Reflect

Project/Course Portfolio: Writing a Reflective Cover Letter

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Robert Fornal


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Robert Fornal

In a portfolio, your goal is to reflect on how and why you have grown as a writer through the processes in this project and/or course. The focus will be on your self-evaluation and reflection as a writer and learner.

Components of a Course Portfolio

Most portfolios are made up of two major components:

  • The Reflective Cover Letter, and
  • All of the work in the project/course compiled in your portfolio site.

Features of a Reflective Cover Letter

Your Reflective Cover Letter is basically a piece of source-based writing, much like a research paper that you might turn in for another class. The research you are conducting, however, is on your own writing and progress, and you are investigating how well you have done this semester and what you still want to work on. You are not required to use any outside sources for this project; your primary resource is your own experience and knowledge of yourself as a growing writer. However, you will want to discuss specific elements from the course as evidence to demonstrate your learning. Consider using the following as evidence of your learning:

  • Writing Projects,
  • Various Reflection Assignments, and
  • Other Homework.

While it doesn’t need to be as formal as a piece of academic writing, you should still follow the conventions of standard English in terms of grammar, usage, and sentence structure. Also, you don’t need to cite your sources, but you should refer to specific assignments when discussing your mastery of these outcomes.

Activity

1. Write a Reflective Cover Letter in which you evaluate yourself using the project/course outcomes and your personal course goals as criteria. For each outcome and/or goal discuss:

  • what you learned
  • where your learning is demonstrated in the project/course
  • why and how you still need to grow in that area
  • how, when, where and why you might use this information or skill in the future.

Specifically, demonstrate how well you have achieved the outcomes of the project/course, using your own writing as evidence.

Note: Please note, this is not a letter about the class or the instructor. It should evaluate your personal progress with the specific course outcomes.

Tip: If you are developing an electronic/digital portfolio, you might want to use hyperlinks in your reflective cover letter to link to the specific projects and activities you reference in your letter.

2. Share-out: Post a copy of your reflective cover letter (or a link to it) below in the comments thread.

Process Reflection

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Let Ideas Compete


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Let Ideas Compete

Activity

  1. Spend 5-10 minutes jotting down your process for composing this project (use the questions below to guide you, but don’t limit yourself to these questions):
    • What kinds of brainstorming activities did you do?
    • Did you participate in peer review(s)?
    • Did you conference with your professor?
    • How much prewriting did you do?
    • How many trips to the library?
    • How many days/nights/hours researching your topic?
    • How much time spent on reading and annotating?
    • Did you compose multiple drafts?
    • Where were you typically when you researched and drafted your project?
    • In what environment did you compose your work (e.g., Word doc; Google doc)?
  2. Now, spend 5-10 minutes reflecting on your process:
    • What aspects of your process for researching and composing your project worked best?
    • Are there steps you wish you had spent more time on? If so, why?
    • Describe one weakness in your research/writing process and how you will improve it next time.
    • How organized were you? What strategies for organization will you repeat? How might you better organize your process for researching/composing next time?
  3. Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your reflection to the comments thread.

Audio Reflection

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by torbakhopper HE DEAD


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by torbakhopper HE DEAD

Activity

  1. Select an audio-recording technology. Some that you might consider are SoundCloud (web-based), Quicktime (MAC computer application), Windows Media Player (PC computer application, or Audacity (download application from web).
  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Record an audio response to the following three questions (read through the questions before you start recording):
    • What do you like most about your final project?
    • If you had more time, what’s the single most important aspect you would revise and why?
    • What’s something you discovered about yourself as a writer or about your topic through the process of researching and composing this project?
  4. Share-out: Post a link to your recording or upload the audio file to the comments thread below.

Reflect on Final Project & Process

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Robert Neff


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Robert Neff

Activity

1. Start a new document and reflect on your project using the following prompts:

  • What part of your entire project are you most proud? Why?
  • What do you wish you had time to further expand, include, or revise in the project?
  • When and where did you get stuck while working on the project? How did you overcome your problem?
  • What part of the processes went smoothly for you? How might you repeat that in future writing projects?
  • What most important or exciting thing did you learn about your topic while researching and writing this project?
  • What did you learn about yourself as a writer?

2. Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your reflection below in the comments thread.

Reflect on the Rhetorical Situation

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by sameold2010


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by sameold2010

Activity

1.  Start a new document and reflect upon your project using the following prompts.

  • Purpose/aim: What do you want the audience to do after reading/consuming the text? Don’t just give the verb of the action (e.g., persuade, educate, call to action, entertain, inform, shock, etc.); instead, discuss the specific argument or type of entertainment or action to complete. Discuss at least three different specific elements within the project that support the purpose.
  • Audience (intended, secondary, & tertiary): Who are your intended audiences? Things you might discuss about the audience include: age, experiences/beliefs (especially in relation to the purpose and/or topic), gender, occupation, location, socioeconomics, parents and peers, education, culture, etc. Be sure to discuss what the expectations of the audience are based on these details. Discuss at least three different specific elements within the project that support the audience.
  • Subject/topic: What is the exact, focused topic being conveyed and/or argument being made. Most of the time you will cover this while discussing the purpose/aim.
  • Context/setting: What things are happening in time and/or space that impact the production and/or consumption of the text? Discuss at least two different specific elements within the project that were impacted by the context.

2. Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your reflection below in the comments thread.

Connecting Projects to Course Objectives/Outcomes

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Amy Witt


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Amy Witt

Activity

  1. Find the course objectives or outcomes for the class (at minimum, find a course description).
  2. Reflect on how your final project, and the steps you took to complete it, demonstrate that you have learned some or all of the course objectives.
  3. Also, discuss what you learned about yourself as a writer.
  4. Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your document below in the comments thread.

Visual Reflection: Project, Process, & Feelings

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Michael Blow


Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Michael Blow

Activity

  1. Find three pictures that represent your recently completed project, the progress of completing your project, and your feelings about having completed your project.
  2. Paste in copies of the images, or links to the images, in a word processing document.
  3. Briefly describe how and why these images best present your project, process, and feelings.
  4. Share-out: Copy/paste or upload your document below in the comments thread.