Learning Portfolio

This final assignment is due by 12:00 noon on the last day of class. Please submit this assignment electronically via Collab in your Dropbox, bring a hard copy to our final meeting and be prepared to share highlights and insights.

We encourage you to partner up with a peer and provide feedback to each other prior to submitting your portfolio.

Selection of Passages
Create a portfolio of written reflections to represent your evolving thinking over the course of the semester. Because the learning portfolio is intended to be consciously and carefully selective, you should choose passages from your own writing, the writing of your classmates, or that of authors you have come in contact with. In fact, you should include a few passages from others that inspired you or helped you in your practice of and your thinking about mindfulness and compassion (or other prosocial qualities and practices) [note: every time “compassion” is used, it means more broadly compassion and the other prosocial qualities we explored this semester, i.e. empathy, loving-kindness, gratitude, generosity, and forgiveness]. Those passages, however, should not exceed 50% of your total selection. For all passages, be sure to identify the source (e.g., blog, class notes, book, poem, video, article, etc.). The total selection of passages should be no more than 1500 words.

Reflective Essay
Then write a reflective essay (1300-1500 words) explaining what this collection as a whole means to you and how this portfolio reflects your developing experience with regular mindfulness and compassion practices and your understanding of the basic principles of mindfulness and compassion as well as the foundational research that illustrates their mechanisms and associated benefits. Your learning experience is the focus of this essay.

Use the passages you selected as evidence for the case you’d like to make. The main prompt offers some guiding questions that I would like you to respond to in your essay; be sure to address the first prompt below. Additional suggestions follow; address one or more of these prompts or feel free to come up with your own questions, making sure that your essay has a clear focus.

  • How has your thinking about and your experience with mindfulness and meditation changed or been confirmed over the course of the semester? What does this development or lack thereof mean to you personally? Where do you plan to go from here? Please refer to specific experiences, ideas, themes, and threads you found in your writing and the writing you selected from others, keeping in mind the feedback you received on your Research Reflections assignments. Please also reflect on how specific class readings have contributed to this development, explaining which passages resonated strongly with you and why.

In addition to the question above, choose one or two of these prompts or create your own prompt:

  • How does a regular practice of mindful awareness and compassionate presence relate to your personal and professional goals? How do you plan to make use of your insights in the future?
  • Describe at least two ways that mindfulness and compassion training may enhance your health and functioning.
  • How do your ideas connect to those you developed in other courses? How does this course fit into your overall undergraduate education?

EVALUATION

In reviewing your essay, we will look for the following as they apply to the questions you choose:

  • Critical analysis of why and how your thinking (and/or writing) about the subject of the course has changed or not changed;
  • Evidence of your preparedness to take an active role as a participant in the discourse about mindfulness and compassion;
  • Ability to connect the course material to other fields you have studied (and/or to your personal interests in different areas of your life including your plans for the future and/or your overall education);
  • Depth and specificity of reflection;
  • Persuasiveness of your evidence-based case; and
  • Clear organization; engaging and comprehensible style; correct grammar and vocabulary.

FORMAT

Selection of passages may be bulleted. Cite blog authors with date and topic of entry. Cite references from articles and books, including page numbers for direct quotes.

The essay is to be 1300-1500 words (excluding references) and may be written in any format that you prefer. Either single or double space is acceptable. Fully cite all articles and books using the format of your choice, e.g., APA, MLA, etc.

EXAMPLES of previous students’ Learning Portfolio assignment:

RUBRIC

To pass the course, your portfolio needs to score average or above on the following rubric:

CATEGORY Excellent  Good Average 
Focus/
Specificity
The essay is exceptionally tightly focused on the material of the course and the questions/prompts of the portfolio assignment.  It makes frequent and apt references to the selected passages and to the first person experience with the mindfulness and compassion practices. At the same time the essay is highly personal and specific, putting the individual learning experience of the writer squarely at the center. The essay is firmly grounded in the material of the course and the questions/prompts of the portfolio assignment. It makes appropriate references to the selected passages and to the first person experience with the mindfulness and compassion practices. At the same time the essay is quite personal and specific, for the most part, putting the individual learning experience of the writer squarely at the center. The essay is reasonably well grounded in the material of the course and the questions/prompts of the portfolio assignment. It makes appropriate references to the selected passages and to the first person experience with the mindfulness and compassion practices. At the same time the essay makes personal connections and puts the individual learning experience of the writer at the center.
Analysis/ Reflection The essay offers an in-depth analysis of and reflection on the question(s) it investigates. It wastes no time stating the obvious but is highly individual: quotations are appropriately introduced and fully analyzed. Terms and concepts are clearly and accurately defined and used. The essay offers a good analysis of and reflection on the question(s) it investigates. It offers a unique perspective: quotations are appropriately introduced and well analyzed. Most terms are clearly and accurately defined and used. The essay offers considerable analysis and reflection.  Quotes are not always fully analyzed and the argument is often rather general. Sometimes the definitions of important terms are vague or inaccurate.
Argument Provides remarkably strong, coherent and compelling argument with a clear point, sound logic and offers vivid detail, and highly specific examples.  This paper makes an insightful argument with force and clarity. The essay presents a strong argument supported by good evidence.  It offers sufficient detail and uses examples to illustrate a point. Argument is solid but general.  At times, the essay lacks specific evidence, examples and detail.
Interpersonal Connection The essay exhibits a keen self-awareness and consistently avoids broad generalization of individual experiences.  It takes into consideration other perspectives and carefully examines their potential value. The essay exhibits self-awareness and, for the most part, avoids broad generalization of individual experience.  It takes into consideration other perspectives and examines their potential value. The essay exhibits some self-awareness and rarely generalizes. It refers to other perspectives but does not fully examine their potential value.
Organization The essay is very well organized. The ideas flow with elegance and ease, building a coherent whole. The essay is well organized.  The ideas flow logically and with energy. The essay is reasonably well organized.  At times, the transitions are not smooth.
Writing The essay possesses graceful sentence structures, creative use of language, sophisticated and precise diction and almost flawless mechanics. Full references are consistently and appropriately provided. It is generally graceful with few mechanical errors, and the few that do appear arise from the complexity of the sentences Full references are consistently and appropriately provided. Sentence structures are not very sophisticated (they are short and choppy, or run-on, and/or fail to vary in form). They are free from serious errors in grammar and punctuation. References are inadequately or inconsistently provided.