Thursday, 09 Mar 2017


Weblog Portfolio

Recall that I’ve asked you to demonstrate your ability to respond to texts in depth, in a timely fashion, to spark and participate in discussions, and to post SOMETHING for every required text. I don’t expect every post on your blog to excel in every category. Your portfolio is your opportunity to showcase your work, reflect on your progress, and develop a plan for improvement.

To complete this portfolio assignment, click the “Login/Blog Me” button on this page,  in order to create a new blog entry. (The text that pops up will be the standard template, but you can ignore those default instructions in favor of these more precise instructions.)

The precise categories that I’ve created for the the portfolio assignment change a little from class to class, so the examples below don’t precisely match what I’m asking you to do; however, if you’d like models of blog portfolios from other classes, here are some good ones:

Either way, note that the portfolios are more readable because the links the students created are not just the ugly URL dropped from the sky, but carefully chosen words that help the author to make a particular point.

A note about non-public contributions:

Most of our work will be on your blogs, but if you want to make a reference to something you posted to Canvas, recognize that most potential readers of your blog won’t be able to access those files. I recommend that you emphasize your public contributions, but if you do refer to your non-public contributions, you can publish them as additional entries on your blog, or you can just quote from those private contributions.

In order for work that you’ve already submitted for another assignment to have much value in your blog portfolio, I would expect you to do more than copy-paste your work from one area to another. Thus, you might write something like “I struggled with the same problem in the close reading workshop, where I write ‘blah blah blah,’ and I was happy that my classmate Jim Smith explained that the real problem was…”)

20130209-111011.jpgBecause any college class worth the tuition asks you to venture into new territory, I’m asking you to think of a “Safe vs. Risky” category, where you can demonstrate your ability to differentiate between posts that are mostly “Safe” because they stick close to what you already know and understand, and “Risky” because you are trying something new.

Bloom’s taxonomy would describe as summarizing/understanding/applying as safer intellectual activities, and analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creation as riskier ones. (See image at right, or Bloom’s New Taxonomy.)

Portfolio Categories

First, a cover post that introduces your blog (so that a stranger who came across this page would understand its purpose), and that introduces a main idea that the following details will help you to support. Provide a conclusion that connects what you have blogged to your progress towards meeting the course goals. (Check the syllabus.)

  • Depth (you have gone into more than usual detail, in terms of length, complexity of argument, use of quotations, etc.)
  • Riskiness (you have not only posted several entries that build on your strengths, you have also taken risks that take you out of your comfort zone);
  • Intertextuality (something someone else wrote — in a class assignment, in a reading on the syllabus, or just about anywhere — wrote sparked you intellectually; perhaps you linked to a classmate’s blog post, quoted something someone said in class, brought in a current event or something you learned in another class, or otherwise demonstrated your ability to draw on more sources than just the assigned textbook)
  • Discussion (something you wrote on your blog or on a classmate’s blog launched or participated substantially in an extended, thoughtful discussion — one that you helped to sustain by returning and posting further comments)
  • Timeliness (you were unusually early with your post; or, you on the spur of the moment blogged something that you weren’t required to blog, outside of class time; or, you chose to return to an older post and expand or update it)
  • Coverage (sometimes just keeping up, or catching up, is worth a pat on the shoulder; every post you write doesn’t have to be brilliant; here is where you can demonstrate you posted something on your blog each time you were asked to respond to a reading).
  • Cover Post/Conclusion (begin with an introduction and a main claim; use the details above to support your claim; to what extent does your post provide documentation of your progress towards achieving the course goals? Review the course goals, as stated in the syllabus; pick one or two that are most important to what you want to get out of this class, and using the information you have provided in your portfolio, assess your progress.)

Somewhere in your blog portfolio, I ask that you include a post that you wrote that draws upon what you learned by watching SHU’s production of Nine. (Don’t just throw in a random “Here is my post on Nine.” Instead, as part of the paragraph you write that presents your examples of riskiness, or depth, or whatever, I’m asking you to demonstrate how what you learned about Nine fits into the accomplishments you are presenting in your portfolio.)

Characteristics of a “C” portfolio

  • sections are labeled, and reasons for placing each post in each category are clear
  • a stranger who comes across your portfolio entry would be able to figure out the purpose of the post
  • your instructor can follow links to the work that you identify as most representative of your online contributions
  • “coverage” may be one of the bigger categories
  • a small number of good entries appear in multiple categories
  • hyperlinks may be just the title of an entry or the URL of the entry, rather than meaningful words chosen as part of a well-crafted, engaging reflection on your own writing
  • conclusion includes a thoughtful statement, supported by the evidence found in the rest of the portfolio, that reflects on strengths and weaknesses, and includes a plan for improvement
  • submitted via a working link

Characteristics of an “A” portfolio

  • sections are labeled, and reasons for placing each post in each category are clear
  • several engaging items (not just a single example) help you make substantial points under the “Depth,” “Timeliness,” and “Riskiness” categories,
  • each category contains more than a stark list of posts, but a narrative that demonstrates your willingness and ability to analyze your own work. (For instance, you might explain why a particular post illustrates “Depth” at a “safe” level, yet a different post illustrates “Depth” at a “riskier” level.)
  • the “Coverage” section is small (you’ve been able to classify almost all of your posts in some other category)
  • a stranger (or future potential employer) who comes across your post would find not not a routine “blogging homework” assignment, but an engaging essay (with well-chosen hyperlinks links and a persuasive through-narrative that demonstrate you are taking advantage of this opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, using evidence to support your position on a complex topic without a single obvious answer)
  • the portfolio may not reflect perfection; in fact, even the best portfolios will include an insightful self-assessment that includes a plan for further development
  • submitted via a working link

URL Alert: To get full credit for your portfolio, make sure that your links work — if there is a “php” somewhere in your URL, that’s a link to the editing page, and anyone who clicks it will be prompted to log in with your user ID and password (not helpful!).