Setback for 21st Century Resume

I’ve been trying to make headway on understanding a 21st Century Resume, thinking that it should not be your father’s paper resume. But recently I’ve had a couple “send me your resume” requests, so here it is in all its paginated glory: Nils S Peterson CV.

I’m choosing categories for this post. Milestone is obvious for a noted setback. Reflection-in-action seems an appropriate guide to what I should be doing, but it is Assessment that caught my eye. Clearly, it is assessment that is the goal of keeping a document like a CV. In my experience reviewing job candidates, a CV is a cumbersome tool for assessment.

So, I have added a new section to my CV, at the bottom, Community Activism. My wife’s summary: you defeated WalMart, Saved the Bus, and Chartered a school. But the reflection, and I hope your assessment, is what did I learn doing those things?

I joined the NoSuperWalmart effort in December 2005 hoping to get a chance to apply my ideas about blogs to community organizing. There is a blog, but it did not become a key piece in the communication strategy. I found myself in a role of spokesperson and part of the inner leadership circle, but the communications strategies that carried the day were email, newspaper ads, and handbills.

A year later, I got a better chance to explore the nexus of online and local community organizing. The conclusion that I draw from this work is that the web can be integrated into a local community’s political organizing. It requires effort to make the site participatory (with multiple perspectives) and authoritative (with data that has been collected about the problem and is open to inspection, support or refutation).

My most recent activism has revolved around gaining a charter for Palouse Prairie School in Moscow. This work has been conducted mostly offline, but its given me a chance to think about how to merge the content management of two blogs and Google Calendar into a web site. It not right yet, but its a step beyond the NoSuperWalmart effort.

What I think I’ve learned in those efforts is feeding into a series of blog posts I’m co-authoring regarding transforming the grade book. What we are arguing is that a community assesses its members (and a university education should assess students) by applying a set of broadly agreed criteria across a span of the member’s work. We are exploring the mechanisms by which the learner gathers, organizes, learns from, and demonstrates that assessment. The result will not be a CV, it will be a portfolio and the public assessment of that portfolio. Not a showcase portfolio, but a learning portfolio.

The CV is a showcase, and not even the best one, in that it is a catalog of everything without organizing narrative. What would be more interesting it seems is to showcase an accomplishment and the learning history leading up to it, as George Hotz did in his blog/portfolio on cracking the iPhone and Margo Tamez did in her portfolio on her efforts to prevent a US-Mexico border wall.


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