Unit 4

Phase 4 Assignment Prompt: The Digital Portfolio & Self-Assessment Essay

The Digital Portfolio and Final Self-Assessment Essay are in many ways the most important documents that you’ll create for this class. Assembling the Digital Portfolio will help you to see your progress as a writer over the course of the semester, and the Final Self-Assessment Essay will give you the chance to evaluate that work based on your own criteria as well as the course learning objectives. Plus, you’ll gain hands-on experience with digital technologies and developing a professional website. 

 The Digital Portfolio

Your Digital Portfolio will be composed on a WordPress site and housed securely on CUNY Academic Commons, a password-protected CUNY server. It will be read by your instructors, some members of the class, and other CCNY faculty and administrators. If you would like to opt out of creating a WordPress site, please make a Portfolio in Blackboard.

Your Portfolio should include, at a minimum, the Self-Assessment Essay; final drafts (revised based on instructor feedback) of your Language and Literacy Essay, Rhetorical Analysis Assignments, and Researched Essay. You can also choose to include additional documents (or screenshots/portions of documents) you composed this semester that help you demonstrate the extent to which you’ve met the course learning objectives and developed your understanding of writing and our course topic.

So what sorts of “additional documents” might you include? Consider including earlier drafts of essays, examples from homework, peer reviews, etc. Or, you may want to include copies of your annotations of course texts or copies of the notes you took while reading to demonstrate that you have developed strategies for critical reading. Use this same approach for all of the Course Learning Goals. (Be mindful that the documents you choose to include in your Portfolio should be referenced in your Final Self-Assessment Essay, which is further explained below. You will describe the documents, and their significance, in your essay. Thus, you’ll need to be very choosy in selecting which documents best represent your learning and development as a writer and be ready to refer to and analyze them in the Self-Assessment Essay.)

While the arrangement of the Portfolio is up to you, it should be easy to navigate. As with any Web site, you want viewers to be able to find what they’re looking for without any interference. This might mean scanning handwritten notes, taking screenshots of annotated Web sites, and turning your essays into .PDFs or Web texts.

The Self-Assessment Essay

The Self-Assessment Essay, which will serve as an introduction to your Portfolio, is a kind of research paper. Your development as a writer is the subject and your work this semester is your evidence. Thus, your task is to show, with claims and evidence, how you’ve developed as a writer and thinker this semester. Your claims will be statements about what you’ve learned. Your evidence may come in the form of a quote or screenshot of your work or through your retelling of a central learning moment. Your cover letters, homework assignments, and in-class reflections should serve as valuable pieces of evidence and provide you with quote-worthy passages. And you should include in your Portfolio any relevant items that you reference in your Self-Assessment Essay.

This essay answers the question, “To what extent have I achieved the course learning objectives this semester?” Importantly, then, your essay should quote and respond to each of our course learning objectives below. That said, your essay should not be organized in the bulleted format in which the objectives are presented.

The Course Learning Objectives you will address in your essay:

Students will

  1. Examine how attitudes towards linguistic standards empower and oppress language users.
  2. Explore and analyze, in writing and reading, a variety of genres and rhetorical situations.
  3. Develop strategies for reading, drafting, collaborating, revising, and editing.
  4. Recognize and practice key rhetorical terms and strategies when engaged in writing situations.
  5. Understand and use print and digital technologies to address a range of audiences.
  6. Locate research sources (including academic journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles) in the library’s databases or archives and on the Internet and evaluate them for credibility, accuracy, timeliness, and bias.
  7. Compose texts that integrate a stance with appropriate sources, using strategies such as summary, analysis, synthesis, and argumentation.
  8. Practice systematic application of citation conventions.


Your Self-Assessment Essay should be 3-4 pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins, double spaced) plus any images you choose to include. It will not be evaluated on whether or not you have achieved the course goals, but on how well you demonstrate your understanding of the goals that you have achieved and your thoughts about the goals that you have not achieved. Please use MLA citation within the body of your essay and on a Works Cited page as needed. Compose a relative and inviting title for your essay. As always, you are encouraged to personalize the delivery of your essay as you see fit. Thus, you decide the order, tone, style, and language you’ll craft in order to best reach your audience. You’re welcome to draw on your “native,” “home,” or “other” languages, literacies, and ways of being as you so choose.

Due Dates

See individual paper assignments for deadlines related to the portfolio versions of these essays. 

    • Stage 1: In-Class Reflection, L&L Essay: Due H, Sept 28 by 11:59pm to Bb
    • Stage 2: In-Class Reflection, RA & PP Essay: Due H, Oct 26 by 11:59pm to Bb
    • Stage 3: In-Class Reflection, Researched Essay: Due T, Nov 21 by 11:59pm to Bb
    • Stage 4: Reflective Activities: In-class work, throughout mid-November
    • Stage 5: In-Class Drafting, Self Assessment: T, Nov 21
    • Stage 6: Conference Draft: Due M, Nov 27 by 11:59pm / W, Nov 29 by 11:59pm to Bb  
    • Stage 7: Presentation Draft of Self Assessment: Due T, Dec 5 by 2:00pm to Bb
    • Stage 8: Revision of Self-Assessment and Final Digital Portfolio: Due Dec 14 to Bb

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for the Portfolio and Final-Assessment Essay
1. How effectively does your Digital Portfolio present the content so that it is easy to navigate and appropriate for digital audiences; maintain stylistic consistency from one page to the next; use color and contrast to make things simple for digital audiences; use font and page layout to create a neat, easy-to-read text?
2. How effectively does your Final-Assessment Essay make claims about what course learning outcomes you achieved this semester; identify (if relevant) any areas in which you have not progressed (e.g., because we didn’t spend enough time with them or you feel that you had a strong start in those areas); quote and address all of the course learning objectives (even those that you feel we did not spend enough time working on); provide evidence (in the form of quoting your own writing and/or retelling specific learning moments) to show how you have achieved our learning outcomes and developed as a writer?
3. How effectively and sufficiently have your Phase 1, 2, and 3 assignments been revised and edited?
4. Were all general requirements for length and due dates met?
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