Colleges, Departments, & Programs

Using Portfolios in Your Program

Learning portfolios are a great way for students to document their progress and learning outcomes throughout their time in your programs. 

They are ideal for majors or programs with capstone courses -- students have the ability to compile and reflect upon their experiences as they progress, and have a wealth of information to draw on when they reach the capstone level.  Portfolios also provide an excellent platform for students to present their final projects or theses creatively.

If you are interested in incorporating learning portfolios in your college, department, major, or program, please contact us.  We'd be happy to help you get students set up and provide you with some pedagogical tools to help you implement portfolios!  You can view more information on templates for your program here.

Learning portfolios aren't simply a web showcase for student work -- they are tools for active learning.  Rather than an electronic resume (such as LinkedIn) or a place to post photos and videos (such as Facebook), a good portfolio includes reflection, demonstrates integrative learning, and provides evidence that a student has achieved a particular learning outcome or goal.

The benefits of learning portfolios for faculty, colleges, and departments include the following:

  • Faculty can see student progression over time
  • Learning portfolios allow faculty to determine individual participation in group projects
  • Reading responses within the portfolio allow faculty to get a glimpse into student reactions as well as the opportunity for developing longer papers/assignments
  • Learning portfolios can make student learning more visible when assessing specific programs
  • Portfolios allow for qualitative assessment, alongside traditional quantitative assessment
  • Some studies have indicated that learning portfolio usage correlates to a higher rate of retention
  • The institution can identify areas of existing high achievement and those that need improvement
  • Student and faculty comments allow for qualitative assessment of curriculum and pedagogy
  • Portfolios facilitate engaged and active learning among students

Educational groups and associations around the world are beginning to gather data and share best practices on portfolio work.  Here are some additional resources (courtesy of Virginia Tech):

Learning Outcomes

Learning portfolios can help you integrate specified learning outcomes into your programs.  If you are using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics and outcomes in your programs, you can find more information on how AAC&U is using portfolios as a way to assess student work and learning outcomes here.


Pathbrite now allows us to create program-level templates.  For more information, click here.