A Course Portfolio focuses on a single course. It is a compendium of your syllabus, all course materials, and your notes about each class, such as what worked, what did not work. The course portfolio provides a space for you to reflect on the course and student learning so that you do not lose ideas for improving the course. As well, the course portfolio becomes documentation for your teaching dossier and to share with colleagues teaching similar or the same course.

The typical course portfolio includes the following:

  • Explanation of the course context (level, students and their motivation, prerequisites) and your approach to designing the course
  • Syllabus with course-level intended learning outcomes.
  • Lesson plans with lesson-level intended learning outcomes
  • Assignment details with rubrics
  • Sample student assignments showing the range from A to F (anonymized)
  • Instructional strategies, including PowerPoint slides, handouts, lab experiments, manuals, activity sheets, quizzes, etc.
  • Course surveys and feedback, including a summary of the emails that you received from students
  • Reflective journal with your notes about what worked well and what could be enhanced for each lesson and post-assignment.
    • Reflect on the following: if students met the intended learning outcomes and if not, how that could be rectified; what were the common mistakes on assignments and how could student learning be better supported; what did you notice about the instructional activities used and how could they be improved; and do any assignments or instructional activities need to be replaced.

When reflecting during and after the course, Gibbs (1988) provides an easy three-step process:

  1. What? Describe what happened.
  2. So what? Evaluate what went well and not so well during the experience.
  3. Now what? Determine what else you could do and where you can seek support to address the situation.

When you teach the course again, the course portfolio will provide you with the information you need to improve the course and subsequently, student learning.


Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit.

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This post was last updated:

April 28, 2021

We acknowledge and respect the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees and Esquimalt) Peoples on whose territory the university stands, and the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

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