In this blog I want to highlight a key artifact that our Mosaic Fellows produce during their tenure in the Mosaic Fellows program: the Mosaic Fellows’ Reflective portfolio. At each Fellows session, and based on prompts we provide, the Fellows are asked to reflect (in writing) on the meeting activities and readings. Then, after the last meeting of each cohort of Fellows, we package and send to each Fellow their own individual portfolio to encourage their ongoing, continued reflection of their personal and collective experiences well after their tenure as a Fellow has concluded. Here is an anonymized example of a recently completed Mosaic Fellows Portfolio.
What are some steps we take to guide faculty in creating the portfolio?
- At each Fellows Session, we allocate about 20 minutes for the Fellows to reflect on that day’s activities/readings.
- We give Fellows prompts on questions connecting readings and activities to their current or future approaches to teaching. They each write their responses on their own device, and submit to a cohort Canvas site. They do this sitting at a table with other Fellows who are engaging in the same activity.
- We capitalize on this sense of group effort by following individual reflections with group discussions of the prompt. Having already articulated ideas in the context of their own discipline through writing, the Fellows then engage in rich discussion about the prompts.
- After the last Session of each Fellows cohort, we compile and send to each Fellow their multi-page reflective portfolio. See the above link for an anonymized example.
How do faculty benefit from the reflective portfolios?
As the Fellows reflect and write, they are allowed time to think more deeply about ideas and experiences with which they have just engaged. Fellows share with us that they value this time to build on and connect ideas and explore deeper learning. Consider one Fellow’s reflection on her own experience writing her portfolio:
“Writing my Mosaic Portfolio helped me archive my thoughts throughout the year. On a conceptual level, the portfolio helped me theorize what active learning is, consider why it is valuable, and learn how versatile it can be in application. On a practical level, the portfolio gave me the time and space to develop new activities for my classroom.
When I re-read my portfolio, I was surprised to see how much my teaching had changed; my current course looks nothing like it did a year ago. I thought I had a very active classroom before. Now, I recognize I had relied more on lecture than I had realized. There were a lot of missed opportunities to involve student voices in the learning process. Writing the portfolio helped me identify those gaps. Now, I feel more confident developing new lessons to maximize student engagement and adapting these activities to different classrooms.” – Kelly Hanson, Kelley School of Business
Portfolios can also become useful evidence for Fellows’ related career efforts. For example, the reflective portfolios can be included among tenure and promotion documents. Further, reflections in the portfolio can serve as a jumping-off point for writing teaching statements, grant applications, and other relevant writings.
What to do if you are considering adding reflective portfolios to your program?
Provide photos: We add pictures of each session next to the reflective writing from that session. Placing pictures of a session next to the reflection give an added sense of what the Fellows did on that specific day. Including pictures also helps give the reflective portfolios a kind of “year book” appearance, further contextualizing their time as Fellows as a unique experience, both in their own personal development and as members of a larger faculty community.
Add your Reading List: In the final pages of the reflective portfolio, we provide a complete list of the Fellows’ readings from the program. Adding the reference list of all readings they completed in the program gives Fellows a sense of the literature journey they finished, a resource to share with colleagues, and an easy point of reference to revisit past readings.
Do you have tips on how to approach portfolios that you would like to share? Please share your ideas in the comments section below or continue the conversation in twitter and tag us @mosaiciu.