Documentation:CTLT Resources/Selected TL Topics Portfolios

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Teaching Portfolios

What is a teaching portfolio?

  • A factual description of a faculty member’s teaching strengths and accomplishments [1]
  • A document that contains carefully selected and assembled documents and representative artifacts of one’s achievements in teaching [2]
  • A means of presenting a compiled personal record for job search or career enhancement, such as job application, promotion, or tenure [3]
  • A reflection of one’s beliefs, preparation, thoughtfulness, and innovation
  • An occasion to assess one’s practices, to question one’s methods, and to plan for the future

Why create a teaching portfolio?

The teaching portfolio can serve many purposes, some of which include the following:

  • Job applicants for faculty positions, as well as faculty members and teaching assistants up for promotion or tenure, can use teaching portfolios to document their teaching effectiveness
  • Faculty members and teaching assistants can use teaching portfolios to reflect on teaching philosophies [4]
  • Faculty members and teaching assistants can use teaching portfolios as a formative tool to improve teaching strategies
  • Faculty members and teaching assistants can use teaching portfolios in conjunction with curricula vitae

Getting started

The best way to get started is to just do it! It is a daunting task, but it will get easier as you go. The first step is to just begin collecting everything! When you start to assemble your teaching portfolio, you should consult your department head to better understand the process, expectations, and deadlines. There are a ton of resources and guides available. We invite you to read and consider the information provided in the tabs above. Here at CTLT, we occasionally offer teaching portfolio workshops, as well as individualized one-on-one consultations to help you get started.

Contact

For more information, please contact Lucas Wright at lucas.wright@ubc.ca or Isabeau Iqbal at isabeau.iqbal@ubc.ca.

References

  1. Seldin, P., Miller, J. E., & Seldin, C. A. (2010). The teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Zayani, M. (2001). The Teaching Portfolio: Toward an Alternative Outcomes Assessment. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education, 18(1), 58–64.
  3. What is a Teaching Portfolio? The Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness. University of Saskatchewan.
  4. Teaching Statements. Center for Teaching. Vanderbilt University.

What Goes Into a Teaching Portfolio?

The items chosen for a teaching portfolio are based on a combination of availability of supporting materials, the nature of the portfolio, the discipline, and the importance assigned by Faculty and Department to different items [1]. The teaching portfolio is a highly personalized product. Below are broad categories that we recommend be included in your teaching portfolio, and more information can be found in each tab above. Although not exhaustive, it illustrates the range of items that might be selected.

Teaching Portfolio
A. Teaching Philosophy Statement

B. Teaching Activities

  • Teaching Responsibilities
  • Supervising and Advising Students
  • Activities Engaged in to Improve Teaching and Learning
  • Evidence of Student Learning
  • Committee Service

C. Demonstration of Teaching Effectiveness and Reflections

References

  1. Seldin, P., Miller, J. E., & Seldin, C. A. (2010). The teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Teaching Philosophy Statement

A teaching philosophy statement is a purposeful and reflective essay about the author’s teaching beliefs and practices [1]. It is an individual narrative that offers concrete examples of the ways in which he or she enacts these beliefs in the classroom. It is typically 1-2 pages in length, and includes any of the following [2]:

  • Your conception of how learning occurs
  • A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning
  • A reflection of why you teach the way you do
  • The goals you have for yourself and for your students
  • How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals
  • What, for you, constitutes evidence of student learning
  • The ways in which you create an inclusive learning environment
  • Your interests in new techniques, activities, and types of learning
  • The demonstration of your scholarly writing

To assist you in writing your teaching philosophy statement, you may find the questions below helpful[3]:

Discipline and Classroom Approach
  • Which teaching approach works best for you within the context of your discipline? Why?
  • What are your greatest assets as a classroom teacher? Your greatest shortcomings?
  • How do you change teaching methods and strategies to meet new classroom situations?
Instructor-Student Rapport
  • How would you describe the atmosphere in your classroom? How do you think your students would describe it?
  • What is your primary goal with respect to your students?
  • Who are your students and what are their goals?
Teaching Goals and Strategies
  • How does your teaching help students to master concepts and promote their understanding of theory and practice?
  • How do your courses contribute to students' achievements in their university program and in their community?
  • How do you nurture intellects in a setting where grades can be the key student motivator to learning?
  • How do you help students to learn aims and outcomes? What are your teaching methods?
  • What steps do you take to encourage higher level learning (such as synthesis, analysis, application, problem-solving, etc.)?
  • What is active learning and how do you use it in the classroom and in assignments?
  • How do you test the learning outcomes? How do you evaluate learning?
Questions about Teaching
  • How would you like to grow as a teacher? What steps are you taking towards this?
  • In which ways has your teaching changed in the last five years? Are these changes for the better (for you, for your students)? Explain.
  • What would you like your students to remember about you as a teacher ten years from now?

Additional Resources

Here are some more resources to help you get started in writing and evaluating your teaching philosophy statement.

  • Articulating your Philosophy of Teaching Statement. Center for Effective Teaching and Learning. University of Texas at El Paso.
    • Various exercises to guide someone in thinking about, articulating, and writing a teaching philosophy statement.
  • Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement. Faculty and TA Development. The Ohio State University.
    • This site provides an in-depth guide to teaching philosophy statements, including the definition of and purposes for a teaching philosophy statement, general formatting suggestions, a self-reflective guide, and additional links.
  • Montell, Gabriela (2003). How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy, from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Here are some teaching philosophy statement examples:

  • Diane Peters, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University
  • Greg Martin, Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia
  • Katherine Fiori, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Adelphi University
  • Kent Rondeau, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta
  • Sharon Tokar, Former Graduate Student, Department of Archaeology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Tim Jensen, Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of English, The Ohio State University

References

  1. Teaching Statements. Center for Teaching. Vanderbilt University.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Portfolios. Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology - Okanagan Campus. University of British Columbia.

Teaching Activities

Now that your philosophical scaffolding is firmly in place, you can build a case and provide evidence about your commitment to teaching. The information below are simply guidelines. You may encounter overlap and should decide what works best for you and consult your Department for templates and requirements.

Teaching Responsibilities
For the portfolio, you may wish to provide a brief summary of course types and any revisions, together with the rationale for change, the types of teaching that you do based on such issues as class sizes, times, course goals.
  • Titles and numbers of courses taught, including graduate, undergraduate, and reading courses. Highlight those courses that you have developed or substantially revised.
  • Actual teaching methods used in the classroom (e.g., collaborative inquiry, problem-based learning, case studies, lecture, small group discussion, problem solving, project-based, student presentations or other critical thinking pedagogies)
  • Number of students in each course. Describe your workload including, where appropriate, the number of teaching assistants assigned to assist you in the course and the nature of their involvement.
  • Details of other teaching activities such as seminars, advising students, supervision of a teaching or research practicum
  • Exemplify teaching practices, such as the design of an unusual course or assignment, ways that course aims were adapted to meet needs of students, how a faculty member makes them accessible to students
Supervising and Advising Students
Here you will set the context for your supervisory duties, including graduate and undergraduate responsibilities, average supervision load for your department, and the normal nature and extent of your duties.
  • Documentation of supervision activity includes names of those supervised and the nature and extent of the supervisory activity. It is also useful to indicate the outcome of the supervision (e.g. the thesis title and acceptance date, the citation information of a student publication, or the date and venue of a public performance).
  • Supervision of graduate and undergraduate independent study or directed readings
  • Advisement on program of study, courses, or career and professional advice undertaking of formal or informal student mentoring
  • Supervision which has contributed to publications, exhibitions, performances and conference presentations by students
Activities Engaged to Improve Teaching and Learning
This is your opportunity to focus upon your participation in professional development and efforts to improve the classroom climate, to trouble-shoot in problematic courses, and solicit feedback from students about these issues. Now is also the time to summarize your attendance in any teaching-related seminars, workshops or conferences, and to explain how you used new information in the classroom.
  • Exemplify teaching practices, such as the design of an innovative course or assignment, ways that course aims were adapted to meet needs of students, ways that faculty member is accessible to students
  • Steps taken to assess and respond to to unique course challenges (i.e., diversity of students, accessibility, blended learning etc)
  • Description of efforts made to improve the classroom climate or your teaching methods. You may wish to consider items such as steps taken to ensure free and open participation and the comfort of all learners regardless of gender, ethnic origin, class, age, sexual orientation or ability.
  • Seminars, workshops, and conferences on teaching and learning attended
Evidence of Student Learning
When appropriate, discuss any objective indicators of student progress (such as students' standing on a nation-wide examination), or of teaching which has contributed to honours, awards or employment for students. In doing so, you may wish to describe the various types of learning which took place, such as knowledge, concepts, abilities, performance, skills, or new perspectives.
  • Objective indicators of student progress, where available (proficiency tests, students' standings on nation-wide tests, etc.)
  • Student course and teaching evaluation data, which suggest improvements or produce an overall rating of effectiveness or satisfaction
  • Students’ papers, essays, creative works, or lab books
  • Instructor’s written feedback on student work
  • Feedback from supervisors or employers of graduates
Committee Service
Many activities do not take place in classrooms but do provide important support for teaching. Some of these departmental, Faculty and University-wide activities which contribute to strengthening teaching are described below.
  • All activities concerned with teaching that you have undertaken as a member of a faculty, department, or cross-disciplinary committee, subcommittee, ad hoc committee, or task force. If relevant, consider membership in the Senate, Board of Governors, library committees, teaching and scholarship committees, Advisory Boards, Presidential or Vice-presidential committees on teaching, learning technologies, teaching awards committees (faculty awards, university awards, special awards e.g. TA teaching) and other committees working on academic policy, curriculum, review, planning and implementation as they pertain to teaching activity.
  • Teaching assistant professional training, orientation, or development
  • Attendance at professional training, orientation, or development sessions for faculty, such as orientation sessions for new faculty
  • Involvement in departmental or faculty-based mentoring or teaching support programs.
  • Involvement in establishing, adjudicating, or administering awards or honours recognizing and celebrating student achievement
  • Observing others teaching as part of formal or informal evaluation and feedback regarding teaching effectiveness
  • Serving on accreditation committees, curriculum planning/review committees, task forces, program revision committees
  • Organization of retreats and strategic planning sessions (as they relate to teaching)
  • Development of department teaching resources such as computer instruction projects, a teaching materials resource centre, a reference map collection, a visiting scholar program
  • Use of your teaching materials by instructors in other departments, faculties, colleges or universities
Contributions to the Teaching Profession or Your Institution
Other activities taking place outside the classroom context include publications (such as curriculum materials or workbooks and conference papers that relate to teaching or student learning). You will also wish to discuss and provide supportive documentation about any involvement you have had developing and teaching seminars or workshops.
  • Workshops and seminars about teaching that you designed and instructed
  • Curriculum materials - details of published and unpublished curriculum materials, textbooks, workbooks, case studies, class notes, lab manuals, and other classroom materials which you have developed
  • Research and professional contributions related to teaching - books (including chapters in books, edited books, and special issues of journals); articles (indicate whether refereed, solicited, or non-refereed); papers in conference proceedings (indicate whether refereed or non-refereed); bibliographies; newsletters; unpublished conference papers
  • Funding related to teaching - internal and external teaching development grants, fellowships
  • Teaching awards from department, college, university, or profession

Demonstration of Teaching Effectiveness and Reflections

Assessing and reflecting on your teaching contributes to your effectiveness as a teacher. A significant component of this section is your own reflection about your effectiveness based on the use of data gathered from the various sources listed below. Even more importantly, you should demonstrate how you used the feedback in your development as a teacher. You may wish to include the ways that you monitor and evaluate your own teaching and reflect on what the evidence gathered tells you about your teaching.

Ways to assess and reflect upon teaching [1]:

  • Summarized student evaluations of teaching, including response rate and relationship to departmental average
  • Unsolicited and solicited letters from students (initiated by the unit)
  • Student-initiated feedback and written comments from students on class evaluations
  • Statements from alumni
  • Letters from course head, division head or chairperson
  • Departmental teaching evaluations (initiated by the unit)
  • Peer evaluations or reviews based on visits to your classroom and/or scrutiny of your course materials. Note: before peer observations are undertaken, your department should be clear about the teaching aims and student learning outcomes that apply to your undergraduate or graduate program.
  • Teaching awards received by you including departmental, faculty, and UBC Okanagan awards, and external awards (professional association, national and international teaching awards). Nominations for awards also indicate your reputation as a teacher.

You may wish to make some concluding remarks that tie together the philosophy, approaches, evidence and evaluative sections. At this point it is also important to detail a plan for future actions, including your motivation and challenges, as well as short and long-term teaching goals.

Additional Resources

Here are some samples of teaching portfolios:

  • Fang Liang, Teaching Assistant, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Jenélle Dowling, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University
  • Kevin Dunn, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University
  • Kyle James Matthews, Graduate Student, Department of Languages & Literatures, Brown University
  • Martin Andresen, Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University
  • Robert Williamson, Graduate Student, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

References

  1. Documenting Teaching Effectiveness. University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Ohio State University.

Teaching Portfolios at UBC

The teaching portfolio allows you to build a coherent and thorough case for your effectiveness as a teacher. Please note that the teaching portfolio can be used in different ways depending on Faculty and Department.

At UBC, a well-constructed teaching portfolio and effective curriculum vitae are used for merit considerations and ultimately may be used in the tenure and promotion process. Candidates in both the professoriate stream and educational leadership stream must provide evidence of scholarly activity and effective teaching. Candidates must also supply a file to the Head that demonstrates and profiles their record of educational leadership, teaching, evidence of distinction in these areas, and service contributions. The file must include an up to date curriculum vitae in UBC format, and a teaching and educational leadership portfolio that provides evidence of outstanding and innovative achievement. It should also include a scholarly statement regarding teaching contributions and evidence of impact.

Additional Resources

Paper vs. Electronic

When it comes to developing your teaching portfolio, you will need to decide on a format: it can be in paper or electronic form – some people do both.

The following are some things to consider:

Electronic Paper
Audience Who is your target reader? Which format is most accessible to your target audience (i.e. most likely to be read)? Which format does your reader expect/want?
Ability to Customize Most software allows you to make a duplicate copy of your portfolio, resave with a different name, and edit as necessary, as well as modifying the ‘look and feel’ (colours, fonts and so on). All relevant documents will need to be resaved with changes and then printed off.
Multimedia Can store pictures, video clips, sound clips, text, images. Can include text and images, as well as physical copies of CDs, DVDs and so on.
Portability May be downloaded or copied to a CD-ROM. Can be viewed from any computer with internet access. As it is a physical document, it is often bulky, consisting of one or more large binders.
Security Variable, depending on the portfolio software: you can invite people to view your portfolio, send a link to your portfolio, make your portfolio public, or keep it private. Portfolio can be viewed by those whom you give it to in hardcopy format.
Ability to demonstrate learning/knowledge construction over time Yes Yes
Feedback Depending on the software used to create the portfolio, others may be able to provide you with feedback and you can choose not to make feedback visible to those who read your portfolio. Feedback cannot be easily incorporated into the portfolio unless you add it as a separate document.
Potential to encourage interaction (collaboration, communication) Easy to share as a hyperlink. You can choose to release smaller parts of it to certain people and allow others to view most or all of the material on your portfolio site; you may even pre-set a time span during which a given part of your portfolio can be viewed. Can be shared by lending the physical copy or printing/photocopying more copies.
Flexibility Yes. Flexibility influenced by choice of software to create portfolio and by ability to use software. Flexible within the constraints of using paper and hardcopy artifacts.
Organizing and cataloguing learning materials Material can be easily organized, catalogued and modified; e-Portfolio software often includes tools for organizing/reorganizing materials. Materials can be organized, catalogued and modified within their source files (Word, PDF) or by reorganizing the paper copy.