Final Project ENGL489 Advanced Portfolio Workshop
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310 Tillinghast Hall
Bridgewater State University
Spring 2019 Office Hours:
And by appointment.
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The idea of this being a capstone experience means that, by the end of it, you should be ready and willing to work on a major final project. I realize that some of you are in this class at very different moments in your academic careers and are here for very different reasons. But the idea of the final project still holds. During the second half of the semester, you will conceive and write a project of your own design. We can (you and I) discuss the scope and nature of your individual assignment, but, in the end, it will be your choice.
I would suggest that you select a project that could have meaning to you beyond this class--a text you might use to apply for a job, for an MFA or MA, for a teaching portfolio, for publication. But, as I said, I know that not all of you are at that place in your life. The other option is to write something you've just always wanted the chance to try and write. There are some risks to a choice like that: you might not produce a final text that is as polished as it might be if you had spent a lot of time previous to this class writing in the genre. But that's OK. The most important thing about your assignment is that it be something you really want to write, really want to commit to, and are ready to work on and get feedback on.
Final projects will get workshopped once by the whole class. And you can use some of your conferences with me to get additional feedback. You'll pass out or email this space or via email the week before it is to be workshopped. Folks will read it and write you the same kinds of comments I have modeled for you in class and that you, presumably, have been writing to each other for the rethink/revise project. Folks who are workshopped earlier in the semester will have draftier drafts than those folks being workshopped closer to the end of the semester. You will sign up for workshops around the midterm portfolios are due. You can sign up by clicking here.
At midterm, as a part of your midterm portfolio, I will ask you for an overview of what you are doing for a final project. I'm asking you to do this so you don't do what I might do: put off making a decision, put off the writing, put off the work. Once you pick, you will need to make an extraordinary argument for changing. Here is what I am asking you to do as part of your midterm portfolio (this is lifted directly from the portfolio page on this website:
A proposal for your final project. In the midterm portfolio, I would like for you to include a one page, typed (single-spaced) discussion of what you your final project is going to be. Tell me about the following in your one page:
- What genre are you writing in?
- How would you briefly summarize the writing you will be doing in the project?
- Why this project and not some other project?
- What are you nervous about as you undertake this project (talk about yourself as a writer here; don't tell me about how you are worried about graduating or fitting all the work in--all that is a given)?
- What might you do to help you know how to do this project better (what kind of reading, what kind of research, what kind of exploration)?
I know that this doesn't really give you a lot of rules to follow, which can be maddening, but I am available to talk through possible topics (Could be a good reason for a conference. Sign up here). And a final project shouldn't be about rules; it should be about you. Most of all I just want this to be a successful, meaningful experience for you. I want you to write something you are proud of.
FINAL PORTFOLIO INFORMATION
I write from South Dakota, and I apologize in my delay getting this out to you. Days are very filled here. What follows is everything you should need to know to finish up in our class. Beyond emailing all of you, I am also putting this information on our syllabus, on our portfolio page, and on the final project assignment page. I am hoping that will be sufficient.
- As I said during our last two meetings in class: portfolios are due to me on Monday, 13 May 2019. You can submit your materials electronically if you so choose. You can drop it off to my Tilly 310 office if you are on campus.
- WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR FINAL PORTFOLIO: There was some question about whether the portfolio assignment as described online was accurate and, in short, it pretty much in. I quote here directly from the portfolio page:
“And that's what your final portfolio should be: a collection of your best work. Some of you may need to consult with me because you will either have more or less pages, but, generally, I am looking to see 15 to 20 pages of your best work from this class. You will have time in class, about an hour, to write your final portfolio cover letter. That cover letter is also much simpler than your midterm cover letter. Here, explain to me why this is your best and brightest work and what you did to get it that way. Additionally discuss what your next step is (if you have one) as a writer.”
A few points of difference:
- we did not, unfortunately, have the chance to work on websites. So you don’t have to worry about posting anything to anywhere.
- I just need the 15 to 20 pages of revised work from the semester. Based on what I say in workshop, most of you will include your midterm portfolio material as well (probably with some revision). You may include polished versions of what appeared in your writer’s notebook as well.
- Because our actual final exam period was canceled due to my trip, you will obviously not have any time during a class period to work on a the portfolio cover letter. You will need to turn that in with your 15 to 20 pages of revised writing.
- That said, the content of the cover letter remains the same: why is this your best work, and what did you do in revision to get it that way. And, finally, you can talk about where you want to go from here as a writer.