Documentation:CTLT Resources/Selected TL Topics Portfolios

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Teaching Portfolios

“The teaching portfolio is a collection of materials that document teaching performance.”[1].

This section of the website provides an overview of teaching portfolios, with links to fabulous existing resources. We have drawn upon our favourite sites and references to create this section of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology site and hope that you will find these as useful as we have in developing your understanding of teaching portfolios and in creating your own portfolio.

Why Create a Portfolio?

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

  • Reflecting on your goals as a teacher
  • Assessing your teaching strengths and areas which need improvement
  • Documenting your progress as a teacher
  • Generating ideas for future teaching/course development
  • Identifying your personal teaching style
  • Using elements of the portfolio to promote dialogue with fellow teachers
  • Considering new ways of gathering student feedback
  • Gathering detailed data to support your goals
  • Collecting multiple sources of evidence that document the implementation of your teaching goals and their success

One would use a portfolio during the academic job search, promotion and tenure process, and for personal and professional development.[2]

Getting Started

The teaching portfolio is your chance to make a case for your effectiveness as a university teacher. Think about your portfolio in much the same way that you approach a research question, and build a case to support your “effective teacher” thesis. First, you should think broadly about what the act of teaching means to you. Later, you can reflect upon and describe the sorts of evidence chosen to support your case.

It is useful to have a set of widely-used effective teaching criteria against which to measure yourself. The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education provides a set of such criteria.

For UBC-specific documentation about the University’s commitment to teaching, see UBC's Strategic Plan.

Here at CTLT, we offer regular Teaching Portfolio seminars as well as individualized one-on-one consultations to help you get started. We also have a Portfolio Community of Practice which is open to anyone at UBC and beyond.

Related Links

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. (2004) The Teaching Portfolio. Bolton, MA: Anker
  2. The Ohio State University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Teaching Portfolios at UBC

The teaching portfolio allows you to build a coherent and thorough case for your effectiveness as a teacher. Though the portfolio does not travel past the departmental tenure and promotion committee, the UBC CV does. Your UBC CV can be effectively augmented with carefully selected evidence from your teaching portfolio. Consequently, a well-constructed portfolio helps build an effective CV that travels through the entire UBC tenure and promotion system.

Candidates up for tenure and promotion are required to record information about teaching in the Teaching section of the UBC CV. Candidates need to indicate the courses taught and they are encouraged to provide a concise statement of teaching philosophy or approach to teaching.

UBC Specific Teaching Portfolio Samples

The following are Teaching Portfolios created by faculty, staff and students who belong to the UBC community. As you look through these, note that each is made unique not only by its “look”, but also by the content, organization and overall presentation. If you would be willing to have your portfolio added to this list, please email Lucas Wright at lucas.wright@ubc.ca.

Below are sample teaching e-Portfolios:

  • Shona Ellis – Professor of Teaching, UBC Botany Department
  • Joanne Fox – Instructor, Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UBC
  • Catherine Rawn – Senior Instructor, Psychology, UBC

What Goes Into A Teaching Portfolio

Teaching philosophy statement

Philosophy of teaching statements are concise statements of what you believe about teaching and learning. Your teaching philosophy statement is reflective, personal, and normally written as a narrative. This statement is generally between one and two pages in length.

  • Questions for reflection
    • What are your goals with respect to student learning?
    • How would you describe the atmosphere in your classroom? How do you think your students would describe it?
    • How do you help students to learn?
    • What steps do you take to encourage higher level learning (such as synthesis, analysis, application, problem-solving, etc.)?
    • What skills and values do you bring to the instructional aspect of your job?
    • What is active learning and how do you use it in the classroom and in assignments?
    • In which ways has your teaching changed in the last five years? Are they changes for the better (for you, for your students)? Explain.
    • What qualities would you like to be remembered by as a teacher?

Teaching Activities

  • Teaching responsibilities:
    • Titles and numbers of courses taught, including graduate, undergraduate, and reading courses. You may wish to briefly 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)
    • Sample: Don G. Wardell (click Courses then Teaching Responsibilities and Evaluations)
  • Supervising and Advising Students
    • 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).
  • Publications and professional contributions (that contribute to teaching and learning)
    • Workshops and seminars about teaching that you designed and instructed
    • Research and professional contributions related to teaching – books, papers, articles, papers in conference proceedings, bibliographies, newsletters, unpublished conference papers
    • Sample: Mable Kinzie
  • Activities engaged upon to improve teaching and learning
    • Summarize your attendance in any teaching-related seminars, workshops or conferences, and explain how you used new information in the classroom.
  • Committee Service
    • Many activities do not take place in classrooms but provide important support for teaching. Here is the place to list your involvement in the departmental, faculty and University-wide activities which contribute to strengthening teaching.
    • Sample: Glen Bull

Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness

  • Objective indicators of student progress, where available (proficiency tests, students’ standings on nation-wide tests, etc.)
  • Feedback from supervisors or employers of graduates

Ways to Assess and Reflect Upon Teaching

  • Departmental teaching evaluations (initiated by the unit)
  • Peer evaluations or reviews based on visits to your classroom and/or scrutiny of your course materials
  • Teaching awards



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.