11/27/12 McElroy - WEPO SRR on Portfolio

“They (portfolios) are, first, longitudinal in nature; second, diverse in content; and third, almost always collaborative in ownership and composition.” A portfolio is meant to demonstrate how its creator has improved their work over time. Our E-portfolios are to include metacognitive work: work that is introspective and comments on it’s on process, etc. Yancey says the purpose is self-reflexiveness, to supplement the works with commentary for further understanding of the writer, to enable the author to see their work through a “terministic screen” (Burke’s terminology) etc, etc.

Teacher evaluation causes a product-based methodology, which doesn’t necessarily demonstrate the author’s growth as a writer. The author is simply trying to get a high grade. I think if the author has the teacher in mind as the audience, he or she will write a totally different paper than if he or she had their peers or simply anybody in mind as their audience. For example, they might want to show off by inserting vocabulary words from their class’ textbook, making certain parts seem forced. Yancey says the portfolio helps eliminate the first issue (and another of lesser importance in my opinion), by does not address the issue I’ve raised.
Making a portfolio is an opportunity to recontextualize previous works. It gives you a chance to go back and say, “This is actually an example of X, even though the topic exemplifies Y and Z. From doing this assignment, I learned A, B, and C.”

Teachers and their guidelines play an important role in students creating portfolios. Their constructive criticism is crucial to the outcome. Portfolios might be set within narrow guidelines, in which case, they are specific to the material in the class and are not as general. Addressing the teacher’s material is crucial in this situation, but this may in turn hamper the practicality of the portfolio itself for use in other scenarios. For example, in our portfolio assignment, I might want to use the website for my portfolio on my resume to supplement a job application. And so, I should focus heavily on the presentation and diversity of the webpage and less so on metacognitive commentary. Employers probably don’t want to read too much of that. I suppose ideally one should do the assignment to the teacher’s specifications, and then go back and edit it later for practical use. That’s surely what I’ll do after I receive my grade for this project, Stephen.

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