Midterm ePortfolio Submission Guidelines
To submit your midterm ePortfolio, make sure your ePortfolio is publicly viewable and post your URL to the assignment page.
*For technical questions on how to add content and organize your ePortfolio, consult the Canvas Student Help Guide on ePortfolios (Links to an external site.).
**How to Format Your ePortfolio FAQs
Reflective Context: The midterm portfolio is your chance as a student to write and reflect on what you’ve learned in WR39B so far and how you plan to keep improving your writing skills in the second half of the course.
Assignment: Your midterm ePortfolio should be organized into the following sections:
This introductory essay 1) makes an argument about your progress in WR39B so far–especially in the RA essay–and 2) analyzes all of the writing you’ve selected for the portfolio. The essay should include the following:
- Specific arguments about the advancement of particular writing skills through class participation and engagement, reading and writing homework, paper drafts and the revision process in all its stages, including peer review.
- Supportive analysis of specific evidence taken from your own writing and the feedback you have received. Evidence will include quotations, screenshots and other images of your writing, and/or hyperlinks.
- Your reasons for making the choices you made, and what you may have done differently; what you think you accomplished and what you’re struggling with.
- Your responses to the class texts and how these sources informed your own work and ideas.
- Your plans for the second half of the quarter–what you want to work on in the RIP or in other classes, how you want to develop your ideas, etc.
Beware: you should follow your instincts as well as your informed belief, not hubris or pathos. Consider what you did, what you could have done, what you believe you wanted to learn, etc. Remember that your arguments must be supported by the evidence of your own work–if these don’t reflect each other, than you’re not assessing your progress effectively.
Final Draft of Rhetorical Analysis
- Your portfolio will include your RA, as this is your most important assignment thus far and shows a culmination of your work up to this point. You should reference and comment upon this assignment in your portfolio introduction.
- The final draft should be pasted directly onto the page (not posted as a downloadable file) and clearly formatted and labelled.
RA Working Bibliography
- Your working bibliography should list all of the sources you cited in the RA, in correct MLA format, with annotations.
- Each annotation should contain the following information, written in your own words:
- Brief description of the author’s credentials (Google this info; one sentence is ok);
- Summary of the author’s main argument and key supporting evidence;
- Explanation of reasons why you chose to use this particular source.
- And yes—you should also annotate your primary source(s).
Artifacts (a.k.a. Process Work)
- You will also include 3-5 artifacts of your own choosing that show important elements of your writing process. Be selective—this isn’t about including all of your process work, but drawing attention to a few key moments that indicate significant changes in your habits, reading and writing process, and/or learning moments.
- Each artifact should be analyzed and connected to your arguments about your writing process and progress in the portfolio introduction itself.
- Each artifact must also be accompanied by an analytical caption, in which you explain why you’ve selected each artifact, building on the arguments you made in the portfolio introduction. Captions should be positioned at the top of the page, and perhaps distinguished with a different font color.
- Eligible process work may include in-class writing, critical reading exercises and RIP exercises, essay drafts, and/or other writing or notes relevant to our class. Your selections should offer compelling supporting examples for the points you make in your Portfolio Introduction.
- All process work must be consistently formatted, clearly organized and labelled.
- Read through all of your previous work and look for changes in development.
- Read through your reflective writing and think about your growth.
- Consider how you’ll tackle the second half of the quarter–what do you need to work on?
- Think carefully about how you can use concrete evidence to illustrate the claims you’re making about your work.
Additional notes on writing the Portfolio Introduction:
- Your arguments should relate the development of your writing skills to the context of academic writing. Put another way, how have you learned and adapted to the conventions of academic discourse throughout your writing process in WR39B?You may choose to write about anything related to your learning in WR39B, so long as you make arguable claims about your progress in class so far, logically supported by specific evidence from your work.
- Your selection of process work functions as supporting evidence for your claims in the essay–quote or integrate your writing directly using screenshots or photos so that you can analyze it properly.
- Cultivate your personal voice. Feel free to write in the first person; use “we” when referring to your group’s activities. However, a personal tone should not lead to informality or vague ideas; remember to maintain conventions of good writing as you describe your personal experiences and individual learning.
- The Portfolio Introduction is a formal essay and as such, you should organize your essay carefully: begin with an introductory paragraph and end with a concluding paragraph; in between, craft (more than three!) body paragraphs that each develop a single main idea. Your introductory essay should go through more than one draft; revise carefully and make sure to proofread for any lingering errors or typos.
- As much as possible, explain the relationships between the different assignments you completed this quarter. For example, how did particular CR or RIP exercises help you to develop and/or revise your essays? Your introductory essay should not be a mere laundry list of things you did over ten weeks—I already know what you were assigned to do. What I want to know from this document is how you made these tasks meaningful for yourself as a developing writer.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the negative aspects of your learning process as well as the positive. If you’ve experienced frustration, confusion, or failure, reflect on what caused the trouble and explain how you learned from it. And after only five weeks in this class, you probably still have some things to continue working on—be honest about what skills you need to keep practicing.
- Be as specific as possible! Quote your own work directly and consider including multi-modal elements—hyperlinks, screenshots, camera pics, and/or paper excerpts to illustrate your writing process. Before-and-after images work particularly well.
Below are some guiding questions you might use to jumpstart your self-assessment. I recommend you use these questions for focused free writing before writing your first draft, so that you can plan what you want to say; the more questions you answer, the better.
Keep in mind that simply answering these questions in paragraph form will not make a good essay–you do need a thesis of some kind and your essay as a whole should be coherent and cohesive.
A good strategy is to begin with your own learning goals for WR39B and/or the master list of course outcomes. How do your personal goals relate to the goals for the class? Which goals have you met, and which goals do you want to continue working on? Organize your reflective essay according to what you wanted to achieve and how you achieved those goals. Avoid a chronological summary of “things I did” or a simplistic discussion of how “I was a bad writer, but now I’m a better writer.”
On your rhetorical awareness:
- How do you understand the significance of rhetorical situation on a writer’s message?
- How do you meet the expectations of different, specific audiences (your instructor, your peers, yourself, the larger academic community)?
- How do you craft different personas to achieve different rhetorical goals?
- How does context dictate your other rhetorical choices?
- How do different rhetorical strategies influence one another in your writing?
On your understanding of genre conventions, especially fairy tale conventions:
- How has your understanding of fairy tales evolved since the beginning of the class?
- How do you understand the rhetorical significance of fairy tale conventions?
- How have you applied your newly-gained knowledge of fairy tales to your life and experience outside WR39B?
On your drafting process:
- How do you understand the importance of writing as a process?
- How has your drafting process evolved since the beginning of this class?
- Have you changed the way you take notes on your reading, in order to better prepare for later writing? How?
- What pre-writing methods do you prefer, and why?
- What types of drafting techniques and writing habits work well for you, and why?
On your revision process:
- How do you understand the importance of revision?
- How has your revision process evolved since the beginning of this class?
- How have you grown more attentive to broad conceptual revisions dealing with argument and analysis–that is, refining your ideas?
- How have you grown more attentive to organizational issues, like paragraphs and transitions?
- How do you respond to feedback, both from me and your peers?
- What kind of advice do you tend to give to other writers during peer review?
- How does giving feedback shape your own revision process?
On your use of secondary sources:
- How do you understand the usefulness of popular and scholarly sources?
- How do you select sources to respond to in your writing? Describe your process.
- How do outside sources shape your ideas and writing process?
On your development as an academic writer (so far):
- Have you experienced moments when the light bulb suddenly illuminated? Can you explain why and how this happened?
- Have you experienced moments of productive frustration or failure? Can you explain why this happened and how you learned from it?
- What would you revise further in the RA, if you had the opportunity? Why aren’t you satisfied with that element of the project and what specific changes would you make?
- How do you see your writing, at this point in WR39B?
- How do you view your position as an academic writer and/or as a writer in other contexts?
- How would you describe your authorial voice and style?
- What do you want to communicate as an individual and/or as a member of our UCI community?
- What plans do you have for the Rhetoric-in-Practice project? What writing goals do you have for the second half of the quarter?
How Will I Be Graded?
The RA essay will set the “base” grade for your midterm ePortfolio. The quality of the portfolio, especially the introductory essay, will either raise or lower that RA base grade.
Your work will be evaluated based on what you’ve written, not simply the time and effort you’ve put into this class. I’ll be looking for quality of execution throughout: complex, thoughtful ideas, detailed and careful analysis, clear organization, and overall polish.
An F is automatic if you fail to submit your RA (including working drafts), or regularly fail to complete and/or submit process work on time (including peer review). Evidence of plagiarism is also grounds for failure.
How to Format Your ePortfolio
Frequently Asked Questions on ePortfolio Formatting, Organization, and Captions:
Aside from your ePortfolio Introduction, the rest of your final ePortfolio is a selected compilation of the work you’ve completed in WR39B. As such, it should look good and reflect your identity as a thoughtful, individual writer. And it should be easy for me (and other WR39B instructors) to navigate and comprehend.
Here are several guidelines you should follow, compiled in the form of frequently-asked-questions:
1. Should I upload all my files or cut and paste them onto the page?
You should ensure that your work appears directly on the given ePortfolio page, cleanly formatted and easy to read without having to download a bunch of files. To be absolutely clear, YOU SHOULD NOT SIMPLY UPLOAD ALL YOUR FILES TO THE PAGE.
There are a number of ways you can present your work on your ePortfolio pages:
- Copy/paste your writing into the text box. This will be especially appropriate for your ePortfolio Introduction, but you can also do this for CR and RIP Exercises, and your essay drafts. It will take some time to format everything, so I suggest you begin well before Week 10.
- Convert your .doc/.docx files to .jpg image files. There are several free online file converters you can find through Google. I have had good experiences using Zamzar. There are also ways to convert to .jpg using PowerPoint or Paint. Find the method that works best for you.
- Upload screenshots of your work. This will be especially appropriate in your ePortfolio Introduction if you want to highlight specific snippets of your writing, as an alternative to quotations or hyperlinks. You might also show “before” and “after” screenshots of your revision strategies.
- Take pictures of handwritten notes and corrections of your writing and upload the images. These might be feedback from office hours or peer review, outlines or mind maps you jotted down in a notebook, in-class writings, freewrites, or any number of things. There’s no reason to exclude any handwritten material.
- ***Do not use the “Course Submission” option. This makes your work hard to view.
2. Can I use different fonts and colors?
Canvas doesn’t have more than one font style, so no choice there; however, you’d be doing a favor to your readers by increasing the font size to larger than the 8pt default size (I use 12pt).
As for colors, I’m not opposed to the use of different colors to 1) distinguish captions or annotations from your assignments, and 2) demonstrate revisions between drafts, as long as the colors are sensible and easy to read. This works well especially if you’re copying and pasting your drafts directly into a text box.
3. Does the ePortfolio need to be organized in any particular way?
Your portfolio needs to be easy to navigate, with everything clearly labelled. It MUST include the following items:
- Portfolio Introduction
- Rhetorical Analysis (midterm and final)
- Rhetoric-in-Practice (final)
- Selection of process work
- Working Bibliography
However, how you organize these elements is up to you. You are strongly encouraged to create separate sections, with each section containing multiple pages.
It is up to you to create your own section titles and decide how to group your essay drafts and process work together. Originality is a major plus!
4. Do I have to upload images?
Yes. Screenshots and photos are the best way to exhibit your writing, both in the introductory essay and throughout the rest of the portfolio, because they add visual interest and make it easier to distinguish between your writing assignments and your reflections on it.
You can include images of handwritten work you completed in class and/or notes you took during conferences and on your reading. You can also screenshot excerpts of your essays and other writing submitted to Canvas, as well as the peer review feedback you received.
You may feel free to include a picture of yourself or one or two pieces of thematically-appropriate imagery, but your focus should be on documenting your learning. Too many decorative images are distracting.
Make sure all of your images are oriented right side up (no sideways images!) and that they are big enough to read the text clearly.
5. What do you mean by “annotations“ or “captions”? What am I supposed to write in them? How long should they be?
Captions are basically brief annotations that explain the artifacts in your ePortfolio. These captions or annotations (we will use these terms interchangeably) should appear at the top of the page, perhaps distinguished with a different color.
Captions/annotations can describe:
- why you’ve chosen to include particular assignments in your ePortfolio;
- how an assignment demonstrates your progress as a writer;
- what you learned from completing particular assignments;
- what challenges you faced and how you learned from those challenges;
- how particular assignments shaped and/or changed your reading and writing processes;
- and so on.
Your captions should not merely repeat what you say about your work and writing process in the Portfolio Introduction. Use your captions to comment on what you learned/struggled with in more detail and/or with a different focus. Free to use language from the rubric, pointing to places where we can see a skill in action, improvement in argument or expression, etc.
There’s no length requirement for your captions, but in general, they need to be straightforward, thoughtful, and specific.
6. How many annotations/captions do we need to write for each assignment?
It’s up to you how many annotations to write for each assignment. You may choose to write a longer annotations at the top of the page that discusses the assignment as a whole. Or you may choose to write several shorter captions commenting on specific areas of the assignment—how you revised, where you had a significant breakthrough, etc.
Every assignment that you include in the ePortfolio must include at least one annotation. But you should write as many as you think necessary to achieve your rhetorical purposes.
REMEMBER: Each part of the portfolio is important. You can’t write a good introduction and expect a good grade if the evidence of your portfolio doesn’t add up. Likewise, you can’t get a good grade if your introduction and annotations don’t show an awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you have any other questions that should be included on this page? Let me know!
Portfolio Scavenger Hunt
Look back through all the writing you’ve done in WR39B so far. For each item below, choose a piece of writing that you can analyze as an example in your portfolio introduction.
As you work your way through the list, you should find that you can use a few pieces of writing to discuss multiple aspects of your writing process. These examples of your writing will be most useful for your portfolio introduction.
Your understanding of rhetorical situation (choose at least two):
- A piece of writing that illustrates your understanding of how to write to achieve a specific purpose
- A piece of writing that illustrates your understanding of how to address a specific audience
- A piece of writing that illustrates your understanding of how to write to address a specific cultural or social context
- A piece of writing that illustrates your understanding of how to construct a purposeful and effective persona (ethos)
Your understanding of genre (choose at least two):
- A piece of writing that illustrates how you follow a specific convention of travel writing to achieve a specific purpose
- A piece of writing that illustrates how you subvert a specific convention of travel writing to achieve a specific purpose
- A piece of writing that illustrates how you adopt the conventions of any genre (not travel writing) to achieve a specific purpose
- A piece of writing that illustrates your understanding of academic writing conventions
Your (ongoing) mastery of specific writing skills (choose at least two):
- A piece of writing that illustrates your ability to generate insightful claims
- A piece of writing that illustrates your ability to analyze a text
- A piece of writing that illustrates your ability to organize an argument effectively
- A piece of writing that illustrates your ability to introduce and integrate sources effectively
- A piece of writing that illustrates your ability to develop a paragraph effectively, or transition effectively between paragraphs
- A piece of writing that illustrates your ability to craft an effective sentence or choose precise, appropriate words
- A piece of writing that illustrates your struggle with a specific writing skill
Your writing process (choose at least two):
- A piece of writing that illustrates your unique voice as a writer
- A piece of writing that illustrates your note-taking strategies
- A piece of writing that illustrates your prewriting strategies
- A piece of writing that illustrates your drafting strategies
Your revision process (choose at least two):
- Two pieces of writing that illustrate a specific aspect of your writing before and after revision
- Feedback from a peer + a piece of writing that illustrates how you revised afterward
- Feedback from me (or Writing Center tutor) + a piece of writing that illustrates how you revised afterward
- Feedback you have given to one of your peers + a piece of writing that shows how you take your own advice
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