Foliotek Blog

Back to School Technology Tips

The semester is under way and our little college town has filled up with the youth and energy that the students bring. I really enjoy this time of year as it reminds me of my younger days when it was I roaming the campus at the University of Missouri. When thinking about what to write about for my blog post this month, the thought of offering helpful technology tips to all of the students out there made me smile. So, here it goes; five terrific technical tips to make life a little easier.
alt First, I wish to offer a simple technological solution to keeping track of everything that needs to be done. There are many to-do list applications that can be easily learned and utilized on a smart phone. This keeps the lists off of paper which often times gets lost and doesn’t travel well. I personally really enjoy a tool called ToDoist. It is quite simple to use. Create a project for each course and a separate list of things to do for each one. Any time you have an assignment or a quiz/test to study for, put it on the list with a deadline.

Second, using the calendar on your smartphone to plot out your schedule is very helpful. Put recurring meetings for each course time, planned study sessions, and other responsibilities. Organizing time is a key to success for college students. We all have this tool in our pocket, but many don’t bother to use it. Having this on your phone will ensure you will always have it with you. Notifications will pop up on your screen which will remind you to be where you need to be when you need to be there.

Third, use the alarms on your phone to remind you to do the little things. Schedules get busy; sometimes students struggle for simple reasons like being dehydrated or under-nourished. A little alarm that reminds you to drink some water or have your afternoon snack can help a lot in this regard.

Taking the time to update your resume along with other aspects of your personal brand at the start of each semester is a great habit to get into.

Fourth, take the start of each semester as a reminder to work on your personal brand. If you are going to college, chances are you are hoping to seek a professional position when you are done. Working on your Foliotek ID page, which includes an updated resume and links to your best artifact-filled projects, can help you build your identity incrementally. One big mistake young people make is putting this off until the end of college. This is not ideal as it is very easy to forget things like what the best projects were and what information is resume worthy. By taking the time to work on your professional identity each semester, you will have a lot to work with when it comes time to search for that first job.

Finally, I would like to suggest that you take the time to archive all of your work from each course into an online storage system. Again, Foliotek has a perfect tool for this. The files repository can be organized with a folder for each course. Simply upload every paper, PowerPoint, Excel file, video, or anything else you produce for each course. Uploading your work here will archive it safely. Hard drives crash, discs and thumbnail drives get lost, but your Foliotek account will still have your work in it even if your account expires. You can always come back to renew your account or click a button to download all of your files.

In summation, being a college student is a busy endeavor. It is easy to lose track of what must be done to maximize your opportunities. I am suggesting these five tips to help you be the best you can be: use a to do list application, use the calendar on your phone, use phone alarms to remember the little things, work on your professional identity every semester, and archive all of your work in a safe online repository. Taking these steps will help you keep organized and make the most out of your investment in a college education.

Related Posts:
How to Write a Resume
How to Format a Resume
How to Create a Personal Brand

Make Your Online Identity Stand Out

alt How should one get started in creating an online professional identity? Many people default to LinkedIn which is certainly an important entity in this realm. However, a LinkedIn Profile falls a bit short of a complete online professional identity in this writer’s opinion. I assert that having a LinkedIn profile is an important part of a larger undertaking. Creating a portal which links to all of one’s online presence would be a more thorough approach.

Build Your Brand

An Identity Page on Foliotek is a great place to start. Users may include an Introduction statement, a professional photo, work history, education, and links to any website relevant to their identity. A Foliotek Identity Page also includes features for an embedded resume, a ‘contact me’ button, and icon links to other social networking tools (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube). Having all of this together on a nice looking webpage is actually quite simple to construct. The system offers several great looking templates and background photos to choose from. Users may also choose to use their own background picture if they wish to give it a more personal touch. An Identity Page on Foliotek is a great way to take advantage of several social media outlets while creating a polished professional identity.

Showcase Artifacts

The ability to include projects is another handy feature on the Foliotek Identity Page. Foliotek includes a streamlined approach to present authentic work samples within a project. Unlike linking to a file on a LinkedIn Profile, a Foliotek Project can include several documents that are themed within a project. Pages in a project can also showcase videos or any other type of file that you can store on a computer. The idea is to tell a story in a way which highlights one’s accomplishments and values. Building a nice looking project is easy to do; Choose a cover image from the multitude of provided images or upload your own, then fill in the pages of your project with your authentic work. Finally, link your projects to your Identity Page and showcase them to potential employers.
alt Foliotek also offers a robust ePortfolio tool should a user wish to create a paginated website without needing to have technical coding skills. Many Foliotek users choose to link to both projects and an ePortfolio when creating their online brand with a Foliotek Identity Page.

Creating a polished professional online identity will give potential employers valuable information about you as a person and as a professional. It very well may be just the advantage that helps land the right job for you.

Land Your Dream Job
Show Your Work!
Want a Job? Use Your Experiences

Redefining the College Admissions Process

What if we lived in a world that awarded young people for their contributions to others and their community? What if colleges and universities assessed these factors along with personal achievements when deciding whom to admit?

These questions have been on my mind ever since I went through the college admissions process. To me, the process seemed to only reward students with good test scores and grades. While those personal achievements are certainly important, I believe that the world would be better served if the admissions process also took a closer look at the contributions young people make to their communities.
alt The Making Caring Common Project is an effort to revise the college admissions process. It is sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The basic idea is to promote ethical and intellectual engagement as major factors in the admissions process.

The report lists three challenges to be addressed:

  1. Describe how college admissions can motivate high school students to contribute to others and their communities

  2. Demonstrate how the admissions process can more accurately and meaningfully assess young people’s contributions to others and their communities

  3. Redefine achievement in ways that both level the playing field for economically diverse students and reduce achievement process.

The report also recommends assessment practices that emphasize both contributions to one’s family and assessing students’ daily awareness of and contributions to others. Including contributions to one’s family can help students in low and modest income households. Caring for a sick relative or a younger sibling and helping to run a household while parents are working is certainly a valid contribution to society.

Admissions offices should continually seek to better assess whether students are kind, generous, honest and fair.

These ideas have not traditionally been a part of the admissions process. The Making Common Caring Project asserts that they should be.

The report makes the following recommendations for community service and engagement:

  • Promote meaningful, sustained community service for at least one year. This facilitates deeper reflection and commitment to a worthy cause
  • Promote collective action that takes on community challenges.This helps to develop problem solving and group skills that relate to job readiness
  • Promote authentic meaningful experiences with diversity
  • Promote service that develops gratitude and a sense of responsibility for the future.

To reduce the amount of achievement pressure in regards to community service, the report asserts prioritizing quality over quantity. This applies to taking advanced courses as well as the number of community service projects in which the student participates.

The report also asserts that students should not be over-coached while they are preparing their applications. Admissions offices should let students know that applications that are over-coached can be transparent and detrimental to admission.

The Making Caring Common Project is a great step toward having a better society. If students understand that their contributions to society are just as important as their personal achievements, they will be much more likely to engage in community service. My hope is that all colleges and universities will change their admissions process to assess the candidate as a whole rather than just looking at test scores and transcripts. I believe that this would be a major step toward creating a society that values ethical behavior and community service.

GRIT and Intelligence

Why is it that some of the smartest people don’t succeed in finishing college? This is a question that has been a subject of research conducted by Dr. Angela Duckworth. She suggests that when it comes to achievement that one’s grit may in fact be more important than intelligence. In one of her studies, she found that the smarter students actually had less grit than their peers who had lower scores on an intelligence test.


What are the characteristics that are most important in measuring one’s grit? According to Margaret M. Perlis’ article in Forbes online magazine, they are as follows: courage, conscientiousness, long term goals and endurance, resilience, and excellence. Other terms like tenacity and determination have also been used to describe essential elements of grit. The basic idea isn’t complicated, those who work harder are more successful in completing College and going on to successful careers.

As all parents do, I want my children to be successful. So this “Grit Concept” is very important to me. How can parents teach their children to have grit? As a teacher, I learned that students grasped concepts through various modes of learning. Thus, I suggest we teach our children to have grit by employing several strategies.


First, leading by example is a great place to start. Demonstrating determination and hard work to achieve one’s goals is the idea. Parents can do this by engaging their children in projects around the house, volunteer work, and professional endeavors.


Second, involving kids in the process of setting goals and planning action engages them in developing grit. When they work with their parents to set goals and work hard to achieve them, children are more likely to emulate this quality on their own. Another approach is to make hard work, perseverance, and resilience a regular topic of conversation. Some learn by seeing, some learn by hearing, most everyone can learn something by doing. Trying a variety of approaches and having the tenacity to stick to it will help to achieve the desired results.

Of course, encouraging children to take their studies seriously is a big part of instilling the right values. Asking them about their homework and helping them grasp concepts aids students in knowing what is expected. Encouraging them to explore academia to find their passions helps them take ownership of their own learning. With a lot of hard work, goal setting, and determination, I hope my sons will both pick the right field of study. I also expect that they will complete college and go onto productive careers in their chosen fields. They understand these expectations which is an important first step toward success.

To learn more about grit, check out Angela's TED talk below.

For additional information on GRIT: More Information on GRIT

Presentation Portfolio Contest

Presentation Portfolio Contest

Next week, we are kicking off a contest for anyone using Foliotek who has built a presentation portfolio.  To enter the competition, go to our Foliotek Presentation Facebook Page, click “like,” and post a link to your portfolio as a comment on our Facebook page.  This will enter you in the contest and share your portfolio with a community of Foliotek users.

We will be awarding awesome prizes for exemplar portfolios in three categories (listed below).  In addition, we will be awarding two runners-up in each category.  All winners and runners-up will also receive a 5 year license extension and badge graphic.

[ Prize: iPad mini ]

[ Prize: Beats by Dre headphones ]

[ Prize: Go Pro camera ]

Contest Details

The contest begins on Monday, April 22nd.  All Portfolios must be submitted to Foliotek Presentation Facebook Page by midnight on May 13th, 2013.  If you have any questions or would like more information about this contest, please contact

If you need technical support while building your portfolio, please contact or 1.888.365.4639 ext. 2 for technical assistance.

We are looking forward to seeing some excellent portfolios..