Rhetoric & Composition II Rotating Header Image

Course Reflective Portfolio

Self-regulated learning

At one time or another, we have all observed self-regulated learners. They approach educational tasks with confidence, diligence, and resourcefulness. Perhaps most importantly, self-regulated learners are aware when they know a fact or possess a skill and when they do not. Unlike their passive classmates, self-regulated students proactively seek out information when needed and take the necessary steps to master it. When they encounter obstacles such as poor study conditions, confusing teachers, or abstruse textbooks, they find a way to succeed. Self-regulated learners view acquisition as a systematic and controllable process, and they accept greater responsibility for their achievement outcomes. (Zimmerman, 1990.)

The Wikipedia entry on self-regulated learning makes a connection to metacognition.

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: 1250-1750 words, with well designed links to your work, and supporting visuals.

For your WRD104 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 together 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? Be specific, and provide specific examples — show, don’t just tell.
  • 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 — where you really stretched yourself intellectually in our class: 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? Be specific, and provide specific examples — show, don’t just tell.
  • Required: In terms of your own reading and writing literacy practices, what connections can you make between our print-and-digital reading efforts, our time spent annotating, reading, discussing, and making sense of texts and possibly unfamiliar information Be specific, and provide specific examples — show, don’t just tell.

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(s) sticks out as being generative for you?
  • Self-regulated reading

    “ENGAGED, SELF-REGULATED READERS are those who set realistic goals, select effective reading strategies, monitor their understanding of the text, and evaluate progress toward their goals. Readers’ level of self-regulation depends not only on their reading and self-regulation skills, but also on their beliefs about their efficacy to read, the value they place on the reading task, and their motivation to read and learn. For instance, how students monitor their comprehension during a particular reading event will depend on the other self-regulation processes and their personal beliefs. Thus, self-regulation processes, personal beliefs, and motivation are all interrelated and reciprocal.”

    — Horner and Shwery, “Becoming an Engaged, Self-Regulated Reader,” 2002

    What kind of reader are you?

  • TBA in class
  • TBA in class


Resources TBA

  • Example portfolios from DePaul, in progress (you’ll need to be logged in to view)
  • DePaul’s Writing Center: GetHelp — see especially “basics,” “compose & organize,” and “design” (under construction)