This portfolio project is the capstone project for the course; please work hard to produce a high-quality portfolio that effectively documents your achievements in this course this term. This handout provides instruction about what you need to do. This assignment counts for 30% of your course grade.
Your portfolio should be organized into three main sections:
- Analytical Skill Building. To what extent has your work in this course helped you to improve your critical reading, writing, and thinking skills?
- Knowledge Acquisition. To what extent have you gained significant knowledge of central concepts, ideas, and perspectives of Western philosophy?
- Practical Application. To what extent have you learned how to connect course material to your own life?
Each section of your portfolio should include a narrative assessment that gives your honest and incisive reflections on how well you have not made progress in these areas. Your comments should include both an overall evaluation and reflective comments about your progress. For example, in the first section you might describe exactly how much your writing skills have improved this term and then go on to discuss work habits contributed to your success. Your discussion should be objective and balanced; for example, if there are factors that have made it difficult for you to achieve a certain course goal, please include them in your reflections!
Each section of your portfolio should also include specific evidence that documents your reflective narrative. For example, if you believe that your writing skills have improved you might want to document this observation with examples of weaker writing from your first reflection paper and with examples of stronger writing from your third paper. Likewise, if you observe that you took the writing process very seriously, you might want to document this by including examples of outlines, rough drafts, reading notes, etc.
The documentary evidence you include in your portfolio can be anything related to the course: papers, message board messages, your own notes or reading diary, course-related e-mail, etc. You don't need to have documentary evidence to back up every point you include in your reflections, but you should include evidence that documents the most important claims you make.
You have two options for synthesizing your narrative evaluation and documentary evidence. One option is to give the narrative and then give a separate listing of evidence. If you do this, you will need to carefully organize your presentation of evidence so that it is clear to your reader which items of evidence relate to which claims in your narrative. The second option is to integrate documentary evidence into your narrative
PORTFOLIO FORMAT AND LENGTH
There is no absolute length requirement; your job is to do what it takes to present clear and effective narratives and documentary evidence in all three of the areas listed above. This is a challenging task that requires a significant submission. For example, your narratives + documentary evidence would require 3-4 pages per section, or around 9-12 pages total. (If, however, you can get the job done in fewer pages, that is fine, and it is also fine to submit a longer portfolio as long as you do not "pad" your work with material that does not contribute to the objectives described above.)
Submitting your portfolio as a Word document is probably the simplest option. If, however, you would like to format your portfolio in a more creative way, please consult with your professor in advance to see whether that is acceptable. (Creative options might include submissions in HTML, PowerPoint, Flash, or other multimedia formats.)
GRADING AND EVALUATION
Your portfolio will be graded according to how well you (1) present thoughtful and clear reflections about your work in the course and (2) how effectively you gather, present, and organized specific evidence that backs up and supports your reflections.
What matters most is that your reflections are thoughtful and accurate and that they are backed up by specific evidence. Your grade is NOT simply a function of how well you say you did meeting the goals! For example, if you can thoughtfully explain why you did NOT make good progress on a certain goal, this will earn a higher grade than a perfunctory or unpersuasive assertion that you did well on everything.