Your final assignment for this class is an online portfolio, which is important
Your final assignment for this class is an online portfolio, which is important for your final grade. The portfolio is your chance to show yourself and me that your writing has developed over the course of the quarter and that you now understand and can apply the course outcomes. Your online portfolio will include seven sections:
– An Introduction (1-2 substantial paragraphs)
– Revised Writing Pieces: a reflection (1-2 pages) and a revised draft (x3)
– A Final Reflection Essay (1-2 substantial paragraphs)
– A Section with all the drafts you chose not to revise: “Compendium”
So what should you include in each section?
You can think of this as your portfolio’s homepage where you will provide an introduction to your portfolio generally. It is your opportunity to welcome your audience and explain the context of your portfolio: How does it relate to the course outcomes and the course itself? You might want to give your portfolio a fun theme or attach images that will give your audience greater insight into the purpose of your portfolio.
In addition to being an introduction to your portfolio, your homepage is also an introduction to your critical reflection pieces. You need to present your main claim about how your writing as a whole demonstrates achievement of the course outcomes. You will probably want to provide a brief discussion of the evidence you will use to back up that main claim (which pieces you have revised). Briefly summarize what you want me to notice in the rest of the portfolio.
The Showcase Pieces (x3)
Each revised piece (2 SAs, 1 MA) should contain the following:
The Reflection: Focusing on one of your revised drafts and the course outcomes as evidence, you will show how you have met the writing goals specified by each outcome. Be sure to use specific detail and to cite your work when necessary.
Your commentary should do two things:
(1) Demonstrate your understanding of the outcomes, in general. You should answer both of these questions: “What does this outcome mean?” and “Why does this outcome matter for good reading and writing practice?”
(2) Demonstrate your ability to execute the outcomes, in detail. You should offer specific evidence from your embedded work to show how you fulfilled the outcome in a specific context and why it contributed to your thinking and writing. Answer the questions: “When/where/how did you demonstrate this outcome?” and “How did the outcome improve your writing?”
(3) Comment on how you used the outcomes to revise your work. You should answer: “How did thinking about the outcomes help me understand my choices in this piece?” and “What did I revise?”
A compelling critical reflection includes quotes, paraphrases, or summarizes directly from your papers. Other evidence can come from feedback (teacher, peer, tutor, or otherwise).
The Revised Drafts: A complete portfolio includes three significantly revised papers: one major paper and two short ones. The pieces you choose for final evaluation should be evidence of your best work and demonstrate the full range of your ability. This means that you should be careful to select a complement of work that will demonstrate each of the English 131 Course Outcomes.
In revising the earlier drafts you may wish to change the structure of the paper, the evidence used, the major claims or minor claims presented, or the larger rhetorical strategies at play. Minor alterations of word choice and punctuation should also be made but do not count as revision. Revision should not be limited to my comments and suggestions on drafts. Throughout the course, we’ve concentrated on learning and practicing new and different writing techniques. Applying the new concepts/knowledge/skills that you’ve learned to the old papers that you wrote is important. Thus, my comments should be understood only as starting points for revision.
Following your reflection, you will embed both an original draft of your paper and a significantly revised draft.
The Final Reflection:
This is the place to conclude your portfolio by addressing its “stakes.” Why does it matter that you have learned to apply the outcomes in your writing? How will the outcomes help you in your future classes? Your major? Your career? How do you see the work you’ve done this quarter translating to other situations, either in or out of school?
I don’t want you to tell me that this class has changed your life. I do want you to tell me how the skills you’ve gained will influence your writing in other classes or the “real world.” This is a chance to think metacognitively—tell me how your thinking about reading and writing has/hasn’t changed. You may want to consider your strengths and weaknesses coming into this class and coming out of it. What still needs improvement? How will you continue to improve?
Keep in mind: The reflections are pieces of argumentative writing. Your argument is that you have learned how to apply the Course Outcomes and your evidence is your showcase of work from the semester. Thus, you should be applying the same writing strategies to your essay that you have been developing all semester, including:
– Making arguable claims about your work
– Providing context to situate the reader and help make sense of evidence
– Summarizing, synthesizing, and using quotations to support claims
– Providing stakes: Why does it matter that you have learned what you have?