Balancing open practice and personal space

Personal openThis post a been prompted by my ongoing work to complete my CMALT portfolio. CMALT is a peer-assessed accreditation scheme for Learning Technology and requires a portfolio to be submitted. I’ve been working on my portfolio for months and I haven’t finished it. Given that I have everything I need to  complete it and that I am finding the process rewarding, I have been reflecting on why I am not getting closer.

The answer, I think, is that I enjoy having a personal project that I am not sharing – that is mine to play with as I choose. Somewhere I can reflect on my work and record it. But also a product of my efforts that is still in my personal domain, rather than published or shared as much I my output is.  That is simply the nature of my work – I rarely create anything that isn’t either for an internal or external audience.

My CMALT portfolio feels like a personal project for which I have created content from drawings to screenshots to descriptions of and reflections on my progress, and that is enjoyable. Like many others I hope to add it to the growing pool of portfolios being shared as examples of practice once it passes its assessment – but for now I like that it is a personal space.

Many of the other candidates I have spoken to over the years comment on how they find the process of reflection the most rewarding aspect of compiling their portfolio. In my role reflection is a key part of what I do and I am fortunate to have a number of ways to support it including a private blog, support from my mentor and discussion with colleagues. So while I agree with its central importance having a space to reflect is not something I feel I lack on a day to day basis.

For me, it’s the process of just creating something that feels most rewarding at the moment. Creating something in a personal work and head space gives me the chance to iterate, to change or add things over a period of months rather than having to have a finished product first time. I have written before on leadership as an open practice and how I have been looking or examples of open practice in those kinds of roles. While open practice may be rare, personal space to experiment, to work at your own pace, seems to me a rarity also.

I am curious about how the relationship between open practice and personal space to experiment, create and reflect will develop for me and how I can translate that into finally completing my portfolio.