, and Settings

Notice that you can choose the middle button to [Preview and Customize]. If you do preview the portfolio, it will open in a new tab. Don't forget to go back to the original tab and click on [Done Editing] to save the changes.

2. Always click on the red [Save] button in the lower right whenever you edit any area of the portfolio. If you have been working with the tool, you probably know that whenever you click on a section (or if you click on the edit button that looks like a pencil), the editing tools appear. If you try to move to another area before saving (even if you didn't make any changes), you will see the following message, "This site says.... You are currently editing portions of this page. Continuing will lose any unsaved changes." The choices are [OK] or [Cancel]:


"This site says...." button described in text.

If you have made any changes, be sure to click [Cancel] in the message and then click on the red [Save] button in the lower right of the original editing area.

Access Your Content Collection (where your artifacts were housed in the past)

You can still access your Content Collection, which is where all the artifacts were housed in the past:

1. Click on the Content Collection tab from anywhere in Blackboard:
content collection label
(It’s not real obvious, though, after that!)

2. When you click on My Content, you get a folder that does not have a name:
My Content area with no name on the folder

3. Open the folder with no name (click on the + sign) and you should see your folder with all the files and folders you had in your original Content Collection:
the folder with no name opened up with names of files and folders
I am sorry they didn’t design this better….

You See Two of Everything in the "Edit" Mode / The Title is Repeated on Each Screen

"Two of everything" on the menu in Edit mode *
The "title is repeated" on the screen
menu showing the name twice
 the title Vision Statement written twice

* Note that Resume is not repeated on the menu. This is explained below.

What you are seeing in the examples above is the title of the Section, which in every case (except Resume) is also the title of the Page.  
  • In the menu, the bold title is the Page Title (ex. Introduction or Vision Statement) and the normal text title is the Section Title (ex. Introduction or Vision Statement). If you add a second section to any of the pages, the title of that section would also show up in this menu as normal text. 
  • When you click on the section of your Introduction page, the Section Title box has the word Introduction in it (image below). This Section Title is what you are seeing at the top of each page under the Page Title. They just happen to be the same words each time.
  • When you go to the Resume page, the Section Title box is empty (image below). That’s why the title is not repeated on that page and it does not appear twice in the menu. 
IMPORTANT NOTE: We have discovered that the box is not entirely empty. You must put at least one space in the box to remove the title. Just delete any text you have in the box and use the [spacebar] to insert a blank space or two.
  • If you do not want the title repeated on the page, you do one of two things:
    • Delete the text in the Section Title box and add a space or two. (see note immediately above) That will leave the section title blank like your resume page.
    • You can also re-name the Section Title to something like “Welcome to my portfolio” (without quotes). You could use the Section Titles to introduce each page in some way.
  • Or leave the two titles the same
    • Of course, many portfolio pages look fine with the Page Title in large text at the very top of the screen and the same words repeated below in smaller text as the Section Title.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. It is simply your design choice!

A Bulleted List Doesn't Look Right

Sometimes a bulleted list (and probably a numbered list) has too much white space to the left or the second level of text in the list jumps too far to the right. This seems to happen when the text on your page is set to full justification.  

The way to visually fix the large whitespace to the right of the second level is to highlight the text and use the 'outdent' button (see picture below) to move the second level of text to the left until you like the way it looks. 

cursor points to OutDent button which is basically a left arrow

Remove Random HTML in Header and/or Footer

When you go into your portfolio in Blackboard, you may see a lot of HTML code in your header and/or footer area instead of the text you put there. This only seems to occur in some portfolios that were created in the previous version and that were based on the USC Connect template.

random html code on the top of an Introduction page
random HTML code at the bottom of a screen An example of a header and footer with the HTML problem

See the file at the bottom of this page for a handout describing the steps to correct this. 

You want to share your portfolio with everyone by pasting the URL into a document or presentation 

Unfortunately, pages in Blackboard are not like real web pages. Blackboard is a closed system and you cannot link to pages inside that system, only to the log in page. If you send the URL to any page within Blackboard, the link either takes the user to the login page or to the red “Not Found’ error message saying they don’t have access. 

When you share a Blackboard portfolio with an individual through e-mail within the portfolio system, the URL that is sent in the e-mail is specific to that person and cannot be re-used outside that e-mail. Of course, you can also download the portfolio, but that downloads a zipped folder, which the user must extract and know to click on the index file, etc. Maybe in some circumstances, that is okay, but it sure isn’t the same – and certainly not as friendly - as interacting with your portfolio online! 

Non-SLM Template Work-Around: Split ‘Application of Technology and Research’ into two sections

In the Non-SLM Template, there is currently one section called  ‘Application of Technology and Research’. This will be split  into two sections in the next version of the template:
  •  ‘Application of Technology’
  •  ‘Application of Research’
You can create a new section and re-name the current one to end up with desired parts of the portfolio. 

See the file at the bottom of this page for a handout describing the steps to do this. 

Instructions for Specific Programs Using Blackboard Portfolios

  • Portfolio Guidelines for Non-School Librarians http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/cic/internal/graduate/slis/mlis/portfolio_guidelines.php 
  • School Library Certification and Portfolio Guidelines http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/cic/internal/graduate/slis/mlis/school_library_certification.php 


Susan Quinn,
Jul 28, 2016, 8:17 AM
Susan Quinn,
Mar 30, 2015, 12:37 PM
Susan Quinn,
Mar 17, 2015, 11:22 AM