Instead of taking a final exam, you will compile an electronic writing portfolio for this course. This end-of-term portfolio stands as the record of your development as a writer, reader, and critical thinker. It also shows your involvement in the course. I recommend that you start working towards your portfolio as you are reading these words.
The digital portfolio can be published in different places. The easiest way to publish your portfolio is in BB. Think about it as posting a separate thread in your own personal folder. Then you can post all portfolio items as “replies” to this thread with the appropriate title in the subject line. The portfolio can also be posted as part of your published personal website in Western’s free server space or elsewhere on the web. (Western’s website space is not to be confused with BB’s Homepage.) I would strongly encourage you to learn basic web-authoring skills while you are in this course. If you do, you’ll get extra credit. Most importantly, digital literacy is extremely marketable in the world of work. English majors should seriously consider all opportunities to improve their technology skills.
An additional possibility to improve your technology skills is to create a video file (something similar to my video files) or short movie for your portfolio. This project is an option for ambitious students and for those who want to add more genuine fun to the course. Basically, you would shoot a video and put it on the web as part of your portfolio. I can give you information about where and how to get technical help for this project if you choose to do it. The content and function of the video can be negotiated and depends on your personal goals and creativity. All ideas are welcome, but here are some of mine:
Instead of the portfolio cover letter, you can introduce your work in a video.
You can take an aspect of creative nonfiction, the writing process, peer editing, etc. and shoot a documentary or an interview with students and experts.
You can do a “video paper” which is a combination of text (i.e. your assignment) and the reflection on that text, including additional background information of your topic, life, etc.
Video autobiography or memoir as an alternative (but not substitute) to your written assignment.
These projects should not be very long. Space on the server might be limited and viewers lose interest if the video is longer than 10-15 minutes. Please let me know at the beginning of the course if you are interested in this project.
In addition to posting your portfolio online, you will submit a copy of your portfolio on a CD, DVD, or floppy disk which I will keep for my own records. (No zip disks please.) You can send this to me via regular mail towards the end of the semester.
Again, it is important that you keep several electronic copies (and at least one hard copy) of all your work throughout the semester.
Here is what you will include in your portfolio:
Checklist for Portfolio
Letter to the reader (arguing for a grade + self-evaluation + reflection on what you have learned in the course + explaining changes between drafts, etc.) or Reflective Quick Time or YouTube video or audio file
List of Extra Credit assignments + reference to location of evidence
Revised Paper 1 (final draft)
Revised Paper 2 (final draft)
Confidential evaluation about peers’ performance as a group member to be sent to me via email
Not preparing a portfolio equals a failing grade. Incomplete portfolios will not be accepted and will not be graded.