Below appears an authoritative version of the guidelines for the Final Portflio assignment (FinPort), superseding any previously published information regarding the FinPort.
As noted in the introduction to the Prop assignment (https://elliottrwi.com/instruction/northern-oklahoma-college/northern-oklahoma-college-engl-1213-composition-ii/northern-oklahoma-college-engl-1213-composition-ii-topic-proposal/), ENGL 1213: Composition II serves, among others, as a bridge into more formal genres of academic writing, including those that develop new knowledge—that is to say, researched writing. Because it is an introduction to them, and because the development of new knowledge is a complicated process, ENGL 1213 breaks down the process of writing such papers into a number of component assignments, mimicking the research process prevalent in the humanities and of which the sciences often use a variant. Reflection on research processes is often helpful in improving future efforts, and a final opportunity to polish the work done amid that process can serve to highlight what the students in a semester have learned about writing. The FinPort affords such reflection and such an opportunity.
Successfully completing the FinPort will require students to accomplish a number of tasks:
- Revise the FVs of the previous major assignments for the course (the Prop, the Explore, the AnnBib, and the ResPpr), working from the comments left by the instructor to make each a better piece of writing and representation of its genre;
- Compose a prefatory statement and table of contents for the FinPort;
- Compose a summative statement that reflects on the processes of research and writing conducted throughout the class; and
- Integrate the newly-generated text and the improved, revised materials into a single document, submitting the resulting paper electronically for assessment as a major assignment.
A portfolio is meant to showcase the best work its author has done to date. This means that comments on earlier versions of that work should be considered and incorporated into the work as appropriate. For the FinPort, the comments left on the Prop FV, the Explore FV, the AnnBib FV, and the ResPpr FV should be addressed, so that students can provide best versions of each of their assignments and showcase their work at the best level it can be.
In adopting those comments, remarks about substantive concerns such as content and organization should be addressed before worrying about such surface-level concerns as formatting (which will change slightly for the new assignment, as detailed below) and proofreading are treated. Also, as regards the latter, comprehensive proofreading was not conducted in the graded assessments of the earlier assignments, so students will need to go through their own work on a line-by-line basis after they have addressed substantive concerns, ensuring that old errors are eliminated and new errors are forestalled.
Simply providing a set of documents will not make clear what purpose those documents are meant to serve. Nor will it allow for readers to navigate the documents easily. As such, some front matter for the FinPort is advisable; it should take the form of a brief prefatory statement and a table of contents. The former allows readers to understand what is going on. The latter helps them to make their way through the document.
The prefatory statement should follow a four-line heading (student name, professor name, course and section, and date of composition) and a descriptive title for the whole of the FinPort. It should consist of 90 to 110 words (likely a single, brief paragraph) that outlines the intended purpose of the FinPort and the contents that follow. The purpose of the FinPort should be something outside the walls of the Composition II classroom, given the intent of the class to address issues beyond itself; listing a purpose such as “making sure I get a good grade in the class” is not likely to be helpful.
The table of contents should follow the prefatory statement. It should adhere to general expectations of such tables, listing the items in the FinPort in the order of their inclusion and noting the pages in the document where they can be found. (In preliminary drafting of the table, the entries can be stubbed out, the page numbers filled in once they are determined.) Items at equivalent levels of importance should align together, working in from the left margin. Page numbers (beginning at 1 for the prefatory statement and proceeding continuously throughout the document) should align to the right margin in any event. Leaders are helpful but not necessary.
Note that the prefatory statement will take no specific heading, so it will not appear on the table of contents.
Note also that the table of contents should take a heading similar to that accorded the component pieces of the FinPort, but it should not appear on itself. That is, there should not be a listing on the table of contents for the table of contents.
Just as a set of documents needs some explanation of its purpose and a guide to navigating it, it will benefit from ending with some materials that move towards something beyond itself. For the FinPort, such materials will take the form of a summative statement of 275 to 325 words (probably two or three brief paragraphs) that assesses the methods of writing and research developed during the semester and points towards their implications in future coursework and life outside the classroom. The idea is that the underlying processes of putting together the earlier documents included in the FinPort will be encapsulated in the summative statement and an idea of how they might be applied later will be provided.
Once older materials are revised and newer materials are composed, they must be integrated together to produce the actual FinPort. The integration will call for some changes to be made to the documents written earlier in the semester and revised for incorporation into the FinPort, but the adjustments should be accomplished easily.
The text of the FinPort should consist of the following items, in the order listed:
- Prefatory statement (with the four-line heading and descriptive title for the collected FinPort, as noted above)
- Table of contents
- Revised/corrected Prop
- Revised/corrected Explore
- Revised/corrected AnnBib
- Revised/corrected ResPpr
- Summative statement
Each of the components after the prefatory statement should have a suitable descriptive title, indicating both what the component is and what it contains. The title should be formatted in a way that indicates its subordination to the collective title for the FinPort, so that each acts as a subject-heading rather than as an independent title. (Any of the documents that already contained subject-headings needs to have its subject-headings downgraded by one level to subordinate them appropriately.) As such, each component after the prefatory statement should not have a four-line heading. Each component should, however, begin on its own page, and page numbering should be continuous throughout the document.
The FinPort is due electronically before the beginning of class time on 27 April 2016. It must be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format. (No other file types will be accepted; submissions in another file type will be treated as though not submitted.) The text should be double-spaced on letter-size sheets with one-inch margins on all sides. It should be in 12-point Times New Roman, Garamond, or Georgia type. Page numbers should appear in the upper right corner of the page, with the student’s surname preceding the number; page numbers and surnames should be in the same typeface as the rest of the document. Paragraphs’ first lines should be indented half an inch from the left-hand margin; subsequent lines should be flush left. Citations in the AnnBib and in any Works Cited lists (the ResPpr and perhaps elsewhere) should align left with the first lines flush to the left margin and subsequent lines indented half an inch; Works Cited lists should begin on new pages and have headings that subordinate them to the texts of which they are components. Double-spacing remains in place, with the exception of the additional spaces requested in the AnnBib. Usage should conform to standards promulgated by the MLA and discussed during class time.
The FinPort will be assessed as a major assignment worth 25% of the total course grade according to the rubric below. The text and comments made about it will be returned to students via email.
Students are encouraged to consult with the instructor and with tutors in the Student Success Center during the process of compiling the FinPort. No extra credit will be afforded to the project for doing so, but doing so is likely to improve the grade received and will likely be considered positively in the Prof score awarded at the end of the term.
The rubric through which the FinPort will be assessed can be found at the following: G. Elliott ENGL 1213 Composition II Final Portfolio Grading Rubric.
A targeted sample of the FinPort is available here: G. Elliott ENGL 1213 Composition II Final Portfolio Sample. It adheres to the guidelines articulated on this assignment sheet and can serve as a useful model to follow.
Given that the FinPort is, in large part, a compilation of other documents that have been reviewed two or three times each, the focus of commentary on it will be on the arrangement and presentation of those documents and on the new materials composed for the FinPort. The expectation for revision remains high, but it is a matter that has already received attention, and more attention will be paid to what has not already received it than to what already has.
Also, the FinPort is a collection of academic writings. As such, it must still strive to adhere to the conventions of formal academic research writing—which include full and appropriate documentation of the sources used to inform and compose it. Failure to provide appropriate citation may be treated as an academic integrity violation.
Geoffrey B. Elliott
12 April 2016
Updated to include assignment information and an assignment sample.