Overview of the weekly portfolio
In this unit, you are required to complete a weekly portfolio. A portfolio provides evidence of previous experience and presents a dynamic record of your growth and professional learning over the duration of this unit. Your portfolio will, therefore, provide an account of your learning based on both your current and prior learnings and your critical reflection on those learnings.
A portfolio is increasingly being used in Universities as a means of:
• Being able to tell much more about you than exam results;
• As a means of reflecting your development through the unit;
• To reflect your attitude and values as well as your skills and knowledge.
Timmins states that ‘A portfolio is a cohesive account of work-based learning that contains relevant evidence from practice and critical reflection on this
evidence. Its primary purpose is to ‘display achievement of professional competence or learning outcomes and knowledge development’ (Timmins 2008: p. 115).
You’ll find much more information about the use and application of portfolios on the Internet. However, it will need you to take some time to think through how you are going to complete the portfolio on a weekly basis. It is very easy to trivialize the portfolio and write nearly the same thing each week. But that won’t gain you many marks. Instead, you should try to focus on the topic and learning outcome for the week and your reflections regarding them. You can think of the portfolio as a journal or diary that you maintain on a daily and weekly basis. Your diary will consist of your thoughts as you study.
Future directions of portfolios
In the future, you should expect that portfolios will be used increasingly at the academic postgraduate level. Eventually, they may even replace exams as has occurred with this unit. Therefore there are a number of things to note for your future educational experiences:
1. You will be required to complete more portfolios in other units as you progress in your academic career;
2. As portfolios begin to replace exams you will need to make your portfolio comprehensive and deeply reflective to gain a good grade;
3. You may find that other unit assessments, such as presentations, will be aligned with the content of your portfolio submissions as a means of validating your knowledge.
Your task with the portfolio
Your task is therefore to write a weekly portfolio reflecting upon your learnings from the prior week. In your portfolio you will identify:
1. The module/topic and the learning outcomes that the topic applies to;
2. Any readings from this or other units and any personal or workplace artifacts that you might think relevant;
3. Any learning from your experiences. This may be from your workplace but could also be from your personal social experiences;
4. Any supporting documentation of prior or current learning. Only reference the source, unless you feel that there is other information that is particularly relevant.
Note: the process of reflection is particularly important since it will hopefully show your inner thoughts. It will also allow you to show how those thoughts have changed over time as you progress through the unit.
Instructions for completing the portfolio
1. Type your name and student id at the top of the page in the header section.
2. Each week’s topics and readings appropriate for the learning outcome have been included in the top and first column of the portfolio table. You should review these and make changes as the unit progresses and you gain more familiarity with the learning outcomes and unit content. You will find that you will progressively elaborate on the content of the third and fourth columns “Learnings from your experience” and “Supporting documentation including your prior learning” as you work through each of the weeks of the unit.
3. I have provided you with my insights for some weeks in a template on Moodle. You should supplement or replace this with your thoughts.
4. The purpose of the portfolio is to allow you to reflect each week on the topic for the week and be able to relate the readings and activities to the learning outcomes for the unit. So try to think about the relationship between the week’s material and the overall unit learning outcomes in a reflective and holistic manner. Don’t use the portfolio as a diary or journal of your readings and activities.
5. Please appreciate it takes time to complete the portfolio, therefore, you must think always of what is required and be taking notes to update your portfolio as you read, study videos, or undertake other unit related activities. You are expected to be working 12 hours each week on this unit so you have plenty of time to make the portfolio meaningful.
6. The portfolio will be discussed in the unit during lectures, online videos, and tutorials when they exist – please listen carefully and you may find the portfolio is easier to complete than it first appears.
7. You may disagree with the initial allocation of the learning outcomes to the topics in the portfolio table. This is your right and you are free to move things around as you become more familiar with the portfolio and the unit material.
8. At the beginning of the unit, all of the learning outcomes are not covered therefore you should delete what you believe is not required from the portfolio for each week. The content of this template has included all of the learning outcomes to save your time in typing. As the week’s progress then you will find that you will be able to include more and more learning outcomes and eventually you will have covered all the learning outcomes in the unit.
9. At the end of the unit you should review your weekly portfolios and then consolidate them into a single submission. This is the assessment that gets marked. Since the objective of the portfolio is to show your learning journey as well as your reflections then you should not be surprised to find that your opinions have changed during the unit. You do not have to change your portfolios from prior weeks since they show your journey.
10. Your consolidated portfolio should be made as a single submission. In producing it you should merge all your submissions into one and provide a single big file.
11. You must NOT use an index and numbering system in your consolidated portfolio to identify material from prior weeks and then expect that the reader will find each portfolio on the unit web site.
12. You should reference your weekly portfolios according to the prescribed method. Whatever way that you do it; the final portfolio is the important one! It’s important that you make it clear to the marker what your consolidated portfolio refers to otherwise you may not get the marks you expect. An analogy for the final portfolio is that you can imagine that you are going before an examination board at the end of the unit and presenting to them a complete portfolio of your journey through the unit. You will hand each board member a package that they should then be able to read and from it appreciate everything that you have done and learned during your work life and the unit.
13. Your consolidated portfolio should show how you have reflected on high level, independent judgements in context of the manner that project managers in commercial projects initiate, plan, implement and evaluate commercial negotiation within project management contexts also how a project manager would take responsibility and accountability, in this context, for personal outputs and all aspects of the work or function of others.
Ideas for the structure of the Consolidated Portfolio
There are many possible approaches to structuring the consolidated portfolio. It is the intention to test how well you are at tackling the problem associated with developing it. In real life (as you probably know) a project manager is frequently confronted with the need to write a report and structuring the report for the audience is always a tricky thing to do.
However, a way of tackling the consolidated portfolio could be to structure your consolidated portfolio according to the following headings: -
1. Introduction and summary of outcomes
2. Itemize each learning outcome: -
c. … etc.
3. Discussion and Conclusion
5. Appendix of the weeks
a. Portfolio for Week 1
b. Portfolio for Week 2
Without going overboard then when the consolidated portfolio is formatted bullets then 1 to 3 above will be most likely 8 to 10 pages. It might be more, but it should not be less. Each LO would contain two to three paragraphs. The important thing is to say in the LO section how well you have reflected and met the LO. This is done through the summary and the evidence that points to each weekly portfolio in the appendix.
In the course profile, you are encouraged to imagine they are going before an interview panel and had been asked to show them how they could meet the job criteria (learning outcomes). So, as a prerequisite to the interview, you had to prepare a paper for them.
The marking criteria can often be encapsulated into four-stage criteria: -
1. Does the section or topic meet all the basic learning requirements relevant to the course, such as knowledge of fundamental concepts and performance of basic skills; demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the learning outcomes of the assignment? (25%)
2. Does the section or topic reflect an ability to use and apply fundamental concepts and skills of the course, going beyond mere replication of content knowledge or skill to show understanding of key ideas, awareness of their relevance, some use of analytical skills, and some originality or insight? (50%)
3. Does the section or topic demonstrate awareness and understanding of deeper and less obvious aspects of the course, such as the ability to identify and debate critical issues or problems, ability to solve non-routine problems, ability to adapt and apply ideas to new situations, and ability to invent and evaluate new ideas? (75%)
4. Has the section or topic been presented with imagination, originality or flair, based on proficiency in all the relevant learning outcomes of the course; work is interesting or surprisingly exciting, challenging, well-read or scholarly? (100%)
This criterion is ADDITIVE. In other words, the last item (4) is inclusive of the previous ones (1, 2, and 3). If the marker feels that you did most of 4 then you might be given a 25% of the overall mark for the first criteria and then 25% of the overall mark for the second criteria and then 25% of the overall mark for the third criteria and finally 10% of the mark for the fourth criteria. So, the overall mark will be 85% overall.
This means that the first gate you must meet is (1) the basic learning requirements relevant of the course, such as knowledge of fundamental concepts and performance of basic skills; demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the learning outcomes of the assignment. If you don't meet that criterion, then you can't get a grade for the second criteria.
You can use a similar concept when you think of many assignments. In other words, is the assignment (1) average, (2) good, (3) excellent, (4) amazingly superb? It makes it easier to think of things that way. The words in each of the criteria is just a rational and fancy way of expressing average, good, excellent, amazingly superb!