Learning Portfolio (25%)

Note: Post your first rough draft/outline of your learning portfolio as well as questions for your teammates by 10 AM, date TBA.  Bring a  lap top to class. 

This final assignment is due 10 AM the day of our scheduled final.  Bring a hard copy of your portfolio to class and be prepared to share highlights and insights. 

Exemplary portfolios from previous years

1-2012
2-2012
3-2012
4-2011

Create a portfolio of written work 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 and critics you have come in contact with (no more than 1,500 words.) In fact, you should include a few passages from others that inspired you or helped you to think more deeply about an issue. Those passages, however, should not exceed 50% of your total selection. For all passages, be sure to identify the source (e.g. blog, comments, class notes, paper, book, film, article, etc.) One required source here is your first reflective essay and our feedback on it.  You must quote your first essay and include in your reflective essay some response to/reflection on our feedback as you track your learning and development in this course.

Reflective Essay
Then write a reflective essay (1,500-1,700 words) explaining what this collection as a whole means to you and how this portfolio reflects the changes in your thinking about spiritual journeys in general, spiritual journeys in young adult fiction and your own spiritual journey. Your learning experience is the subject of this essay. Use the passages you selected as evidence for the arguments you want to make. Please react to prompt # 1. Then chose one or two of prompts # 2-4 or come up with your own question(s).

1. How has your thinking about young adult fiction, the process of reading and writing, and the topic of spiritual journeys 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 ideas, themes, and threads you found in your writing and the writing you selected from others, keeping in mind your required inclusion of a passage from your first reflective essay and our feedback.  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:

2. How has your writing evolved? Which assignments were more comfortable and productive for you? Why?  What have you learned from reading and commenting on the writing of your peers?

3. How do your ideas connect to those you developed in other courses? How does this course fit into your overall undergraduate education?

4. How do your insights connect to your life, your personal values and convictions? How do you pan to make use of your insights in the future?  How might they affect your future path?
In reviewing your essay we will look for the following as they apply to the questions you choose (a more detailed rubric can be found on the bottom of the page):

  • 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 young adult literature and spiritual journeys, including accuracy of specific definitions, facts, and theories
  • 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 argument
  • Clear organization; engaging and comprehensible style; correct grammar and vocabulary

As was the case for all previous projects, this is not the place for flattery or arguments you don’t believe in. Your readers will not be interested in shallow statements about how good the course was (you can do this in your course evaluations.). They are genuinely interested in deep reflection and strong arguments. Essays that compellingly and convincingly argue that this course has been a waste of time and otherwise conform to the standards of excellence described in the evaluation rubric, will receive an A.
Our immediate goal in using this rubric will be to fairly, objectively and crisply calculate a grade so that we can post the final grade for the course in a timely manner.  You are welcome to the more detailed feedback we’ll have on this learning portfolio.  Please make an appointment during the summer or next semester, and we’ll discuss at a mutually beneficial time.

Adapted from:
McGregor, J. (Ed.) (1993). Learning Self-Evaluation: Fostering Reflective Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 56. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,102.

CATEGORY excellent good average
Focus/Specificity The essay is exceptionally tightly focused on the material of the course and the questions of the portfolio assignment.  It makes frequent and apt reference to the selected passages, to young adult literature, to the process of reading and writing, and the topic of the spiritual journey. 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 of the portfolio assignment. It makes appropriate references to the selected passages, to young adult literature, to the process of reading and writing, and the topic of spiritual journeys. At the same time the essay is personal and specific, putting the individual learning experience of the writer squarely at the center. The essay is well grounded in the  material of the course and the questions of the portfolio assignment. It makes appropriate references to the selected passages, to young adult literature, to the process of reading and writing, and the topic of spiritual journeys. 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: apt quotations are selected, appropriately introduced and fully analyzed. Terms such as, for example, young adult literature, journey and spirituality are clearly and accurately defined. The essay offers a good analysis of and reflection on the question(s) it investigates. It offers a unique perspective: good quotations are selected, appropriately introduced and well analyzed. Most terms are clearly and accurately defined. The essay offers considerable analysis and reflection.  Quotes are not always fully analyzed and the argument is often rather general. Sometimes the definition of important terms are vague or inaccurate.
Argument Provides surprisingly 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 avoids broad generalization of individual experience.  It takes into considerations 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 very well motivated.
Writing The essay possesses graceful sentence structures, creative use of language, sophisticated and precise diction and almost flawless mechanics. It is generally graceful with few mechanical errors, and the few that do appear arise from the complexity of the sentences (i.e., the errors are more sophisticated than those in a C essay). Sentence structures are not very sophisticated (they are short and choppy, or run-on, and/or fail to vary in form) but they are free from serious errors in grammar and punctuation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *