Syllabus for EDL-810



As the capstone experience in the MAEdL program (District Leadership Area of Study), Professional Portfolio Development: School Administrators requires students to prepare an electronic portfolio that demonstrates their achievement of program and ISLLC standards. This portfolio will show how the student has developed and how he or she has applied learning. The process of portfolio development involves: (1) goal setting; (2) decision-making and analysis in the selection of artifacts that document and recognize propositional and procedural knowledge and personal and professional attributes of leadership; and (3) self-evaluation and reflection. Students will learn how professional electronic portfolios are defined, organized, and evaluated. A second goal of this course is to prepare students to retool their portfolio for continued professional and academic advancement beyond the degree program. Students will be expected to substantiate standards-based competencies, a minimum of 300 internship hours at the building leadership level, and 150 hours at the district leadership level, addressing each of the ISLLC standards through all of, but not limited to, the following: documentary evidence of site-based participation in educational leadership roles and responsibilities, letters of endorsement or support from qualified site administrators, class assignments and research papers, reflective journal entries, contact logs with mentors, and self-assessment narratives. (ISLLC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; NJPSTSL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).


Professional portfolios have been part of the educational scene for several years. Pre-service teachers develop portfolios as evidence that they have met professional standards and as a requirement for graduation. Professional portfolios can serve the same purpose for school and district administrators. This course will focus on the use of portfolios as documentation of the wide range of knowledge and abilities contemporary leaders concerned with teaching, learning, and school improvement must possess to promote excellence in instruction and the creation of a culture that promotes improved student achievement. The course will also focus on the use of portfolios as vehicles for professional growth and for building job placement credentials. Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. Describe the current trends and uses of professional portfolios to authentically assess learning outcomes for aspiring and practicing educational leaders at both the building and district levels. [ISLLC Standard 6C; NJPSTSL Standards 2.6 and 6.15]
  2. Discuss the benefits and challenges of portfolio development. [ISLLC standard 1B; NJPSTSL standard 1.4]
  3. Identify formative and summative evaluation elements of the portfolio development process as formative and summative evaluations. [NJPSTSL standard 2.38]
  4. Analyze the role of reflective inquiry: describe the various types of reflective inquiry, discuss the outcomes and benefits of reflective inquiry in portfolio development, explain the use of guiding questions for reflective inquiry; discuss how the different types of reflective inquiry can become evidence or artifacts appropriate for a professional portfolio. [ISLLC standard 5B; NJPSTSL standard 2.8]
  5.  Explain the cycle of portfolio development and use the cycle to demonstrate the student's knowledge, skills, dispositions, and functions of an educational leader. [ ISLLC standards 1—6C; NJPSTSL standards 1—6]
  6. Demonstrate facility with electronic portfolio software in the design of a professional electronic portfolio in which the organization, content, and presentation style are congruent with the purpose of showcasing standards-based competencies and personal and professional attributes of educational leadership. [ISLLC standards 1—6C; NJPSTSL standards 1—6]
  7.  Perform a self-analysis of his or her professional portfolio using standards-based rubrics. [ISLLC standard 5B; NJPSTSL standards 1.4 and 2.6]
  8. Demonstrate facility with proven procedures for retooling the portfolio for continued professional and academic advancement beyond the degree program. [ISLLC standard 2F; NJPSTSL standard 2.8]

Course Topics


The Balch and Johnson texts are required to do the work of the course. The textbooks are available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Texts

ISBN-13: 0-978-1412972369

Supplemental Resources

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2008). Interstate school leaders licensure consortium standards for school leaders. Washington, DC: Author.

State of New Jersey Department of Education site. Professional development  for School Leaders:

Supplemental Texts (Not Required)

Hartnell-Young, Elizabeth, and Morriss, Maureen (2007). Digital portfolios: Powerful tools for promoting professional growth and reflection. (2d ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Heath, Marilyn S. (2004) Electronic portfolios: A guide to professional development and assessment. Worthington, OH: Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Electronic Portfolio Registration

As a capstone experience in the Educational Leadership program, you will prepare an electronic portfolio that demonstrates your incremental achievement of the program standards. Each course in the program helps you to identify artifacts to place in your portfolio on completion of the course. To this end, you are required to purchase an electronic portfolio registration code upon your entry into the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. Basic directions for purchasing access to and using your electronic portfolio are posted within the Educational Leadership Students Organization (online community).


Professional Portfolio Development is a three-credit, graduate course, consisting of six instructional modules:

Each module, in turn, comprises topics,  learning objectives; a "read and reflect" assignment (with reflection questions to get you started, a reading assignment, and questions to consider); and, usually, one or more assignments as well as an online discussion.

As part of the course you will maintain an ungraded learning journal for posting reflections. The journal (see the My Journal area of the course Web site) serves as a central location for posting reflections and recording thoughts, notes, responses, questions, observations, etc.—in short, anything associated with the learning experiences of the class. Items submitted to the learning journal may serve as artifacts for your e-folio, and reflections recorded in the learning journal for later synthesis may become part of your e-folio's reflective narrative.

For the course content, go to the appropriate Module on the course Web site.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in five online discussion forums, complete eleven portfolio assignments (two drafts and nine others), and submit specified items to your portfolio as well as do a presentation. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course (except Module 4) has an online class discussion forum (Module 6 also has an optional discussion). All discussion forums take place asynchronously on the class Discussion Board.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion Board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Portfolio Assignments

You will complete two draft portfolio assignments and then nine more assignments connected with your portfolio. Each of these assignments will allow you to incorporate feedback from your mentor before submitting items to your portfolio.

Portfolio Presentation and Paper

You will plan and perform a presentation of your professional portfolio to your present supervisor, presenting selected standards and accompanying artifacts and preparing responses to possible questions. You are required to present a paper describing your presentation, detailing your supervisor’s assessment of the presentation, and telling why you think your presentation meets appropriate criteria.  

You will submit the portfolio itself electronically on the eFolio site.

Portfolio Work

The course also directs you to perform certain organizational tasks in your portfolio and to submit particular items.You will send your mentor a message letting her or him know that the items have been uploaded so that your mentor can provide feedback.

Portfolio Artifacts and Reflective Narrative

Continue to place your artifacts in your electronic portfolio, and be certain to indicate their alignment to the applicable ISLLC standards.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:  

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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