A teaching portfolio is a representation of your identity as a teacher. An effective portfolio conveys a coherent message about your beliefs and approaches to teaching and offers specific evidence to support that message.
Why create a teaching portfolio?
- To offer a record of your teaching effectiveness when applying for a faculty position, tenure, or promotion
- To reflect on your teaching and refine your methods
- To track your development as a teaching professional over time
- To create a public representation of you as a teacher that you can share with students and colleagues
Consider your audience.
Your audience might be a departmental administrator, a potential
employer, or your colleagues and students. As you plan out and revise
your portfolio, ask yourself how successfully your portfolio meets the
expectations and values of your audience.
Consider your purpose.
A portfolio that you create when applying for tenure or promotion may
look very different from a portfolio that you use to reflect on your
teaching and explore new methodologies.
Choose the right modality for you and your context.
Your portfolio may be a print document, a PDF file, or an interactive
online portfolio. DePaul faculty, staff, and students can build their
portfolios on the Digication ePortfolio platform
Depending on your purpose and audience, your options may be limited. If
you are free to choose your portfolio format, consider how multimedia
components might enhance your portfolio (or not), how accessible you
want your portfolio to be, and how you expect your audience to interact
with the portfolio. Will your audience scroll through a single document
or click through pages and links?
Curate your portfolio artifacts.
Explain why you chose the artifacts you did and highlight connections between artifacts, especially between your teaching philosophy
and teaching materials. For example, if you include the prompt of an
assignment you designed, add a short note articulating how the
assignment reflects your general approach to teaching and learning.
Additionally, be sure to point to trends and patterns in your teaching.
Your audience may feel overwhelmed when faced with a long compilation of
student evaluation summaries, so it is helpful to highlight two or
three significant statistics or narrative comments that you'
d like your
audience to remember. Consider summarizing student evaluation through
graphs, charts, or tables.
Teaching portfolios should include a teaching philosophy and a set of artifacts that provide evidence for your claims. Be sure to select a range of materials that provide a holistic picture of your teaching. For example, including only syllabi will not provide your audience with an idea of how you typically structure class time. Handouts, presentation slides, and descriptions of in-class activities better flesh out the day-to-day aspects of your teaching.
Common portfolio artifacts include:
- A list of courses taught
- Assignment prompts
- Descriptions of in-class activities
- Summarized student evaluations
- Sample student work, shared with permission
- List of faculty development activities
- Conference presentations on teaching
For a comprehensive list of artifacts, see Vanderbilt University’s page on teaching portfolio components.
In addition to selecting varied artifacts, consider how many items you would like to include. Archiving dozens of artifacts in your portfolio may be helpful for reflecting on how your teaching has changed over time, but too many may feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate for others, especially if contained in a single PDF file. Including a smaller selection of materials will keep your portfolio focused.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR DIGITAL PORTFOLIOS
When creating digital portfolios, it is important to follow best practices for web design:
- Create a banner image that represents something unique about you, your teaching, or the content of your portfolio.
- Avoid using colors that might be too difficult to read (e.g. very light colors or abrasively bright ones).
- Incorporate at least a few multimodal elements, such as images, videos, and audio clips, throughout your portfolio.
- Ensure the website layout is consistent and easy to follow across different pages.
- If you include sample student work and your portfolio is publicly available online, obtain written permission from each student before sharing their work.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRINT PORTFOLIOS
The following are best practices for preparing your portfolio as a print document, PDF file, or physical binder:
- Include a detailed table of contents with a complete list of portfolio artifacts.
- Number your pages and verify the page numbers on the table of contents is accurate so that readers can easily find specific documents.
- Remember to curate your portfolio artifacts. For example, explain how sample student work relates to the claims you make about your teaching in your philosophy statement. Or use graphs, charts, or tables to summarize student evaluation data.
Examples of Teaching Portfolios
Cheryl Ball, of West Virginia University, uses her digital teaching portfolio to track her development as a teaching professional over time. Made up of “snapshots” of each course she has taught, her portfolio provides a record of her “teaching challenges and innovations.”
An instructor in DePaul's Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse department, Tricia Hermes demonstrates her record of teaching effectiveness in her portfolio by providing a selection of student evaluation comments and concrete examples of how she responds to student writing.
For more examples of portfolios created by DePaul faculty and instructional staff, visit the Teaching and Learning Certificate Program website. As a part of the certificate program, participants create teaching portfolios and have the option of sharing them with the DePaul community.
Go to TLCP website
- Peter Seldin’s book The Teaching Portfolio is a practical guide to preparing effective teaching portfolios. The book contains checklists, suggestions for digital portfolios, and sample portfolios from across disciplines. The third edition of the book is available for loan through the TLA library.
- The UCWbL’s Get Help page offers how-to guides on Digication, DePaul’s official ePortfolio platform that is available to all students, faculty, and staff. These guides cover basics such as adding modules and embedding media, and more advanced features, such as creating a banner and changing the visual design of the portfolio.