A teaching portfolio is a collection of evidence for a particular purpose, such as performance review, probation, promotion or continuous career improvement. In the portfolio, you detail and reflect upon your own teaching practice and your collaborative practice, as appropriate.
A teaching portfolio may include, for example:
Whatever structure you use, your portfolio will be more valuable if you can provide a reflective commentary of the significance of the selected components and their contributions to your current teaching. For example: what did I learn? How could I change assessment, activities, and integration of technology to improve the my students’ learning experience? What academic and professional development should I engage in to ensure I meet probation, promotion and performance reviews?
It could be a useful strategy to keep in mind frameworks such as the ACU Teaching Criteria and Standards Framework, the ACU Capability Development Framework, or the UK Higher Education Academy’s fellowships.
Teaching portfolios can provide a record of your own professional development as it evolves over time. Portfolios are not static documents but are an evolving record of evidence profiled over time for a particular purpose. Teaching performance and achievements are also important criteria in many universities’ promotion policies, teaching and research supervision awards, and selection and appointment procedures, such as probation. Teaching portfolios are a way of demonstrating one’s teaching ability in order to provide a record of skills and evidence of performance.
Teaching portfolios can be viewed as:
Seven steps are involved in preparing a teaching portfolio:
According to your purpose and audience you may decide to present your teaching portfolio as hard copy documents or in electronic form (a digital portfolio).
(Adapted from Designing a teaching portfolio, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, Penn State University.)
Before assembling your teaching portfolio, begin planning by thinking about purpose and audience. For example, your purpose may be to develop a portfolio for either promotion or continuation in employment. Each purpose brings an audience with a unique set of expectations and needs. Reflecting on purpose and audience can help give shape to your portfolio.
In many ways, a teaching portfolio is an argument: it is developed around the claims you wish to make about yourself as an academic. One way to highlight these claims in your portfolio is to present them in your teaching philosophy, where you will generally address questions such as:
Ultimately, however, your claims about teaching will be most convincing to readers when they are supported by documentation from a variety of sources – students and colleagues, and yourself. Many of the materials and data that can be used to document teaching are regularly gathered by you and your School (e.g. student evaluations of learning and teaching), which makes constructing this section of the portfolio less daunting than it might at first seem. Useful evidence can take many forms, and needs to be carefully selected and presented for the portfolio's purpose and audience, so that it is easy to read and understand.
As you gather the data to support your claims, consider the following questions:
Now you can decide how and in what order to present the data you have gathered from students and colleagues, and yourself. Again, consider the perspective of your audience and what type of evidence they will find convincing. Have you selected, organized and presented the data in a way that brings the most compelling evidence into focus for your readers? Does each piece of evidence serve a purpose, supporting a claim you have made about your teaching?
Finally, when you have drafted your portfolio, think back to your analysis of the audience and purpose and consider whether your document will achieve what you set out to do. Does your portfolio give the reader a sense of who you are as an academic? What is the most striking claim you make about your teaching in the portfolio? Will the evidence presented for this claim be convincing for this audience? Are all of the claims and evidence offered for teaching effectiveness relevant?
An ePortfolio is an electronic version of a teaching portfolio. It is an online structure or repository for artefacts of evidence which you will be able to reflect upon for a particular purpose.
It's simple to start building an ePortfolio using ACU's supported platform, LEOportfolio (Mahara):
This ePortfolio may be shared with others. Because it resides on a web server you can make it accessible to people by granting viewing permissions. You should set different permissions for particular parts of your ePortfolio.
Your ACU ePortfolio will be available to you up to 6 months from cessation of employment or, for students, for six months after graduation.
Please contact the Learning and Teaching Centre for professional development, resources and advice for your learning and teaching needs at ACU.