This portfolio also serves as the core assessment measure for EN106 at Park University. Let’s consider for a moment that term. At Park, a “core assessment” is a required assignment that is common across all sections of a course, both online and face-to-face. This assignment is meant to serve as a tool for instructors to evaluate student learning across sections, terms, campus centers, and modalities. In other words, the portfolio is your opportunity to show off what you have learned in this course, and an opportunity for Park faculty to learn more about how our teaching works. Ideally, we use the lessons from your core assessments to inform changes to curriculum. As you prepare the portfolio, think about using it to make an argument: to use a metaphor from the law, you should make a case for what you have learned this term in EN106.
Drawing upon the categories and explanations offered by Reynolds and Davis in Portfolio Keeping, your EN106 portfolio is a “best works portfolio”—that is, your portfolio should be a collection of your strongest, most polished academic writing. It will contain three primary pieces: a reflective essay, at least two final draft academic essays of your choosing, and artifacts from your writing process. In many cases, the two essays will be the same two essays you improved through deep revision processes in Unit Four and Unit Six. But you also have the option to include academic writing from other Park University courses, provided that these essays demonstrate your understanding of academic writing as it relates to this course. I will grade your portfolio as a whole, using the rubric found at the end of this assignment, in order to assess your overall skills as an academic writer, as revealed in the portfolio.
This document will describe in more detail my expectations for each of the three primary pieces of your portfolio. But before we get there, please remember that there are many appropriate ways to approach this portfolio assignment or any particular piece of it. In fact, it might be useful to first consider your overall approach to the portfolio before considering the pieces you will include.
Approach & Organization
The portfolio should demonstrate what you know about academic research and writing. Toward that end, the choice for portfolio organization belongs to you. Let’s start there: with the rhetorical situation. You know the writer (you), the reader (me), and the purpose (to demonstrate your learning in this course). Let’s use that rhetorical knowledge to invent strategies for organization. You might consider giving your portfolio a loose “thesis.” For instance, consider the following two portfolio “theses”:
This portfolio demonstrates both my facility with research and also my skills in critically synthesizing diverse sources to enter an academic conversation.
After you have invented a working thesis for your portfolio as a whole, consider organization. Remember, I will read your portfolio in the order you choose. So, endeavor to structure the portfolio in a manner that supports your argument.
For example, the writer of the first portfolio will probably want to include a portion of an academic article as an artifact as well as a completed summary sheet from Unit Two to show the writer’s facility with research. On the other hand, the writer of the second portfolio may want to organize the portfolio in chronological order, beginning with a rough draft of each essay and showing its evolution through peer review, revision, and editing.
Remember that Reynolds and Davis argue in Portfolio Keeping that portfolio readers tend to make judgments early in the reading process: usually in the first three or four pages! So consider putting your best work early in the portfolio. You should also think about where your reflective essay is best placed: as the first piece, in order to serve as an introduction? As the final piece, to serve as an “afterword” to the portfolio? Separated into brief sections that explicate each essay and artifact, functioning as a sort of running commentary on the other pieces of the portfolio?
Finally, you will probably want to include some kind of table of contents in the portfolio, in order to give me a clear sense of what to expect as I read your work. For instance, a table of contents could look like the following:
George S. Park
15 July 2014
Table of Contents
Reflective Essay: “Conversing with the Conversation” (p. 3)
“Lies I Told My Teachers: One Student’s View of Education” (p. 7)
Artifacts related to “Lies I Told My Teachers”: Close reading log, brainstorming list, rough draft #1, peer feedback (p. 12)
“Wound Care in Children: A Phenomenological Study” (essay from NU 217) (p. 22)
Artifacts related to “Wound Care in Children”: rough draft, instructor commentary, source summaries (p. 26)
Process, Focus, Development, Rhetorical Strategies, and Conventions. You may choose any number of approaches to this assignment. For instance, you can introduce your reader to any of the following:
evidence of ways you understand your writing to have improved this term, either by identifying your habits and processes of writing or by examining specific examples from the essays included in your portfolio
accounts of struggles or challenges this term, specific to academic writing
consideration of the rhetorical contexts of academic writing, using the terminology you explored in Units One and Two
descriptions of your next steps as an academic writer
analysis of the similarities and differences between academic writing and the sort of popular discourse in magazines, newspapers, and popular web sites
examples of particular paragraphs that you find to be strong or representative of your best work (in the body of the portfolio, you might put these passages in bold if you refer to them in the introduction)
examples of particular paragraphs that you find to be weak or representative offrustrations you encountered related to writing or certain ideas
meditations on the most important writing skills you will bring forward to your upcoming academic coursework
descriptions of changed attitudes or levels of confidence related to your writing (for better or for worse)
analysis of one or more particular learning outcomes and how it is represented in the portfolio at large
Because your reflective essay will be relatively limited in length, you will not have space to develop a response to all of the above issues. Remember that all good writing is focused, developed, and organized—so consider choosing just one or two of the prompts to write about. You also have leeway in terms of genre. If you prefer, you could format your reflective essay as:
a letter to your instructor or a fellow student about academic writing
a researched academic essay making an organized argument
a rhetorical analysis or close reading of your own writing
a running commentary on your polished final drafts and artifacts
an autobiographical account of your journey as a writer
some other structure of your own choosing
No matter how you choose to approach the reflective essay, it should be thoughtfully composed and carefully proofread. If you refer to outside sources, you must document your research using a standard academic format (e.g., MLA or APA).