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Digital Writing Portfolio

Let’s begin with a claim: learning & teaching without reflecting on how, what, and why we are learning & teaching is meaningless. In First Year Writing, we believe that a digital writing portfolio is the best platform — like a dot-connecting mechanism — for supporting your reflections.

Required: Synthesis/Reflective Essay in which you theorize yourself as a writer: 1000-1250 words, with links to your work, images from your reading, and a SoundCloud recording of you reading your Op-Ed essay aloud. 

For your WRD103 digital portfolio, I have created a basic Digication portfolio with a recommended organizing principle. Note that each section will need a short explanatory note orienting readers to that section. 

Audience: Instructor, classmates, WRD/FYW administrators, university assessment committees

A Note on Reflection

Reflection refers to the iterative process that we engage in when we want to look back at some activity or decision we’ve made, to think about what we’ve learned from it, and how we might use it in the future. Reflection is a powerful tool in teaching and learning, and outside of academics, reflecting is a common tool among professionals and organizations as a way to establish values, goals, and future actions:

    •    What did I do? What is significant about it?
    •    Did I meet my goals?
    •    When have I done this kind of work before? Where could I use this again?
    •    Do I see any patterns or relationships in what I did?
    •    How well did I do? What worked? What do I need to improve?
    •    What should I do next? What’s my plan? 

Reflection is also challenging: by its own nature, it requires honesty, self-awareness— what some people call meta-awareness or metacognition— and the ability to think critically about the conditions of our work and its outcomes. 

Composing your Reflective Essay, in which you’ll theorize yourself as a writer:

  • Required: What kind of writer are you? How do you know? Are you a bullshitter? What’s your plan for that? 
  • Required: Revisit my claim from the first day in class, when I tried to argue that “good writing” is not merely “correct,” spell-checked, and mechanically sound writing, but the result of rigorous, ongoing, reflective and critical thinking in collaboration with me and with your classmates. In terms of  your rhetorical situation, portfolio readers will be especially interested to read about how, when, and where you challenged yourself: how, when, and where, for example, did you reflect on your values, ideologies, and biases in class discussions, in readings, in office hours, while out walking around, or in your writing? How do your values, ideologies, and biases affect your ability to engage in truth-seeking behavior?
  • Required: Op-Ed Process description, in which you walk us through what was supposed to happen vs. what actually happened. Tell us the real, actual, genuine story of your Op-Ed. 

Those three required components conventionally make up about one-half — more or less, give or take — of a portfolio reflective essay, leaving you some time and space for reflecting on:

  • What’s in your self-editing toolkit? Can you sit down to write an essay and be 80% done?
  • Arthur Miller: “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” What are those conversations, from your perspective? What has it been like reading the New York Times for 10 weeks? What article sticks out as being generative for you?
  • TBA in class
  • TBA in class
  • TBA in class

Planning notes