21 January 2009

Institutional Portfolio: A sample "Systems Portfolio"

Using the simplest of definitions, a portfolio is a purposeful collection of works. The key word, of course, is purposeful. It's easier to communicate that to students than to institutions.

When students pile all they've got into the portfolio space provided, they are advised to reflect and select. With that reminder or a little guidance, the student slows down and makes the good choices that support the purpose of the collection of works.

When institutions face exactly the same task, there is temptation to include every document, every policy, every assessment that any viewer could hope for. Sometimes calling it transparency, the portfolio grows fatter and fatter. It's awfully hard to slow that tendency.

Where institutional portfolios follow a template, the tendency to fatten is reduced. And the purpose of the portfolio is met.

The Systems Portfolio from Northwest Technical College (Minnesota) meets a purpose familiar to North Central's HLC institutions. The Systems Portfolio documents a school's progress in AQIP—the Academic Quality Improvement Program. The nine categories of AQIP show up in the portfolio menu, followed by items such as a Document Repository. (Using a template to build an AQIP documentation site follows HLC training.)

For many good examples of portfolios and purposes, visit Minnesota's Institutional Electronic Portfolio Resource Center.

(More institutional portfolios will be featured over the next month.)

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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