Monday, 23 Dec 2013


Participation Portfolio 1 (Optional Pre-submission Draft)

I can already tell that many of you are enjoying the process of getting to know each other and sharing your thoughts via your blogs. The blog portfolio is actually going to be due at 11:50pm on our first day back form classes; but I’m describing it here on this page, and giving you the option to submit a draft early.

If you have blogged for me before, note that I’ve added new components to the portfolio — a “Riskiness” category and a “Conclusion” section, and I’ve also tweaked the definitions of “Discussion” and “Intertextuality.”

Now that we have all had the chance to try out the blogs, and now that we have had the chance to read some interesting stuff, we are ready to move on to the next step: your online participation portfolio.

First, let me note that there are no reading quizzes in this course.

You get credit for doing the readings by writing, on your blog, some interesting and thoughtful post that demonstrates your ability to engage with the material at a level higher than summary. You might describe a connection between the reading and some other text on the syllabus, or you might draw on something you’ve learned in a different class to demonstrate your ability to apply what you’ve learned, or you might call attention to blog posts by two classmates who seem to disagree with each other.

If you are all caught up, and you’d like to get Unit 1 completely out of the way, or if you aren’t sure what to expect, and you’d like to start it early, I encourage you to submit this assignment on Monday the 23rd. (I’ll provide feedback around 10 Tuesday morning.)

So, while I’m posting this assignment as the last assignment due on the 23rd, it’s not actually due until classes resume. (The real due date is Jan 2.)

There are 3 blog portfolios due — one at the end of each unit. Each portfolio counts as 5% of your course grade, or one third of your participation grade.  (Unit 4 will have a different participation exercise; I’ll explain it when we get there.)

For Participation Portfolio 1, you will create a new blog entry that sorts and organizes your best contributions to the online discussion (mostly on your blog, but see below for details about how you might incorporate your Moodle work). 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 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 as usual, 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 into a paragraph of prose, but carefully chosen words that help the student 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 or 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 post them as additional entries on your blog, or you can just quote from them.

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 Jan 7 Tools Workshop discussion forum, where I write ‘blah blah blah,’ and I was happy that my classmate Jim Smith explained that the real problem was…”)

20130209-111011.jpgBecause EL231 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

  • Depth (you have gone into more than usual detail, in terms of length, complexity of argument, use of quotations, etc.)
  • Timeliness (you were unusually early with your post; or, you blogged something that you weren’t required to blog; or, you chose to return to an older post and expand or update it)
  • 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;
  • 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)
  • Intertextuality (something someone else wrote (in this class, on the syllabus, or anywhere) wrote sparked you to create a link to and/or include a quote from that include a quote, or otherwise engage 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)
  • 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 prove you posted something on your blog each time you were asked).
  • Conclusion (as you look back at your assembled work, to what extent does it 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.)

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 (via a comment or a “Blog Me” trackback)

Characteristics of an “A” portfolio

  • sections are labeled, and reasons for placing each post in each category are clear
  • several engaging items 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 (or maybe you’ve been able to classify each post 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 hypertext essay, with well-chosen links and a persuasive through-narrative
  • 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 (via a comment or a “Blog Me” trackback)

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!).

While this assignment is not due until Jan 2, if you post it by Dec 23, I’ll review it over the holiday and give you tips for any improvements that you might need to make.


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  4. jon3292 says:

    I am losing my mind, but I have seemed to have found it on our blogs!

  5. […] via Participation Portfolio 1 (Optional Pre-submission Draft). […]

  6. […] via Participation Portfolio 1 (Optional Pre-submission Draft). […]

  7. Sara Tantlinger says:

    Hi Dr. Jerz,

    The first paragraph says the blogging portfolio is due 11:50pm the day we get back, but then a couple paragraphs down it says it is due 10am Jan 2, so I wondered which is the correct time?


  8. […] via Participation Portfolio 1 (Optional Pre-submission Draft). […]

  9. reginasolomond says:

    My experiences in this course so far:

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  12. […] via Participation Portfolio 1 (Optional Pre-submission Draft). […]

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