Austin is a first year student at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He did his undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, just finished two years of service with AmeriCorps, and is new to the city; finding Manhattan unaffordable, he lives in Bed-Stuy. Pursuing an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, he is unsure whether he will opt for the "Policy" or "Finance" specialization, but knows he has interests in economic development, education, and poverty alleviation.
As a commuting student in a graduate program where very few students live on campus, Austin needs to integrate himself into the life of Wagner by making contact with fellow students through his portfolio page, which is public to NYU (but not beyond it). In particular, he needs to find and communicate with Wagner students who have indicated on their own portfolio pages that they share one or both of his prospective specializations so that they can confer together on their decisions about specializations and courses. He also uses his page to find and communicate with willing alumni who are working in his fields of interest to be better informed about the career paths each specialization might enable.
His portfolio page also allows him to capture his changing profile as he enters, attends, and graduates from the program. After acceptance but before he has begun to take classes, his portfolio page needs to include little more than his degree program, enrollment status (e.g., full time or part time), public service issue interest areas, basic contact information, a brief description of his reasons for attending school, and possibly a photo - just enough to allow those already in the network to find him based on broad affinities. As he pursues his studies, he needs to represent himself more fully to the Wagner community by displaying information and links to files that typify his ideas and accomplishments in a variety of categories/widgets, some of which he has chosen to include as elements in his portfolio, others of which are part of a pre-determined template provided by the Wagner program. Among the former might be his resume and a blog; among the latter, a list of the classes he has taken and is taking, student groups of which he is a member, a list of places he has interned, and answers to profile questions posed by Wagner Student Affairs administrators. Some of his self-representation is cumulative, like the blog and course list; other elements are dynamic, changing as his interests and accomplishments change. All of it, with the exception of his name and degree program, are opt-in. After graduation, Austin maintains his portfolio page in order to disseminate information on his current career to the Wagner community and to maintain contact with the program. At each stage, the portfolio page must clearly indicate Austin's status as Pre-Wagner, While at Wagner, and Post-Wagner.