Lee Shulman (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) remarks that for an activity to be designated as scholarship, it must manifest three key characteristics – it should be public, susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and accessible for exchange and use by other members of one’s scholarly community. The PRTP invites you to archive your course portfolio in this national repository so that the intellectual work of your teaching can be shared, used, and peer reviewed by other postsecondary faculty.

In this section:

How to Submit a Portfolio Directions on how to submit a course portfolio
Formatting Guidelines Guidelines for formatting a portfolio
What to Include in a Portfolio A guide of items typically included in a course portfolio
Other Material to Include Discussion of items to possibly include in a portfolio
Sample Portfolio Outline Layout of a typical course portfolio

How to Submit a Portfolio

The repository accepts and stores portfolios using two approaches: (1) as a single (Adobe .pdf file) archived on our website, or (2) as a link to your own website that is hosting your portfolio. Given the uncertainty of external links changing or becoming unavailable, we prefer that your work be archived on our website. To submit a portfolio or to ask questions, please e-mail: peerreview@unl.edu

Formatting Guidelines

Our preferred approach for developing a course portfolios is to link all the material together in a single, bookmarked, Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf) file that is archived on our website. If needed, our project is able to help you convert your materials into this format. If you will need this assistance, to ease the development efforts, please use the following general portfolio formatting guidelines when submitting materials:

  1. When sending a portfolio, include an outline of the structure of the portfolio (conceptual map of relationships among the parts of the portfolio; hierarchy of the portfolio/links) – see the below example
  2. If possible, all material should be in a MS-Word file. If that is not possible, the next best option is to have it as separate Adobe .pdf files
  3. Try and have all materials in one file in an order closely following the structure/hierarchy of the portfolio  
  4. If possible, clearly identify and label where hyperlinks should be in your file (e.g., links to student homework assignments, links to the syllabus) 
  5. All section headings within the file need to be clearly labeled (e.g., use bold font, use larger font, etc.) per the structure/hierarchy.  
  6.  As best as you can, format the section headings in the way you would like them to appear in the final portfolio (e.g., larger font, bold)

What to Include in a Portfolio

There is no set format or checklist for developing a course portfolio since each will be unique to the course, content material, and discipline. In general, a course portfolio primarily represents personal testimonies of teaching experience and practice. Consequently, individual authors control the main format and content of their course portfolio, although the inclusion of specific key elements in all course portfolios can improve their accessibility. The varied components that should be considered for incorporation include the following:

Portfolio Purpose: goal of the portfolio
  • Goal/objective of the portfolio
  • Personal reflections on the chosen course, describing major objectives and approaches to their attainment
  • Question(s) you would like readers to address when reviewing the portfolio  
Course Design: course details and background
  • Description of course and its context
  • Who are the students in the course
  • A summary of course goals and learning objectives
  • Place of the course within the broader department and university curricula
Teaching Methods: implementation of course details and background
  • Teaching methods, course materials, and course activities employed (e.g., lectures, labs, discussions)
  • Mechanisms used to evaluate students (exams, exercises, quizzes, essays, problems, homework, attendance, participation)
Outcomes: assessments of student learning:
  • Evidence of student learning; indicators of effectiveness
  • Progressive development and attainment of learning objectives
Reflection: reflection on the course
  • What you have learned in developing this portfolio
  • Future plans for the course (e.g., addressing misconceptions, problem areas)

Depending upon the objective of your portfolio, other useful sections might include:

  • Hyperlinks to a course web site(s)
  • Advice to others, recommendations of teaching practices
  • Course history and development (timeline, sequence or stages); Latest modifications (current websites, new approaches, etc.); Nature of modifications (teaching materials or methods, style or contents of tests) and rationale for revisions

Other Material to Include

In addition to your reflective interactions, most portfolios include a copy of the course syllabus and examples of student work. Because this portfolio is not an archive of the course, but rather a summary of your own reflections, you should use “reflection as the filter” to decide what to include and what not to. That is, the only extra materials (e.g., student examples, homework assignment descriptions, copies of examinations) that should be included with your portfolio are those upon which you offer detailed reflection. For example, suppose one of the items you are exploring with your portfolio is a semester term paper. In general, there is no need to include a student’s 30 page paper in your portfolio. Rather, we would encourage you to extract several key paragraphs or sections which highlight why you consider the paper to be a high pass, medium pass, or low pass example of student learning. Keep in mind that the objective of creating the course portfolio is to develop a document that someone else will actually want to read.

Sample Portfolio Outline

This following outline is typical of portfolios submitted for posting on the web site. Use it as a guide for categories and content you would like to include in your portfolio.

Table of Contents
  • In indented outline form
Introduction to the Portfolio
  • Cover page w/name, department, course, university, contact info
Objectives of Peer Review Course Portfolio
  • The author’s objectives for this portfolio
Description of the Course
  • Course Goals (link(s) to syllabus in the appendix)
  • Context
  • Enrollment/demographics
Teaching Methods/Course Materials/Course Activities
  • Teaching methods, course materials, and outside activities used
  • Rationale for teaching methods
  • Illustration of changes from previous years/sections
The course and the broader curriculum
  • Explanations of how this course fits with others in the department and the university
Analysis of Student Learning
  • Analysis of particular students and assignments (link(s) to student work in the appendix)
  • Analysis of grades and grade trends
Planned changes
  • Description of planned changes to the syllabus, delivery method, etc
  • May include specific questions for reviewers
Summary and Overall Assessment of Portfolio Process
  • Description of what the author learned through the portfolio process
  • Syllabus
  • Samples of student work (with references in the main body of text)