How can you improve as a student?

Learning Goal: I’m working on a writing project and need a sample draft to help me learn.IntroductionA faculty member shared this story: he was listening to a couple of friends who also taught college-level writing.One friend named Jen said, “I go back and forth on how much to ask students to reflect on their writing. I almost feel bad about it—they’ve already done so much work, and now I’m asking them to do more writing by reflecting on that writing!”Another friend, Crystal, looked Jen straight in the eye. She said, “Without reflection, there’s no growth. Period.”That is a very insightful comment. Sure, you can write good essays without reflecting on them—but then how much will those strong writing skills apply to other classes and writing contexts?The goal is not to just have you write better essays; the goal is for you to be better writers, big-picture.That’s the goal of this assignment: to ask you to reflect on yourself and your writing, with the goal of becoming a better writer now and in the future.AssignmentSubmit a single lengthy document (a “portfolio”) that collects revised versions of your three major essays along with a new reflective essay that explains the work you’ve done all semester.We’ll work through the portfolio in three phases: revising one of your earlier essays, reflecting on your work in class, and designing your work in an attractive document.PHASE 1: REVISINGAll three of your major essays will be in the portfolio, but only one will be deeply revised. Choose the one that you’re most passionate about, and we’ll spend time in class reimagining and improving it.Please edit and proofread the other two essays, cleaning them up for the portfolio, but only one needs to be substantially different.PHASE 2: REFLECTINGWrite a reflective essay (1,000-1,500 words) that considers how your reading and composing strategies have transformed throughout the semester (if at all). Think of it as an artist’s statement that explains to me (and to your future self) where you see yourself at the end of RHET 101 as you prepare to begin RHET 102.At a minimum, your reflective essay (#2) needs to include these parts:Look to the Past:Identify a name/category/label/theme/thesis about your work in this class this semester. We’ll talk about this theme in class, but it should be something that you saw yourself doing multiple times this semester.
[Longest part of the entire reflective essay:] Write about the essay you deeply revised: explain what you remember from how you originally wrote it and what you did to revise it this time around. Be specific, using lots of quotes from the original and revised versions.
Share some “a-ha moments” about being a student in this class this semester. You can discuss time-planning, reading, note-taking, drafting, revising, workshopping, visiting the Writing Center, or anything else that helped you make decisions about your work this semester. What have you discovered about yourself?
Describe your lowest points in the work you did in this class. Where are you disappointed in yourself? How can you improve as a student?
Look to the Future:At RU: Write about your hopes, fears, goals, and/or expectations in writing you’ll do at RU: in future writing-heavy classes and in writing you’ll do for your major. (If you don’t know, ask me or another writing professor.)
Beyond: Discuss ways you see yourself using writing throughout your life: in writing you’ll do for volunteer activities, in daily life, in your future career, and to change the world in other big and small ways. (If you don’t know, do some research or talk to someone in your future field and write about what you learn!)
As long as you address all of those requirements, you may write your reflective essay in any way or any order you like. But if you don’t have any creative ideas, it’s also okay to just write a paragraph about each of those bullets.PHASE 3: DESIGNINGOnce you’ve revised your essays and drafted your reflective essay, it will be time to practice some good design skills to produce a single, attractive, rhetorically effective document. I’ll walk you through steps to achieve these requirements:Two attractive fonts (heading and body text) that match the mood of your portfolio
Clear organization, using the heading function in Word or Google Docs
A title page with with title and image that reflect your portfolio’s theme
Images to accompany each of the four essays
1-2-sentence introductions to each of the three essays, added with a design that makes those introductions clear and easy to find
Extra touches to make the document feel professional and completed
Schedule*Phase 1: revised essays due: Friday, April 22.* Phase 2: reflective essay due: Friday, April 29.* Phase 3: all design work completed so the portfolio can be submitted by 8 a.m. on Friday, May 6.AssessmentAs a whole, your portfolio counts as 20% of your course grade. Here’s where that grade will come from:Revision Essay: Your revised essay has been deeply revised and improved, not just proofread.
Reflection Essay: Your reflective essay thoughtfully and in detail responds to all the requirements above, with a brave willingness to reflect honestly on the self and a readable, friendly style that makes it a delight to read.
Finished Portfolio Design: Your entire portfolio document was assembled carefully and lovingly, with lots of attention to the details described above.
SubmissionPlease share your completed portfolio here on this page as an attached document (DOCX or PDF) or as a link to a Google Doc, as long as you’re 100% sure that you set the permissions correctly to let me view it.

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