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The Course Portfolio Danielle Mihram, Director Center for Excellence in Teaching University of Southern California.

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Presentation on theme: "The Course Portfolio Danielle Mihram, Director Center for Excellence in Teaching University of Southern California."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Course Portfolio Danielle Mihram, Director Center for Excellence in Teaching University of Southern California

2 What is a Course Portfolio? No single standard formula, but defining features: l A focus on the course: From conception to results l A spotlight on student learning l A process of scholarly inquiry into approaches to teaching

3 Five Practical Functions of the Course Portfolio They serve as an aid to memory – What worked, what didnt? They help in investigating student learning – (Are they learning what I am teaching? Are they getting it? What happens to their understanding of the field itself? They are available to others for discussion, feedback, and formal review They are a way of bringing peer recognition of teaching excellence They make a contribution to ones field by influencing others in the field

4 What kind of documentation is included in a Course Portfolio? Course design (syllabus) Pieces of evidence (this constitutes a wide array which varies from field to field). A few examples: –Weekly diary –Samples of work that are key to course design (problem sets, artifacts, reflections relating to student art or writing groups, study guides, hardcopy of electronic exchanges with individual students) –Videotaped class sessions –Peer observations of class sessions –Reports from student group work –Student projects (paper or electronic)

5 Documentation (Continued) Evidence of student learning –Longitudinal or vertical sampling of student responses to assignments or projects Reflective essays –Evaluative summaries of classroom assessment data –Reflective essays on the progress of the course –In final portion of portfolio: implications and lessons learned

6 How much documentation is enough? Axiom: An ideal portfolio is both brief and complete Electronic course portfolios are perhaps the the best format currently –Randy Bass (Georgetown University) »http://georgetown.edu/bassr/portfolio/amlit –William W. Cutler III (Temple University) »http://wwwtheaha.org/teaching/aahe/aahecover.html –The Knowledge Media Laboratory »http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/klm/KLM.htm

7 How do I organize the information? A clear table of contents (annotated perhaps) An executive summary (or some kind of overview) Tabs or color-coding to divide sections

8 How long does it take? How will I find the time? Time required varies from field to field and from individual to individual l Ideally, documentation for the course portfolio develops in tandem with the delivery of the course (About an hour of reflective comments per week.). l When cumulated the time amounts to approximately hours or less.

9 How do I know when I am On the Right Track? If the course is team-taught collaborate with the other colleagues to assemble the course portfolio Find a colleague (or another TA) with similar motivation or ask CET to help you find someone on campus with similar knowledge-base, goals and incentives Faculty usually solicit outside responses (e.g., Bass, Cutler), then build on the process

10 Is it worth my while to spend time on a course portfolio? Ultimately it is a question of value: How long does it take to conduct research? Is such a question asked in the context of research? Course portfolios should be subject to peer review: is peer-reviewed research worth my time?


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