Why Portfolios?

For You

  • Thinking. Writing weekly gives you a chance to check your understanding, clarify your thought, explore with others, and remember (the lesson of Chapter 1 of The Craft of Research).
  • Curiosity. Writing many small things weekly gives you a chance to master a variety of thinking activities, including observation, note-taking, drafting, illustrating, planning, critical reflection, and revision and to do so with with the support of others.
  • Wonder. Where the typical class has only one exam and one letter grade at the end of it, in this class you write a dozen assignments, have the opportunity to develop feedback from multiple sources, and try again and do things differently — and better!
  • Satisfaction. With each week you will develop better study methods, study habits, and advance your learning. Within a few weeks you’ll have written more than the typical class recommends you do in an end-of-term panic term paper. By the end of the term you’ll have become a writer.
  • Transformation. Within weeks, you’ll learn how to transform your concept, content, and form of writing from “writing to please the teacher and get a good grade” to “writing to learn, to explore, and to understand.”
  • Learning. Reviewing your work and that of others, you’ll discover different ways of addressing the assignment, and revising your work for the next week you’ll have an opportunity to do things differently, so that by the end of the semester you will have mastered one approach after another and so have developed far more sophisticated forms of inquiry, expression, discussion, and reflection.
  • And finally, Courage: once you “learn how to learn”, you’ll know better what to do, how to do it, and how to get started on your own and be well on the way to developing independence, autonomy, and commitments to self, career, and others.

For Me

  • Feedback. The portfolios offer me valuable feedback on your learning, too, so that each week before class I can better prepare for class and offer support and advice when you still have time to do something about it.
  • Evaluation. With each week I build checklist and amend our syllabus to make it human scale and relevant to the great diversity of preparation and interest we find in our classes. Additionally, I track where we are against our deeper teaching and learning goals — which you will find outlined on my Mega-Evaluation Rubric.
  • Grading After class is over, I compare what you have done to both a checklist of all assignments, offering me a comprehensive overview of your participation and against the class rubric, so I can evaluate your work’s breadth, depth, and consistency of development against a standard.