English 103 // Portfolio and Final Reflection Prompts
This set of prompts will help you select, organize, and reflect upon the writing you have done this semester in order to demonstrate your ability to fulfill the course outcomes attached to your syllabus and found also in your Brief New Century Handbook. The outcomes are divided into six basic categories, which have been paired into the three larger categories below. For your own convenience and safety (you don’t want to lose your work!), open a new MS Word document for each of these reflections, and save your work frequently. Make sure you plan ahead to allow yourself the time necessary to consider and fully respond to each of the prompts below.
Audience and Genre
In which document (s) did you most effectively demonstrate your understanding of the needs and expectations of your audience? Identify three passages that illustrate this outcome, ideally ones that you have already highlighted or noted in previous reflection exercises. If you have not already done so, for each of the three passages you identified write a short statement that explains how the passage demonstrates audience awareness.
Think about the different kinds of writing you did this semester (blogging, personal essay, interview essay, persuasive essay, analysis essay), and about the different contexts in which those kinds of writing would be more or less appropriate. In which documents were considerations of genre, format, structure, voice, tone, and level of formality most closely tied to the rhetorical situation (that is, considerations related to audience and context)? For example, in a résumé, both the structure and content of the document are intimately tied to the expectations of a potential employer in a job search. Freewrite about how the writing you have done illustrates the relationships between structure and content, on the one hand, and audience expectations and writer’s purpose on the other.
Using your prewriting as a basis, narrate the process of your learning about audience and genre throughout the semester. That is, tell the story of how and what you learned about audience and genre inside and outside of class, and in your writing. What specific events, assignments, activities, or revelations inside or outside of class were most helpful in your learning process? Describe these events or activities in detail to show your reader your growth through the semester.
In addition, again using your prewriting as a basis, describe in detail where and how you demonstrate awareness of audience and genre in your writing. You may wish to interweave this description into the above narrative, or you may wish to first narrate, and then describe.
Evidence and Analysis
First, identify three passages from your research paper that illustrate your ability to incorporate the words and/or ideas of others into your own writing, and write a short statement that explains how the passage demonstrates an effective use of outside sources.
Second, identify three passages from your analysis that demonstrate your ability to question effectively the appeals or strategies of written or visual texts, and write a short statement that explains how the passage demonstrates your critical thinking and your ability to analyze (take apart and explain) the arguments and ideas of others.
Using your prewriting as a basis, narrate the process of your learning about evidence and analysis throughout the semester. That is, tell the story of how and what you learned about using and analyzing sources inside and outside of class, and in your writing. What specific events, assignments, activities, or revelations inside or outside of class were most helpful in your learning process? Describe these events or activities in detail to show your reader your growth through the semester.
In addition, again using your prewriting as a basis, describe in detail where and how you demonstrate effective use and analysis of outside sources/material in your essays. You may wish to interweave this description into the above narrative, or you may wish to first narrate, and then describe.
Process and Product
Look through all the writing you have done this semester, including prewriting and drafts, and choose the essay for which you best utilized the steps of the writing process. With this essay, you should be able to demonstrate or provide evidence of EACH of the steps of the writing process including brainstorming and prewriting, drafting, editing and proofreading, and revising, as well as your ability to incorporate the feedback of your peers and teacher.
Additionally, select the final paper that you are most proud of and you feel is the most polished. This essay may not necessarily be the same essay you chose to demonstrate the writing process, but it is okay if you do think one essay fits both categories.
Tell the story of the creation, development, and revision of the essay you chose to demonstrate your writing process. The process you describe will not necessarily be linear, but is often recursive, and will differ from person to person. As you tell the story, be sure to discuss, provide or link to examples that give evidence of each step of the writing process.
Now describe the features of the essay you chose as most polished. In your judgment, what aspects of the writing distinguish it as most polished? For example, you might discuss features such as effective word choice, varied sentence structure, focused organization, and compelling voice. Be sure to provide evidence of these features by linking to or including passages that demonstrate the culmination of your ability as a writer.
Read through what you have written in the three reflections listed above (Audience and Genre, Evidence and Analysis, and Process and Product) and jot down some notes about what these reflections reveal to others about your growth as a writer throughout the semester. Also, try to recall specific activities and/or readings from the class that aided this growth, or which made you more aware of yourself as a writer, or of your writing processes. You may also want to consider all of the various kinds of writing you have done this semester both in this and other classes, or even outside of the classroom, and jot down notes about the connections between this class, other classes, and larger communities.
Create an overview that combines narration of your progress in this class through the semester with description of the actual strategies you learned and used in the process of writing your essays and reflections. As you write you may wish to consider some of the questions listed below, but be careful not to allow those questions to dominate the structure of your reflection. Use these questions for brainstorming, and then integrate your different thoughts into a coherent essay discussing and demonstrating your growth as a writer.
How have you changed as a writer since the beginning of the semester? What activities, readings, discussions, assignments, or peer or teacher feedback changed you as a writer?
How has your awareness of yourself as a writer changed throughout the semester? What specifically has caused your awareness to change?
How did the awareness of the portfolio requirement impact your writing habits, processes, or awareness of yourself as a writer this semester?
How has collaborative writing and participation on the class blog this semester affected both your writing and your perceptions of yourself as a writer?
How has the development of this portfolio affected both your writing and your perceptions of yourself as a writer?
What was the most significant factor (person, event, activity) that influenced your growth as a writer? Elaborate on the nature and role of this influence.
There is no formal length requirement for these reflections. They should be as long as you find it necessary to fully answer the questions asked by each prompt, including ample evidence to back up whatever claims you make. For your printed portfolio, your essays should (as usual) observe the standard conventions and formatting for an essay under MLA, APA, or Chicago guidelines for style. For the electronic version of your portfolio, your essays should observe these conventions and be formatted in a way that is fully accessible and readable for online viewers (think about font styles, color choices, and text layout, and make sure all links are working).
The printed version of your portfolio should include copies of your final reflection essays, revised versions of three of the four major essays you wrote this semester, and all of the graded work you have received back during the semester. All of this material should be collected into a single folder, to be turned in at the time of the final exam. The electronic version of your portfolio should include your final reflection essays, posted as the main text for each of the four eportfolio pages, and your three revised essays, accessible through the links at the bottom of each eportfolio page.
Your portfolio will receive a grade that will count for 40% of your overall course grade. Of this, 65% will be based on the quality of your three revised essays, 30% will come from the quality of your final reflection essays, and 5% will depend on the layout and success of the electronic, web-accessible version of your writing portfolio. Successful revised essays will reflect serious thought and consideration of peer and teacher feedback, and will show clear effort to rework, revise and improve upon initial drafts based on both personal and outside input. Successful reflection essays will give honest answers in response to each of the above prompts, supported with sufficient evidence from your work this semester. Essays that are poorly developed, that fail to make and support clear claims, that have haphazard organization, or that adopt a tone that alienates or offends readers will receive lower grades, as will essays with surface errors so numerous that they interfere significantly with communication.