McMaster Learning Portfolio officially launches

Students arriving on campus this fall have a new tool to help them capture their learning experiences at McMaster- inside and outside the classroom.

McMaster has officially launched the Learning Portfolio, a major new initiative arising from Forward with Integrity, aimed at enhancing the student experience.

The Learning Portfolio is an online tool, accessible through Avenue to Learn, that allows students to plan, record and reflect on a range of educational experiences; curricular and co-curricular.

“Reflection is critical to student success,” says McMaster Provost David Wilkinson. “The Learning Portfolio is an effective way for students to not only collect evidence of their learning and development, but to examine their choices and deliberately seek out activities that will enhance and reinforce their academic learning. The Learning Portfolio can help students build their capacity in reflection and critical thinking and will lay the groundwork for lifelong learning.”

First year students learn more about the McMaster Learning Portfolio at a MacQuest session during Welcome Week. Photo: Courtesy of Elaina Principato, Student Success Centre.

First year students learn more about the McMaster Learning Portfolio at a MacQuest session during Welcome Week. Photo: Courtesy of Elaina Principato, Student Success Centre.

MSU Vice-president, education, Spencer Graham, created a Learning Portfolio this summer and says the portfolio can be a valuable tool for students.

“I included examples of past work that I’ve done, projects, papers, policies that I’ve written and I accompanied that with a personal note or a reflection on what I learned. I’ve also added photos and I’m in the process of posting videos,” says Graham. “I see the Learning Portfolio as a planning tool.  I can look back and be reminded of my experiences and how they changed me as a person, but also define learning goals and set a direction for where I want to be in my future.”

The Learning Portfolio is being introduced in at least a dozen courses this academic year. About 3000 students, primarily in first year, will create portfolios as part of their course work.

Learn more about how some instructors are using the Learning Portfolio

Spencer Graham says he would encourage all students to use the Learning Portfolio.

“To me, the benefit of the Learning Portfolio is that it helps me think consciously about why I’m here and where I want to go. I think a lot of students go to university without a clear idea of what they want to do and they end up following a path that they randomly choose,” says Graham.” Putting conscious thought into what you’re doing and how you’re making the most of your university experience, I would say, is invaluable and the Learning Portfolio can help you do that.”

Learn more about the Learning Portfolio:

Students can sign up for the following workshops through the Student Success Centre:

  • Setting Goals for Success
  • Reflection 101

Online training tools and workshops are available for students and instructors through the new Institute for Teaching and Learning.

 See examples of McMaster Learning Portfolios

*Each student’s Learning Portfolio is completely private.  The above students have generously agreed to share their portfolios with the McMaster community.