portfolio preparation
syllabus :: schedule


Course Meeting Time and Place

This course will meet in Clara Belle Williams Hall 125 on Mondays 5:30-8:00.

Contact Information
Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Sheppard
Office: English 226
Phone: 646-2341
Email: jasheppa@nmsu.edu (best way to reach me)

Office Hours

Mondays 2:00-4:00 Milton Hall Design Center
Tuesdays 2:00-4:00 in English 226
and by appointment

Required Materials

Smith, Herb J. and Haimes-Korn, Kim. (2007) Portfolios for Technical and Professional Communicators. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-170458-3

You also will be responsible for selected readings from other sources. I will provide copies of these documents as PDF files or as web links.

Course Description

This course serves primarily as a capstone course for students working toward a Master's degree in either Rhetoric and Professional Communication or Creative Writing. The course may also be of interest to graduate students in other fields in which portfolios are regularly used, for instance, in applying to terminal degree (PhD or MFA) programs or in applying for professional jobs.

In this capstone course, you will study professional portfolios as a genre while creating one of your own. You will select and develop items for inclusion in a portfolio with a particular focus on critical reflection of work composed during your program of study. We will address rhetorical approaches to shaping introductory materials and showcasing your work in purposeful and persuasive ways. You will create both print and digital compilations of your work, while also considering principles of visual design to facilitate usability and aesthetic appeal.

A significant part of this class will involve looking carefully at the work of others and offering feedback. Your critiques of and responses to the portfolios drafts of your classmates will play a heavy role in this class, so please offer the best commentary you can as you review each portfolio.

Course Objectives
By the semester's end, you should:
  • have a complete, well-developed portfolio that will satisfy the requirements of your MA program
  • understand and demonstrate the role of critical reflection for the materials included in your portfolio
  • devise an identity for your portfolio and shape your materials to the needs of your intended readers
  • develop familiarity with basic design and web usability concepts

The following indicates the percent value for course assignments:
  • Memos- 20%
  • Written drafts of portfolio materials- 20%
    • draft portfolio introduction
    • draft section introduction
    • draft section introduction (choose a different section from above)
    • draft resume or CV
    • revised portfolio introduction
    • draft online portfolio

  • Peer responses- 30%
    • peer review of draft portfolio (2)
    • peer review of draft section introduction (2)
    • peer review of draft resume or CV (1)
    • peer review of draft section introduction (1)
    • peer review of revised introductory essay using "Devil's Advocate Approach" (1)
    • peer review of draft website (2)

  • Final Portfolio- 30%
    • final revised print version of portfolio
    • final revised online version of portfolio
Participation and Collaboration
As this is a graduate level capstone course, it is critical that you are an active and respectful participant in all activities. I expect that you will read all assigned material prior to class and that you will engage in thoughtful, critical dialog with your classmates. You will spend a lot of time reading and responding to the portfolio drafts of your classmates and I expect you to take this work seriously. Some of our class sessions for peer review will take place online via Blackboard and will require you to submit your feedback to both classmates and the instructor. Your sustained engagement in both face-to-face and online class sessions will create a rich learning environment for yourself and your classmates and will help you to further develop your feedback and writing skills.
I expect graduate students to attend all class meetings (except in the case of an emergency, sickness, or absence related to a conference presentation). If you have more than 2 absences, your grade will be negatively affected and may result in failure of the course. You are responsible for checking the course website and/or contacting me during office hours to find out what you missed.
Plagiarism and Ethics
You have to do your own work and appropriately identify work that is collaborative, borrowed, or copied from other sources, including your own work from other classes. When you use graphics, works, words, citations, or even ideas from other sources, you are under the legal and ethical obligation to identify these sources according to citation norms. If you have any questions, please contact me. Using work that is not yours and not appropriately identifying it will usually result in an F for an assignment if not the course.

If you have a disability that affects you as a student in this class you are invited to notify me and/or call the Disabled Student Programs Office at 646-6840. Your notification will remain confidential.