portfolio essay

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The portfolio essays are somewhat different from traditional thesis-style papers or research papers, so please read the following instructions carefully. The first portfolio essay is due mid-way through the course and it constitutes a summary and analysis of the material covered during the first half of the course. Your final portfolio essay is due at the end of the course and it constitutes a summary and analysis of the material covered during the second half of the course.

Your essays cannot be simply a repeat of your discussion board posts strung together with a few connective sentences, and with a few words tweaked. You cannot receive grade points twice for the same one content. Your essays must contain new original substantive material. This will require you to make some new comments and to introduce a summary and analysis of some additional aspects of the course material beyond what you have covered in your discussion board response posts.

One very effective approach is to write your essay as if you were writing a letter to a friend. In your “letter” tell your friend what has been covered in the course thus far. Include whatever you think would be important for your friend to know. Obviously, you can’t cover every little detail/issue discussed in the broadcasts/lectures, textbook and discussion board, so you need to give your friend an overview of key points and, along the way, perhaps some more focused discussion of some things you found particularly interesting or controversial. Again, a very good way to do this is to go through the course content, module by module, discussing the most important aspects of what has been studies in each module.

Don’t concentrate on just one aspect of the course such as the textbook—be sure you draw upon the material covered in the broadcasts/lectures and discussion responses in addition to the readings. The main thing is to do a good job of “teaching your friend” about the topics we’ve covered thus far, and demonstrate to your instructor your knowledge of this material. You are not required to use the “letter to a friend” approach—it is merely a suggestion. Whether or not you use the “letter to a friend” format, your essay should summarize and reflect upon the major topics discussed in the course.

When writing your essay be sure to keep in mind the following grading rubric. Your portfolio essay will be evaluated on how well you:

1) Demonstrate that you have read and understood assigned portions of the texts & articles.

2) Demonstrate that you have viewed/listened to and understood the lectures and/or broadcasts.

3) Include your own commentary on, reaction to, reflection upon, or analysis of, aspects of this material.

4) Articulate the above in clear, grammatically correct prose.

You are encouraged to work on your portfolio essays throughout the course. I need to assess your knowledge of the topics and issues covered during the course, and the better the job you do of demonstrating your knowledge, understanding, and skills at analysis, the better the grade I can assign for your work in the course.

Each portfolio essay must be a minimum of 3,000 words of solid original writing. Any title pages and/or bibliography entries are not included in the word-count. You are always welcome to submit essays longer than the required minimum! Each essay must be double-spaced, 12 pt., Times New Roman, and must be submitted on our course site using the “Portfolio Essay” links provided in the modules. Please make sure that your essay text is readable in the assignment submission space provided on our course-site. If you submit a link to a document file without the text of our essay appearing in the space provided, I probably won’t be able to open the doc file. If I can’t read your submission text, I won’t be able to assign you a grade for that assignment.

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