Portfolio learning is a self-directed, student-centered process, through which you have the opportunity to talk about yourself, what you are doing in your program and where you want to go in life. Each portfolio experience is as unique as you are; no two are the same!

Although the portfolio experience varies from student to student, at the most basic level, the process is rather simple: after some initial discussions in this class, you begin to collect information about yourself. The actual items that you include in your portfolio very much depend upon you and your career plans.

You will need to include at least the following information:

  1. A resume
  2. A clear statement of your career goals
  3. A list of your skills, especially those related to your program and your career goals (e.g., "I communicate well with people", "I take responsibility for my own actions").
  4. Clear evidence of what you have learned and what you are good at (i.e., your competence level).
  5. Appropriate work samples that illustrate what you have learned, your skills and competence.
  6. Most importantly, your portfolio should contain a reflective piece - some narrative (written or otherwise) that demonstrates your understanding of yourself, your degree program, your experience at MU and your life goals.

Organizing your Portfolio

The most important features about portfolio learning are:

  • YOU! This is about the presentation of your self in everyday life - as simple and as awesome as that!
    • It is a process! Yes, you may produce an individual binder or a CD, a video or some other medium. But in portfolio learning the focus is on the experience - it is on what is happening to you.
    • It never ends! For academic reasons, you will have to complete your portfolio by the end of this semester. However, portfolio learning never ends - it changes as you change throughout your life. It is what life-long learning is all about!
    • Although it is your portfolio, you cannot live it alone! This university is fortunate to have a wonderful pool of people resources. They are there to help you, to give advice and to help you reflect. On every campus, there are many such people - check them out!
    • It gives you the edge in the marketplace. We live in an extremely competitive world with many highly qualified people competing for the same jobs. Employers are searching for the best candidates. A diploma or a degree is not enough, certainly not proof that a person has the right stuff. A portfolio provides proof of your skills and abilities, while the experience enables you to present yourself in a positive, self-confident manner.
  • It is a terrific road to self-development.
    • People who have developed portfolios often speak about the advantage of self-development. As you build and organize samples of your work, articulate your aspirations and career goals, identify your skills and abilities and reflect upon your self-worth, you can use the portfolio to re-examine yourself, track your skills, recognize your strengths and weaknesses and identify what you need to do as you progress in life.
  • Portfolio builds self-confidence
    • The process of looking at yourself - your abilities and skills, your competencies and personal traits, your goals and dreams - builds self-confidence. It highlights personal worth and reveals many personal attributes that you were unaware of.
  • Identify your learning gaps
    • The portfolio process often leads students to identify not only their strengths, but also gaps in their learning from which they can generate future goals. Needless to say, this process of revising and changing will continue throughout your life. It’s another form of life-long learning.
  • Real Learning
    • Think about how you learn! You learn formally in the classroom, lab or shop. You learn informally through groups, clubs and organizations. You learn incidentally in your meetings with people, even at a party, sports event or just chilling out with someone - learning takes place all the time. However, in our colleges, universities and schools, we have concentrated solely on and given credit to one form of learning - formal, where you are tested for what you know about a subject. Portfolio learning expands the experience, takes into account everything that is happening to you and gives you credit for it.