Students should not be put in the position of guessing what should be included in the portfolio or how it will be evaluated. When introducing the learning portfolio specify what content should be included and in what format, plus how the portfolio should be organized. If using an electronic portfolio provide clear instructions on how to create the portfolio and submit work. Also provide clear guidelines for any peer assessment or self-reflection requirements.
Beginning the portfolio
It is easier to start collecting portfolio content during the beginning of the term. Your students can save reflection and content selection for the end or can collect samples, select, and reflect along the way. This is your choice. However the latter allows students time to respond to identified weaknesses and possibly change some portfolio goals.
Providing ongoing feedback and guidance is an important part of the portfolio building process. There are three ways to implement this and more than one can be used in a single portfolio project:
- Instructor/student – Instructors conduct informal, individual meetings with students either during class or office hours.
- Instructor/small group - Instructors meet with a small group of students to discuss issues and ask questions. This works well for larger classes.
- Student/student – Students provide feedback to each other about their portfolios. This can occur face-to-face during class or in an online discussion environment. Peer-to-peer conferencing allows students to learn how to provide feedback and the opportunity to help each other improve their work and decide what materials to include.
Another way to develop a portfolio and further engage students is to require written reflection on the portfolio process and materials.
Students should not be forced to guess what should be included in the portfolio or how it will be evaluated. Therefore, make sure you specify portfolio content and specify the format and how it should be organized. If using an electronic portfolio provide clear instructions on how to create the portfolio and submit work. Also provide clear guidelines for any peer assessment or self-reflection requirements.