WRD 103: Composition & Rhetoric I: Winter Quarter 2015 Rotating Header Image

Digital Writing Portfolio: Theorizing Yourself as a Writer

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 maybe 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?
  • 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, or in your writing? How do your values, ideologies, and biases affect your ability to engage in truth-seeking behavior?
  • Required: Revisit and reflect on your Rhetorical Précis and your  Rhetorical Analysis Project: what did you learn? How did you learn it? How did you revise for less summary and more analysis?
  • * Required: Assuming that writing is revising, provide an extended example of conscientious revising — a process description — of your Op-Ed Essay Project. What happened between your initial inquiry question and your final draft conclusion? Tell us that story. Walk us through it. Provide quotes from your work.
  • Are you a bullshitter?
  • Can you have empathy for readers? Do you?
  • Where does confidence come from? How does that relate to your writing?
  • The playwright Arthur Miller said in an interview in 1961 that, “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” What does that conversation look like to you? What was your experience like reading the New York Times for 10 weeks?
  • What habits of mind are you pretty good at? How do you know? Which ones do you need to work on? What’s your plan for that?   
  • Be Katniss for a minute: what’s in your self-editing quiver for WRD104 and other classes where writing will be required?
  • Do you know how to ask a good question?

Planning notes