Rhetoric & Composition I: Autumn Quarter 2013 Rotating Header Image

Course Digital Writing Portfolio

Proposition #1: Learning without reflecting on what you are learning is meaningless.
Proposition #2: Digital portfolios are an excellent dot-connecting mechanism for synthesis and reflection. 

Assignment: Digital Writing Portfolio
Due Date: Final Exam Week; exact date and time TBA, depending on your section
Audience: Instructor, Classmates, WRD/FYW administrators, university assessment committees

Portfolios play many roles in academic and professional life: artists use them to  document and to showcase their work over time; architects use them to present drawings, media, and projects to clients; writers use them to make connections between the kinds of work that they do individually and collaboratively for any number of creative, academic, and professional goals and readers.

In each case, purpose and audience help to guide your rhetorical selection of materials, your reflections on those materials, and their presentation. In the First-Year Writing Program at DePaul, we use digital portfolios as a way for you to showcase your work, to explore what you’ve learned, and to show how you’ve met the First-Year Writing Program’s learning outcomes and your own writing and learning goals.


  • Synthesis essay, 750-1000 words, in which you think about yourself as a writer — theorize yourself as a writer — and provide specific examples from our class. Be sure to embed links to specific examples to your work. And this will be a good time to go back and reflect how well you’ve lived up to our Course Contract:
    • Perplexity.  For every assignment, you need to find some genuine question or perplexity.  That is, don’t just tell four obvious reasons why dishonesty is bad or why democracy is good.  Root your paper in a felt question about honesty or democracy—a problem or an itch that itches you.  (By the way, this is a crucial skill to learn for success in college:  how to find a question that interests you–even in a boring assignment.)
    • Thinking.  Having found a perplexity, then use your assignment to do some figuring-out.  Make some intellectual gears turn.  Thus your paper needs to move or go somewhere—needs to have a line of thinking.
    • Critical Thinking. This is the one common element that underlies all of our assignments, activities, and discussions. Be sure to review some working definitions of critical thinking so that you can work with some specificity. 
  • A process description of a revised project from our class, in two-column format, in which you show your process, your intended rhetorical effects, and the steps you took to achieve those effects
  • A showcase section of your work