Course Portfolios

A course portfolio is a coherent narrative or investigation of a specific course that is documented, and reflected upon, as it is being taught.

Its purpose is to capture and document all of the insights that you have over the course of the semester that you can then use to enhance and enrich the course the next time you teach it.

These insights may relate to a course that you have taught many times and now seek to ‘re-fresh’, to a course that you are teaching the first time, or to a elements of a course that you are now approaching in a new way.

Course portfolios also serve to guide reflection on your teaching and learning practices, and to act as a vehicle to give structure to the process of developing or enhancing your courses.

A finished portfolio will include both supporting documents that are created along the way, as well as an analysis of those documents once the course has been completed.

Elements of a course portfolio

Course portfolios may take many forms, but should include:

  • An explanation of your course, how you teach it, and a rationale for any changes you implemented with supporting documentation.
  • A reflection on the impact your course had on student learning, 
  • Evidence from student assignments to support your reflection
  • A reflection on how the course might be further developed to further  enhance student learning

Supporting documentation can take many forms, including:

  • Context of course within degree
  • Syllabus
  • Description of Learning Outcomes
  • Examples of assignments and assessments
  • Analysis of student performance
  • Student feedback and evaluations
  • Ongoing faculty reflections  
  • Conclusions and next steps to be taken

Creating a course portfolio can have significant benefits for both faculty and their students.

For faculty, benefits include:

  • A repository of teaching strategies and techniques to draw on when building new courses or enhancing existing ones
  • An opportunity for individual reflection on teaching and learning practices
  • An ongoing record of developing practice
  • A method for systematically collecting feedback and insights on courses and teaching

For students, benefits include

  • More effective teaching strategies employed by instructors
  • A systematised way to benefit from feedback from previous cohorts
  • The opportunity to contribute to the future development other course

If you have ever finished a course knowing exactly what you would keep and change the next time it came around, revamped a course and wanted to evaluate the new version compare to the old, or wanted to collect and compare information on what lessons worked well, and which ones worked less well, the building a course portfolio is a good place to start.

Reflective Process: Growing the Mind of a Scholarly Teacher

Gibbs (1988) gives us an easy cyclical model to consider our thinking. After any teaching or learning experience, think of the experience in three parts.

Learn more about: Reflective Process

Definitions of Reflection

The term ‘reflective practice’ derives from the work of Dewey and Schon. Dewey (1910) wrote that reflective practice refers to ‘the active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it’.

Learn more about: Reflection

Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Possible Framework for Portfolio Components 
Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson | Adopted from the March 1987 AAHE Bulletin

Learn more about: Seven Principles for Good Practice

Hosting Your Portfolio

Consider using the VIUBlogs network to get started building your professional practice portfolio. Read more about the: VIUBlogs tool for building your portfolio

Resources from Other Institutions

  • Course Portfolios | website: University of Colorado
  • Course Portfolios | pdf handout: University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Faculty Course e-portfolios | Article: University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • Providing Evidence of Teaching | website: University of Calgary

Start Soon! – it is all about getting started – somewhere. Put a plan into place so you have time each month to work on components and demonstrate your learning. A bi-weekly or monthly time also serves as a focused point of reflection on your practice.

Learn more about: How to Get Started with ePortfolio

Steps to Creating an ePortfolio

A list of 7 steps to creating your ePortfolio. (modified from Elements of a Professional Academic ePortfolio, Bauer, 2010)

Learn more about: Steps to Creating an ePortfolio

Organizing your ePortfolio

Your ePortfolio will need to have headings or sections that help organize your artifacts and reflections.  There are endless combinations of headings and subheadings to help structure your ePortfolio.  This is where creativity and personalization come into play.

Learn more about: Organizing Your ePortfolio

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