Final Portfolio

Final Portfolio

Due: Wednesday, December 16th

Worth: 20% of your total grade

Format: Save your entire portfolio as a PDF and upload it to our course site. Everything should be in Times New Roman 12-pt font, with 1” margins on all sides. Each document should begin on a new page (insert “page breaks” so that this formats correctly) and should be titled. Your last name and a page number should be on every page.

What you must include (more details below):

  • 750-1250 word reflective portfolio letter.
  • A heavily revised paper 1: rhetorical analysis.
  • A “revision report” on the rhetorical analysis in which you describe how your paper changed and developed through the writing and revision process. Include quotations and/or screenshots of your earlier papers as evidence.
  • A “hypothetical revision report” for your podcast.
  • A heavily revised research paper.
  • A “revision report” on the research paper.
  • Your four strongest blog posts, with an explanation for each about what makes it strong.
  • Your weakest blog post, with an explanation of how (specifically) it could be improved.

Grading the portfolio:

This project is the culmination of your work in this class and you have substantial time to work on it. It will be graded accordingly. I will focus mostly on three things:

  • The strength of the final products of your revisions. Refer to the original grading criteria of the rhetorical analysis and research paper, and know that the standards will be higher because you’ve had the opportunity to revise.
  • The depth of your revisions. Strong portfolios will show deep engagement with revision, rather than shallow copyediting or merely grammatical editing.
  • Your ability to reflect on your own writing by incorporating detailed evidence from your own drafts and texts, and your ability to articulate how you have met the four outcomes of this course.


 Research suggests that students who are able to reflect on their own writing process are better prepared to apply their writing skills in different contexts. This portfolio is your opportunity to prove that you’re ready to leave this class by demonstrating not only your ability to produce a final project, but also your ability to engage with the writing process. By using your own earlier drafts as evidence, you’ll show that you’ve learned how to integrate evidence to make a claim. This is why you have been saving multiple copies of each paper, and why I’ve been asking you to reflect as you write, whether in blog posts, in-class reflections, or cover letters.

Who is this for?

Me: I will use this portfolio to assess your performance, both by looking at the final, revised papers you produce, and by looking at your ability to articulate what makes for strong writing.

The “reflective portfolio letter” has another audience. The Portfolio Assessment Committee is composed of a number of first-year writing instructors as well as graduate students from across the university who serve as fellows in the Writing Program. Several of these individuals helped create the program learning outcomes and they are excited to see how students have achieved the outcomes. They will read your “reflective portfolio letter” in order to assess how well the Writing Program at Emory is preparing students to meet the first-year writing objectives.

What do I mean “heavily revised”?

 You will be including revised versions of your first and final papers in this portfolio. These revisions must show that you have more deeply engaged your topic than you had previously. Although I expect these papers will be well-edited and grammatically pristine, a revision that simply cleans up grammar and language would be a failure. More successful revisions might include more evidence, different evidence, or more thorough and effective analysis of your evidence; re-organization of your paper to reflect a more compelling argument, with accompanying revisions of your topic sentences and transitions; a re-engagement with your original ideas that showcases your ability to make nuanced rather than black-and-white claims, which might be reflected in a revised thesis, topic sentences, introduction, or conclusion; or resolving contradictions, logical leaps, or other errors of argument you have discovered in your original paper.

Your revised version may wind up being a bit longer than the original assignment. This is fine. However, you should be careful not simply to tack new paragraphs or evidence onto your existing paper—you must revisit the paper as a whole, potentially deleting, compressing, or reworking existing paragraphs. Revision can be as much about deletion as it is addition.

 What is a “revision report”?

For both of these major revisions, you will need to include a brief report (1 page, single-spaced) that explains and justifies your revisions. You should describe the changes that you’ve made, and articulate why. You should include comparative quotations or screenshots from earlier drafts that allow you to concretely demonstrate what improvements you’ve made, and why they were so necessary, referring to the language of our four course outcomes. If you use images like screenshots as supporting evidence, please label each “Exhibit 1 (or 2 or 3)” and include them at the end of the revision report. You can then refer to them in your text with parentheticals like “(see exhibit 1).” Consider the claims you made in your reflections about your papers, the suggestions that your colleagues have made through peer-review, and the questions I have posed when we’ve talked about your projects. 

What is the “hypothetical revision report”?

I’m not making you revise your podcasts. However, I would like you to compose a 1-page statement in which you articulate how you would have done so, pointing to specific quotations, sound effects, editing errors, etc. Be specific. If you would have included more convincing “expert testimony,” for instance, draft several sentences of potential script that you could insert. If you would have changed your music, what song would you have put in instead and why? Alternatively, you could imagine what you would have added or changed if you had been allowed to compose a longer podcast—say 10 to 15 minutes–or if you were going to begin to put on a whole series of podcasts that follow your “brand.” What did you do well that you might do more of?  (Don’t forget that you’ve already written a reflection for the podcast, and a blog post about things you liked about other podcasts. You can draw on some of these ideas.)

Reflective Portfolio Letter:

Develop a letter addressed to the Portfolio Assessment Committee that shows how you’ve achieved the learning outcomes for your first-year composition course. This letter should exhibit and discuss in detail concrete examples from your portfolio. You should write between 750 and 1250 words, not including the exhibits from your portfolio that you reference in the letter. I strongly recommend that you do this part of your portfolio last, after you’ve worked through your revisions and written your revision reports.

Because this is such an unfamiliar genre, I am including further specifications below:

Possible Approaches:

Feel free to use first person and write a narrative of your experience, rather than writing an argumentative essay. Because you only have 750-1250 words, you can’t include everything. Think carefully about how best you can show that you’ve met all four of the objectives for this course. You can document your learning for the committee by:

  • Telling a story in which exhibits from your portfolio play major roles.
  • Exploring each piece of your writing process and the part it plays in producing a final product.
  • Discussing your failures and how they turned into successes.
  • Describing your successes and then discussing how you intend to improve in other areas needing further developing.

Artifacts as exhibits within the letter:

Back up assertions you make about your learning by including exhibits from your portfolio. An exhibit might be

  • Quoted or block quoted material from an artifact.
  • A screen capture with callouts.
  • Reported or quoted feedback from others.
  • A series of illustrations (or quotations) that show how a particular artifact or part of an artifact evolved.

In every case, you should embed your exhibit in a discussion about its significance for your learning.

Use the Learning Outcomes as Guides for Reflective Writing

The committee will be especially interested to see whether and how you’ve achieved the outcomes listed below. Keep that in mind as you write and try to apply the rhetorical vocabulary that makes up the outcomes in your reflection. Consider the prompts below.

Outcome 1: Rhetorical Awareness and Composition. You will demonstrate understanding of genre, audience, and purpose in both reading and writing. You will analyze, use, and adapt generic conventions, including organization, development, and style, while composing in multiple genres and modes, including text, audio, and image.Ideas for getting started: Describe your portfolio. Walk the reader/viewer though the works it contains. Describe how these projects allowed you to practice writing for an audience in various ways, emphasizing in your description organization and word choice. Discuss the genres in your portfolio and how those genres speak to the audiences and situations your assignment asked you to address. How many different genres are you including in your portfolio and why?
Outcome 2: Writing as Process. You will understand and practice writing as a process, recursively implementing strategies of research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection. You will reflect on your own writing process, and learn to critique your own work and the work of others. Ideas for getting started: Consider describing the changes in one of the projects included in the portfolio from beginning to end. Did you use techniques that your instructor may have mentioned: outlining, word webs, response paragraphs, and blogging? Did informal kinds of writing find their way into the process such as emailing a professor about an idea, sketching out notes on a napkin at a coffee shop, or talking to a friend about your ideas? Ultimately, your writing process includes each step you take from the coffee shop napkin to an outline to a first draft and eventually, a final product.
Outcome 3: Critical Thinking and Reading Resulting in Writing. As you undertake scholarly inquiry and produce your own arguments, you will summarize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the ideas of others, which you will encounter in a variety of media: print, visual, aural, oral, and spatial. You will learn accepted and ethical ways to integrate other texts into your work. You will use writing as a critical thinking tool.Ideas for getting started: Think about what you have learned this semester in your development as a critical thinker and reader. What new realizations do you have about yourself as a person engaged in inquiry and scholarship? What projects in particular in your portfolio show your growing abilities to craft an argument, read other’s arguments well, and incorporate and challenge ideas from other’s writings? Explain one or two important choices you made in this project and how that work developed you as a critical thinker and reader.
Outcome 4: Hoax-Related Expertise. You will be able to write with clarity about the messy intersections of veracity and deception, especially as they apply to literary and popular texts, without being reductive or relying on binary thought. You will be able to support your own claims with reliable theoretical and historical materials.Ideas for getting started: Think about times in this class or in your own writing when you’ve realized that “is it true?” or “is it false?” are not the most interesting questions. Identify those times when you’ve felt ambivalent about the course material or the perpetrators of hoaxes. Consider how incorporating research helps you understand the broader, messier contexts that surround hoaxes or other untruths.