Phillip's Reviews > Portfolio Teaching: A Guide for Instructors

Portfolio Teaching by Nedra Reynolds
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Oct 16, 2011

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Read in October, 2011

This book is a fairly good guide to teaching a portfolio based composition course. It has a lot of good suggestions for someone looking to teach a course this way for the first time, but if you've been trained a couple times (as I have at UVM and WVU) and taught a few semesters of portfolio course, a lot of this will seem like review. I did pick up a few interesting tips, like the idea of a navigational scheme for portfolios (usually I've just told my students what kinds of things to include on each side of their folders). But much of the advice here seems to be part of the training now a days.

I do have two specific comments about things I find to be drawbacks of this book. First, they continuously tell you to have your students read Portfolio Keeping: A Guide for Students, which is another Bedford/St. Martin's book. I'm sure it's a very useful book for a student taking their first portfolio based class, but I don't have time in the semester to read and discuss a book on portfolios. Plus, I find the blatant product placement a bit off putting.

The second criticism is not really the book's fault, but since it was published in 2006 there have been a number of technological updates. So some of the tech-terminology in the book sounds dated, and they suggest you use some technologies that have been more-or-less superceded (like IM). I'd suggest to anyone looking to use this as a real solid guide to teaching a portfolio course that a thorough understanding of current classroom technologies (especially those available where you teach) is an essential supplement to this book.
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