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  • The digital portfolio assignment replaces an exam or more conventional term paper; it strikes many writing teachers and writing program administrators as more "authentic" forms of both reflection and assessment, especially when we keep in mind that we're only getting a snapshot of a student's complex, contingent, still-being-negotiated identity as a writer, as a student, and as a person
  • In First Year Writing we value and emphasize the meta-awareness and metacognitive components of portfolios, in which students can articulate not only what they learned but how they learned it
  • We help students develop as reflective practitioners when we support them in their efforts to keep track of their work (collection), take responsibility for selecting pieces of their writing that represent their achievements (selection), and reflect on their own work in the course (reflection).
  • If students have a genuine measure of agency and ownership in the rhetorical design of their portfolios, they will commit more time, creativity, expertise, and care in presentation and delivery

Possible schedule for introducing Digication in your FYW courses,

and sustaining support for students


Week One: Introduce the concept of digital portfolios; encourage the relentless collecting and organizing of course materials: notes, drafts, feedback, revisions, class discussion and office-hour notes; encourage an ongoing and iterative process of collecting and reflecting as an additional strategy for backing up and archiving one’s work. Student writers respond well – often enthusiastically -- when they are clear on the purpose of the portfolio and are given the opportunity to perceive a value and benefits to portfolio work: reflection, meta-awareness, professional preparation, lifelong learning and growth, interdisciplinary & longitudinal writing, and digital literacy


WRD104 tip:  Since most students will have just finished composing and submitting WRD103 digital portfolios in the past two weeks, try to reconnect them to that process and start WRD104 by talking about them: ask about their experience -- positive, negative, or otherwise; invite a few people to come to the podium and show theirs; look for 103-104 connections and encourage them to start thinking on the very first day of class about their 104 portfolios, which you can then revisit every week. Ask if you can review their WRD103 portfolios in more depth during your first one-to-one conferences. It might help you, too, in that you can make connections with their previous work.


This way, by Week 10, they are already thinking in terms of portfolios; they can already imagine what is going to happen. This kind of scaffolding helps to reduce the possibility of an abrupt assignment when they are least amenable to it, during Final Exams. In our FYW experience, if students can see the process and the final portfolio as parts of a larger productive context -- pedagogical, ongoing, reflective, always-collecting -- then they seem willing to commit to it, and they are able to perceive the value.



Introduce Digication as an overview activity; consider using Digication as a digitally native writing space, where students compose their work in the platform initially, rather than working in a third-party-platform and transferring it later. 


Week Four: Discussion of organizing principles, formatting, and readability.

Subsequent in-class followup activities could include:

  • Problem-solving by inviting students to email you before class with Digication questions, giving you time to prepare overhead "how-to examples")
  • Workshopping text and image integration -- both how-to and citation styles
  • Choosing random portfolios to view daily, which can generate both ideas for the arrangement and presentation of materials
  • Provide students a method for working with metacognition and reflection
  • Creating hyperlinks
  • Managing comments and tags
  • Designing banners
  • Comparing digital reading practices and print reading practices

Week Five: Mid-term portfolio with reflection can be used to prepare for a more fully developed end-of-term portfolio and can serve your mid-term collection and reflection needs. Discuss rhetorically appropriate presentations, inserting hyperlinks, and copyright issues.


Consider scheduling an in-class presentation or workshop with the Writing Center


Week Seven: During one-on-one student conferences, include time for concerns about upcoming, end-of-term e-portfolios. 


Week Nine: Provide in-class time to work on digital portfolios; introduce FYW Portfolio Assignment and Scoring Guide: portfolio_scoring.pdf


Week Ten: Provide feedback on portfolio drafts; in-class peer-review time, especially for proofreading


Final Exam Week & Scheduled Meeting Time: meet with your class during the scheduled final-exam period to accept submitted portfolios and to problem-solve any submission issues that may arise. In First Year Writing, we are required to meet with our courses during our scheduled Final Exam meeting time.  Depending on your pedagogical emphases, you could use this time for presentations, or a portfolio-proofreading workshop, or portfolio submission-success activities, or some combination of these. Instructors are not allowed to require the submission of final portfolios prior to your scheduled Final Exam meeting times.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.