portfolio Essay

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Portfolio Assignment

Length (Reflective Essay) 1500 words
Total File length As Necessary
Works Cited As Necessary
Due Friday, April 28
Turned in where? Blackboard
Course Credit 15%

What is it?

Your portfolio should be uploaded to BlackBoard in a single, MS Word file by the date due. This file should consist of the following (all of which are explained thoroughly below:

  1. A table of contents listing the following parts.
  2. A self-reflective analysis of your writing in this course (1500 words).
  3. A properly formatted Works Cited which lists your own workAND/OR peer reviews AND/OR my commentary that you refer to in the self-reflective analysis.
  4. A revised and re-edited copy of the final draft (Draft 1.3, 2.3, 3.3) that received the lowest grade.
  5. A copy of the original final draft that you revised and re-edited.

How do you prepare?

The portfolio should cause you to review your strengths and weaknesses as a college writer writing researched analysis. You should be able to explain in your reflection essay how you addressed your weaknesses (as revealed by my commentary and the commentary of your peers and your own writing reviews) and built on your strengths. In your rewrite of Draft 1.3, 2.3, OR 3.3 you should display a stronger first and last paragraph, more competent formatting of in-text and works cited citation formatting, fewer instances of the 10 targeted errors, less awkward (“read out loud”) sentences and phrases, and clearer organization and structure. To prepare, I suggest the following:

  1. Read through your essays, the peer reviews you’ve written, the peer reviews you received, your writing reviews, AND “Individual Draft Feedback” (in the Interactive Web main menu) to find patterns of the following:
    • 2-3 strengths (areas in which you have developed as a writer) and
    • 2-3 weaknesses (areas in which you need more development).
  2. Identify 2-3 SPECIFIC examples of each strength and weaknesses you find. Specifics always trump generalities.
    • evidence must come from three of the four final drafts (1.3, 2.3, or 3.3) and at least two other assignments (your peer reviews, writing reviews, and earlier drafts). You can use material from your 4th essay cycle if you wish, but do not revise Draft 4.3.
  3. Take notes about these strengths and weaknesses to develop a series of Points regarding you as a writer in this class: use examples from your own writing as the Particulars to back up your Points.

What do you write?

The core of the portfolio is the self-reflective essay (1500 words). In this essay you are going to analyze your writing in this class and yourself as a writer. These are some of the things you can target as problem areas and areas of growth. To cover them all thoroughly would require many more words than you have.

  1. Your ability to focus on relevant aspects of your subject (critical thinking)
  2. Your ability to identify your own controversial and challengeable assertions and defend them with research
  3. Your ability to research using responsible and vetted academic sources
  4. Your ability to distinguish “soft” statements (fluff) from genuine information (satisfying the rhetorical needs of the reader)
  5. Your ability to manage your text effectively (paragraph balance, first paragraph issues, structure — i.e., the 18 item “Grading Criteria List” in the Interactive Web)
  6. Your ability to respond effectively to peer and instructor commentary (and especially my list of
  7. Your ability to avoid the 10 targeted errors and other usage issues

To adequately analyze these aspects of your own writing, you should cite specific assignment titles, pages, and passages from your own work, the peer reviews of your classmates, or my commentary in properly formatted in-text citations and the Works Cited. You should conclude your self-reflective essay by commenting briefly on how you expect to transfer the knowledge and skills you developed in this class to future classes and/or your career.

How should the self-reflective essay be organized?

As your final essay for the course, the reflective self-analysis should showcase your writing ability. Use the skills you have honed throughout the semester to produce an essay that is clear, coherent, organized, developed, supported, well proofread, and formatted in MLA style. Here I present a suggested organizational plan.

  1. Introduction
    1. Comment briefly on whether and how your portfolio reflects your understanding of analysis writing and research. Does it reflect changes in the way you think about anaysis and research in a college essay?
    2. Present a thesis describing how you managed 1013. For example, your thesis might say something like “The essays I have written for this course demonstrate that I have developed ____ and ____ skills; and, though I have made some progress in ___ and ____ areas, I still have work to do.” (Obviously don’t copy this word-for-word.)
  2. Body
    1. Present, in a logical order, what you consider your greatest strengths as a writer. Why do you believe this? Identify 2-3 strengths you have observed in your writing and support your Points with specific evidence (2-3 examples each) from your written work. Tie your strengths to the course objectives of responsible research, well used sources, clear and structured writing, and concern for avoiding speculation and “soft” ideas.
    2. Include what you consider your greatest challenges as a writer. Identify 2-3 weaknesses you have observed in your writing and support your points with specific evidence (2-3 examples each) from your written work. Tie your challenges to the course objectives listed above.
  3. Conclusion
    1. Briefly summarize what your progress this semester reveals about you as a writer, student, researcher, and critical thinker.
    2. Suggest how you can apply the knowledge and skills you developed in this class to future classes and/or to your career.
  4. Works Cited
    1. Cite all pieces of writing to which you refer in your self-reflection (you should have at least five entries).

More about the In-Text Citations and Works Cited for the Self-Reflexive Essay

If you are citing one of your own drafts, obviously you are the author.

  1. If you don’t have a title for the draft or review, then simply use “Draft 3.3” or “Writing Review 3.3” or the corresponding draft version.
  2. If you do have a title, say, “Closing Guantanamo,” then list the title as “Closing Guantano: Draft 3.3” or the corresponding draft version.
  3. Use page numbers 1-5 or how many pages you presented for the draft version, and if you quote yourself, use your last name and the proper page number in your in-text citation. Use the date of submission for the date of the draft, peer review, or writing review.
  4. Be sure to include a “medium and access date” in your works cited. If you read the draft off Blackboard, then the medium is “Web.” If you read an MS Word file or a printed copy, then the medium is “Print.” The access date for Print is the day you read the copy.
  5. If you decide to quote a peer review done of your own drafts, cite the title as “Peer Review 2.3” or whatever version, no author, and the date of submission. The medium is “Web” and you should put the current date as your date of access.
  6. If you decide to quote one of my comments, then list the author as “Fred Kemp” and the title as “Instructor Comment on Draft 3.3” or whatever draft version. You do not need to enter a comment date, but the medium should be “Web” and the access date the current date.
  7. Example citing your Draft 3.3:
    Lastname, Firstname. “Draft 3.3.” 18 Nov. 2015. 1-5. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
  8. Example citing a peer review from another person than you:
    “Peer Review of Kemp Draft 3.2.” 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
  9. Example citing your writing review:
    Lastname, Firstname. “Writing Review 2.3.” 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
  10. Example citing Kemp’s comment in works cited:
    Kemp, Fred. “Instructor Comment: Draft 3.3.” 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2015
  11. Example citing Kemp’s comment in-text:
    (Kemp “Comment: Draft 3.3”) or (Kemp “Instructor’s Comment: Draft 3.3”)

What about the revised essay?

Choose from among the final drafts of the first three essay cycles the essay that received the lowest grade. Revise the essay (we call this “deep revision”) for resubmission. Go beyond surface editing (correcting typos/small grammar errors) to make meaningful changes to content (perhaps integrating additional sources, reorganizing paragraphs, smoothing transitions, and rewriting sections for clarity).Immediately following this revised essay, in the same MS Word file, insert the original draft that received the low grade. (I will need to compare the two easily, and I do not want to have to look up and download your original.)

A few of you received high grades on all your final drafts, and even if you pick the lowest grade, you will still have a well proofread and edited copy. You may not be able to revise much to improve the draft. Even if you don’t have to revise much, if the portfolio draft you turn in is a “clean copy,” you will receive a high evaluation.

Remember that all of this should be in a single MS Word file uploaded to BlackBoard by the date due, Dec 12. This gives you a lot of time to perfect this portfolio, and I will accordingly expect good work. Careless editing or errors that have not been severely evaluated in previous drafts will not receive so generous an evaluation. For the reflection essay and your rewrite of one of your “semester issue” final drafts you will not have the benefit of peer reviews or my “in process” commentary, so you need to pay especial attention to the final product.

You can create this single MS Word file by copying and pasting each part listed above into a single file, then spending time carefully reviewing the entire file to make sure all the parts are included, the formatting is correct according to MLA standards, and you have proofread and read out loud your writing carefully.

I would strongly — strongly! — recommending reading these instructions several times, with particular attention, and one more time after you have “finished” your portfolio to make sure you have followed the requirements carefully. This one document is worth 15% of your final grade.

The Writing Program requires that I assign 15% of the course grade to this portfolio, so I suggest you work hard on it. I especially recommend that you space out the effort over days and even weeks, working a reasonable amount each day or several days. An incredible amount of research indicates that your product will be much the better for it.


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