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Guidelines for Preparing a Teaching and Learning Folio

Page history last edited by Henry T. Hill 4 years, 7 months ago

Guidelines for Preparing a Teaching and Learning Folio



The portfolio concept enables you to take responsibility for what items to include or exclude. The recording of competence and effectiveness is at your initiative. The organisation and content of a portfolio depends on the purpose for which it is compiled. Uses of a portfolio include:

  • self-evaluation, reflection and improvement.

  • planning for Staff Development Review discussions.

  • applications for grants, appointments, tenure, promotion, or consultancies.

A portfolio for improvement may consist of a personal journal with a large collection of related materials, whereas a portfolio for promotion or tenure application should be a succinct document which contains information from a variety of sources. The following guidelines are for creating portfolios for career advancement e.g. promotion and tenure.

It would be wise to arrange the format of a portfolio in a way that highlights teaching accomplishments and strengths, in order to create your desired impression. Particular emphasis ought to be given throughout to your achievements and to your distinctive and exceptional activities. Since the portfolio is a highly personalised product, no two will be exactly alike. The content and organisation will differ widely from teacher to teacher. An executive summary or contents page could aid clarity for the reader.

It is advisable to obtain information that will reflect a range of teaching and learning activities. The information should be valid and reliable. In this context, validity refers to the extent to which any given type of information is appropriate for the purposes of making a judgement about teaching. For example, graduates’ opinions of your performance six years ago may not be valid measures of your current teaching practice. However, recent samples of quality manuals or study guides written by you reflect a valid qualitative measure of your current teaching practice. Reliability refers to the extent to which information presented is dependable, stable and consistent. For example, reliable information about your teaching should include material collected over a reasonable period of time using measurement techniques that will consistently produce similar results.

Portfolios often begin with background information that establishes the context for the more specific evidence to be presented later. You may wish to include here statements covering your personal teaching philosophy and a summary of your main strengths as a teacher. Teaching philosophy describes your beliefs, values and goals related to teaching and learning. Beliefs, attitudes and approaches to teaching and learning can influence teaching practices.

Following the introductory details, selected information on chosen teaching activities and solid evidence of their effectiveness can be presented. These should be aspects which are most applicable to both your teaching responsibilities and the criteria against which your portfolio is to be judged. Prepare brief, factual statements of explanation which convey both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of your work. You could arrange the statements in order of relevance and significance. Wherever possible, the teaching activities should be substantiated, or able to be substantiated, by supporting evidence. If necessary, attach examples of exemplary materials in an appendix to the portfolio (appendices are not included in the page count). Since the Promotions and Tenure Committee has a policy of using external assessors from within Australia and overseas, do not enclose evidence without sufficient and succinct explanation.


The Teaching and Learning Folio (Folio 1 in the 'Academic Portfolio) should not exceed five pages but may be accompanied by several appendices. The Teaching and Learning Folio should provide sufficient evidence for the following:

  • Demonstrated excellence in teaching and learning
  • Demonstrated leadership in teaching and learning
  • Commitment to high quality education

Tables 1-3 list some types of information that can be used in the compilation of a portfolio. The sources of information can be from self, students, peers, school or the University.

Table 1. Evidence of excellence in teaching and learning

Item Description
1. Teaching aims, objectives and practices Summary of your aims, objectives and practices in teaching and student learning. How you monitor or evaluate student learning. How you identify student difficulties and encourage participation in courses or programmes. How you adapt your teaching to reach students from diverse backgrounds. You may wish to refer to the 'Teaching With Diversity Checklist' at http://www.csd.uwa.edu.au/tl/99TDChecklist.htm. Description of student assessment methods and rationales, and feedback to students. How your research helped in your teaching. Methods in supervising postgraduate students.
2. Representative course syllabi Details of course content, objectives, teaching methods, reading lists, homework assignments, student assessment procedures, reflective statements as to the course construction.
3. Subjects taught and supervised List of course titles and codes, year, points value, enrolments, hours, level of responsibility, and a brief description of the way each course was taught. Number of honours and postgraduate students supervised. Research group activities directed. Schedule of times you are available to students outside class.
4. Course and instructional materials List and provide examples of quality course materials, manuals, outlines, new projects, assignments, study guides, reading lists and annotated bibliographies. Publication of a textbook or other instructional material.
5. Concurrent related duties Concurrent teaching related duties and responsibilities e.g. course coordination.
6. School expectations and resources Summary statement of your school's policies, expectations and resources in relation to teaching. A statement by the head of school assessing your contribution to the school and how the school plans to use your skills in the future.
7. Teaching awards Awards for teaching excellence presented by student bodies. These reflect merit, provided that they are officially recognised or have been appropriately refereed. Peer recognition and other awards for excellence in teaching or supervision.

Table 2. Evidence of leadership in teaching and learning

Item Description
8. Teaching innovations, use of technology and flexible teaching and learning Examples of innovations designed or adopted and their effectiveness. Description of how audiovisual, computer and other information technology based materials were used in teaching. Description of flexible learning opportunities made available to students. This might include work carried out as part of a teaching development grant.
9. Course, curriculum or departmental development Revising, setting up or running a course, programme or internship. Contribution to the improvement of teaching in your department.
10. Research into teaching Pursuing research that contributes directly to teaching.
11. Teaching publications Contributing to a professional journal on teaching in general, or in a specific discipline.
12. Teaching associations Participating in seminars, workshops and professional meetings intended to improve teaching and learning (e.g. Teaching and Learning forums, HERDSA1 activities).
13. Teaching consultancies Teaching consultancies in outside institutions and agencies or requests for demonstrations of effective teaching methods.
14. Securing Grants Success at securing grants for teaching related activities e.g. grants offered by UWA Teaching and Learning Committee, and AUTC2 project grants.
15. Assistance to colleagues Evidence of help given to colleagues on course development or teaching improvement (e.g. contributing to departmental seminars or workshops, acting as a mentor, letters of acknowledgment or thanks). Professional exchanges with colleagues inside or outside the institution. This might focus on course materials or methods of teaching particular topics.
16. Request for advice Requests for or acknowledgment of advice given to committees on teaching or similar bodies.
17. Invitations to teach, present or publish. Invitations from outside institutions and agencies to teach or to demonstrate effective teaching methods. Invitations to present at conferences on topics about teaching. Invitations to contribute to the literature on teaching.
Information about any of the following activities substantiates your professionalism as a teacher, including scholarship and leadership in teaching and learning. Merit may need to be demonstrated e.g. by special recognition, reviews, awards, comparisons with others or demonstrated leadership. Merit is also reflected by materials or methods which have been published, or which subsequently have been used elsewhere.

1 Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia

2 Australian Universities Teaching Committee

Table 3. Evidence of commitment to high quality education

Item Description
18. Student outcomes What your students have learned and achieved. Improvement of student grades or class grades on teacher-made or standardised tests. Exemplary student work: essays, creative work, reports, lab workbooks, publications, presentations on course-related work, advanced study, and your influence on students' career choices.

Student scores need to have comparable data (e.g. previous course pass rates, norms, course pre-test/post-test). Exemplary student work presented must be as a direct result of your teaching methods and encouragement, and indicate development of technical or specialised skills. State percentage studying further in the field or your courses.
19. Steps taken to evaluate and improve your teaching Changes might be as a result of: others' evaluation or self-evaluation, discussing teaching development, reviewing new teaching materials or exchanging course materials with colleagues.
20. Formal student feedback Formal student feedback (e.g. SPOT3 and SURF4) refers to properly designed, administered and interpreted student surveys. These provide reliable and valid information for establishing merit. Rules for the administration of student evaluations and processing of the data must have been observed and should be stated. Provide a short summary of the results. Explain the omission of any results of student surveys and, if all units are not surveyed, the basis of the selection of units for student survey. Comparison of class size and survey sample is useful. Also provide summaries from structured individual or group interviews and from student committees. Include here any formal feedback from alumni or from postgraduate students.
21. Informal student feedback Both solicited and unsolicited comments, including letters received and articles in student newspapers. Informal student feedback may be unrepresentative of the opinions of all students taught, and can only be used for illustrative purposes.
22. Formal peer feedback Feedback from colleagues (team-teachers, subsequent course teachers, peers, Head of School, expert teachers, etc.) regarding aspects of your teaching that are generally not evaluated by students (e.g. course development, content and administration, teaching materials, student assessment, text selection, reading lists, student support practices) and out-of-class activities such as instructional and curricular development and teaching research. The reliability of formal peer feedback is enhanced by providing two or more evaluations over an extended period, by different colleagues. Information can be collected using the Peer Feedback on Teaching instrument
23.Classroom observations Reports from colleagues or independent observers who have viewed you in the classroom. Can be included as illustrative evidence that you are actively interested in developing and improving your teaching.
24. International focus Developing an international focus in teaching and preparing students for careers in a ‘global market’. Creating national and international linkages in teaching and learning practices.
25. Benchmarking and accreditation Comparing unit/course curriculum and assessment standards with other leading universities. This can be achieved through the review of practices by expert peers. Developing courses that have external or professional accreditation.
26. Use of support services Using general support services, such as CATL5, in improving one's teaching.
27. Teaching development Participation in seminars, workshops etc. to improve your teaching and that of your discipline and institution.
28. Teaching goals for the future A personal statement describing teaching aims, objectives and goals for the next five years

3 Student Perceptions of Teaching instrument developed in UWA

4 Students' Unit Reflective Feedback

5 Centre for Advancement of Teaching and Learning in UWA


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