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Capstone Portfolio and Reflective Letter
If you’ll remember, one of your earliest discussion boards in this class, Practicing Curation, asked you to choose three items that tell a story about you. That assignment was an exercise in curating, or selecting what to focus on. Since that discussion board, we’ve done the opposite of curate–we’ve expanded and we’ve explored. You’ve had many opportunities to continue to tell your story, to think about your brand, to explore your interests and your degree, to think about the many kinds of documents you might use along your journey. Now it’s time to return to the idea of curation and practice selecting a story you want to tell about your experiences in this class, then curating the documents that best tell that story. Your task: For the Capstone Portfolio Submission, pick THREE examples of your work in this class and create a portfolio that you can use going forward in your university plans and beyond. These three items must work together to tell a story about you.
Part 1: The Three Items: The three items you choose must accomplish two things: They must show something about you. What they show is up to you, but here are some guiding questions that might help you decide:
Are there items that, when put together, demonstrate what you value in life?
Are there items that, when put together, demonstrate how you’ve made your Liberal Studies degree work for you?
Are there items that, when put together, illustrate your career goals and the progress you’ve made towards achieving those specific goals?
Are there items that, when put together, illustrate the kind of work or the kind of intellectual pursuits you find rewarding?
Are there items that, when put together, show a transformation you’ve undergone?
Are there items that, when put together, show who you are as a student? Are there items that, when put together, show what sets you apart from other IDS majors?
Are there items that, when put together, show something else? The three items must work together to tell the story you’ve chosen to tell. In order for them to work together, you’ll need to revise (at least two of them) to make sure that you’ll get the most out of putting them side-by-side. When you revise, you’ll ask yourself questions like: When I put the three artifacts side by side, how does each one draw attention to certain aspects of another document? What can I revise in artifact 1 that would make something in artifact 2 better stand out? When I put artifact 2 and 3 together, is there something that seems contradictory or confusing now and should I revise it? Remember, these questions are meant to give you ideas. However, you can tell a story that isn’t represented in the questions above. The key, though, is that the items actually tell a story. In other words, the selection of artifacts in your portfolio should not feel haphazard or random. Imagine that the reader of this portfolio only gets to see these three items and never sees anything else about you or by you: what would they think about you from these three items? That’s what you have control over here. You get to decide what you want the portfolio to say about you, then you must pick three items that convey that message. Important note: The idea here is that you focus on a specific story–don’t throw everything you’ve got at us. Curation means leaving some stuff out, so that we can more clearly see what is there. You’ll be graded on your ability to focus on something you want to convey and curating a portfolio that conveys that message.
Note that this is an important skill you are getting to practice here. In real life, you will have many opportunities to create portfolios, submit example work, and craft a story about who you are. When we do that, we want to make sure that the documents do the most they can for us in that context– and since the context is always changing, the documents we choose should be changing, too. List of approved portfolio items that you can choose from:
Cover letter template
Video practice interview
Part 2: The Reflective Letter:
In addition to your 3 items, you should include a reflective letter that helps me understand the choices you made. The letter should be at least 500 words long. Address that letter to me, your instructor. You will write your letter in paragraph form (do not submit one long paragraph, nor a series of bullet points). Here are the questions that your letter should answer: What items did you decide to include in your portfolio and why? Was it a tough choice or was it easy to choose which items to include in your story-telling trio? If making selections was hard, explain why. If making selections was easy, explain why.
You’ve already submitted this work in some version earlier in the semester. The capstone portfolio is comprised of final versions. What specifically did you change and why? If you didn’t change something, why not?
If every part of the portfolio submission doesn’t reflect your full understanding, creative and intellectual capacity, where do you think this portfolio submission stumbles a bit and why?
Are there any special circumstances – positive or challenging — that influenced what I will be reading on the pages you submit?
Which parts of your portfolio submission make you feel the most proud? Think of some part (or parts) that you worked especially hard on or which feels particularly inspired. Be as specific as you can be. You don’t want my eye to slide past your best bits. Tell me about them.
What did you like or dislike about curating the portfolio of your work?
Did the instructions, work with your classmate, instructor feedback, and/or assigned reading help you build this portfolio? How? If a classmate helped guide you, give that person a shout out! Was there anything missing that would have helped you to do your best work? Is there something that you wish we’d covered more slowly or in more detail?
If you could step into a time machine and go backward in time, what would you do differently in preparing this assignment?
Do not rush. Look over the work that you will hand in to me. Take some time to think before you begin writing. Your answers matter to me – tell me what happened.