A portfolio is a collection of student work produced during the course module (e.g. lab reports, assignments, synopsis, videos etc.) and can test a variety of learning outcomes. The portfolio assessment is therefore an integrated part of the course and can be combined with feedback from other students (peer feedback) or from teaching assistants or lecturers. The portfolio can have specific requirements and guidelines or the student can influence the work to be included. The portfolio work can be strengthened by reflections on progression or self-assessment.
It is important to secure that portfolios are judged fairly and that the assessment is not too time consuming.
The course Experimental Coastal Ecology consists of a theoretical part (lectures, paper presentations and small-group exercises) followed by a 10 days experimental field trip where the students group-wise (3-5 students per group) carry out an ecological experiment of own choice. After finalising the theoretical part of the course, students write a synopsis where they individually describe state-of-art and the experimental design of their chosen ecological topic and associated experiment. During the field trip, students perform their experiment and group-wise draft a scientific paper based on achieved results. The individual synopsis and the group scientific paper are assessed collectively by an internal and external examiner and result in a final grade.
The purpose of including the synopsis in the assessment of the course is four-fold. First, students apply the theory and experimental designs discussed during the theoretical part of the course when writing the synopsis. Second, student read additional literature critically when planning an individual experiment thereby obtaining extended knowledge about the chosen topics state-of-art. Third, the synopsis results in well-prepared students ready to start experimentation at the point of arrival on the 10 days field course. Fourth, students receive credit for their individual synopsis that allow a differentiation of the final grade the group members receive.