Dear Portfolio Assessment Committee,
Throughout this semester in English 101-016: The Personal is Public my writing has improved in rhetorical composition, critical thinking and reading, the writing process, and integrating material into projects. At the beginning of the course I thought that we would only be writing papers using a simple document format. Instead we have had the opportunity to choose a medium to present a project, and we have also used the website Scholar Blogs to create this portfolio. For my curated exhibit I chose to use a PowerPoint to display my work due to the fact that I could include pictures and other visual aspects. I also chose this medium due to the fact that it is easy to access and navigate, allowing readers to focus on the exhibit. I understand that using a PowerPoint only allows those whom I share the document with to view this exhibit, but for this assignment it was only necessary for my professor to view the document, so it seemed reasonable. For the portfolio however we were required to use the site Scholar Blogs to compose our work. This site seems fit in that it is accessible to the different faculty members that will be reviewing it, and the site allows you input documents as links. This aspect is very useful in that it allows access to the required documents in an organized and sequential manner.
In this course I have learned a lot about and grown in the skill of analysis. Analyzing others work and your own is an important skill in becoming a critical thinker and reader. By analyzing my own work I have realized that I was not very engaged in my own work or others. The introduction of the exhibit proposal, the curated exhibit, and the narrative essay allowed me to analyze text, evaluate and summarize authors ideas, and create an argument. For the exhibit introduction I examined the main idea of Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun. In the curated exhibit I examined the meaning behind not only text but pictures. I was able to determine the importance behind the two pictures which was to show that “people were coming together… to do something about the inequality they were facing.” This example also shows that I was able to integrate relevant ideas from other sources into my writing, since this picture was directly related to the topic of relationships for my exhibit. Then in the narrative essay I was able to examine my own writing, and the meaning behind why I wrote the way I did and why I included certain aspects in the exhibit. I was able to summarize the purpose of the exhibit which was to analyze “reasons for the broken relationships at the time… so that they can be prevented.” I was also able to summarize the argument of the exhibit which was the fact that there were broken relationships in the 1950’s due to segregation. For the narrative essay I chose to write in first person so that I could freely think about my choices as a writer, and I chose to examine the reason behind my analysis in the exhibit so that I could examine my skill as a reader and how well I understood the texts I was using.
I used the skill of writing as a process most in my curated exhibit proposal. Deciding on a topic for the curated exhibit was difficult, and the topic changed slightly as I found more sources and with each stage of revision. While finding new sources that fit the topic of my exhibit, I found some sources that were slightly disconnected from the topic, but by changing the wording of the topic I was able to integrate these sources. Also for this project there were steps such as the introduction, purpose, objective, and plan. Each of these steps encouraged me to think about my topic, why the topic is important, how I could use the sources I found to support my argument, and what I had to do to make a convincing exhibit. After all of this there was a revision stage where I put all of the sections together into a complete document, and had to make sure that the topic of my exhibit stayed the same throughout and had to make sure that each section fit together and flowed into the next.
The artifact that played the biggest role in improving the skill of integrating archival material into projects was the curated exhibit. For this assignment I had to find sources that related to relationships in Chicago during the 1950’s. Some of the pictures were hard to find, but the hardest part was linking all of the sources together. I had to find a logical flow from one source to the next which took some time and a lot of revision, but by the end of the project I feel that I have improved in this area. I now know how to find sources, and have a basis for how I should order and connect them.