Tag Archives: portfolio

Portfolio Instructions and Rubric

I’ll be writing a module in a couple days and making some instructional videos, but for now I wanted to share the assignment sheet just to give people a preview of what’s coming up. I simplified and deleted several components, so hopefully the very last assignment of our semester isn’t too strenuous. The reflection letter is the most important, as are the WordPress skills you will develop along the way.

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Imaginary Interview Instructions

The imaginary interview is one of the 8 assignments the English department requires from all 101 students. (Due Monday 4/20 by the end of the day).


  1. Review the sources you think you are planning on including in your annotated bibliography.
  2. Choose two or three sources to work with for this activity.
  3. Write an imaginary conversation where you interview the authors of your sources about the topic of your final project.
      • You should ask at least three open-ended questions that allow the authors to give complex, interesting answers (3 points)
      • Each of the authors should respond to each of your questions, giving a complex, interesting answer (6 points) (So, you write a minimum of 6 responses total)
      • One of the authors should respond directly to the other author’s comment at least once (1 point)
      • The assignment should be turned in on time (2 points)

Total: 12 points

To complete this assignment, you must think about each author’s point of view (based on what they wrote/said in your source) in order to imagine (as accurately as possible) what they would think/say about your questions.

It also might help to consider, if you were actually interviewing those two people, what would be interesting to hear both of them talk about?

Format the interview like a script. For example:

Scripted Interview Formatting Example

Olivia: What is the most important thing you have learned in college so far, and why?

Student 1: I learned that I have to be really careful about planning my time, because it’s easy to get behind, and if you’re behind, you don’t have time to do a very good job on your assignments or think about them a lot. So you learn less, even if the material is easy.

Student 2: I learned a lot about the history of the American justice system and how it came to be the way it is, all the things we inherited from English Common Law, and also what we took from the Iroquois League’s constitution. I hadn’t even thought about the question in terms of life skills– I thought she was just asking about the content of the classes we’ve taken.

Student 1: Oh, that makes a lot of sense. And I’ve definitely learned useful stuff in my classes. But since I’m still in my general education classes, I think the skills I’m practicing are the most important, since they will be important for me to use in my major classes later on.

Annotated Bibliography Instructions and Rubric

The annotated bibliography is not due until Friday, April 24th. You have 3 weeks to work on it. However, because this week (I’m writing this on April 3) is reserved as research time, I wanted to make sure you have these guidelines well in advance so you know what you’re working towards.  


**But also see below for an Alternative Option**

  1. As you research your inquiry question for your final project, compile a list of sources (bibliography) that help you answer your question and/or provide useful background knowledge for you and your readers.
  2. Cite each source according to APA style.
  3. Below each citation, write a paragraph or so about that source (an annotation). The paragraph should include:– A summary of the source
    —Your thoughts on the source (How do you think you will use it in your paper? What biases do you think it might have? What are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses? How does it connect to your other sources?)

Other Guidelines:

  • At least 6 sources + annotations
  • At least half of the sources should be scholarly/found through the John Jay library databases. The other half can come from wherever as long as you think they are trustworthy.
  • In addition to writing each citation in APA style, you should also include these other aspects of APA formatting: title page with title, name, university, and any author’s note you want to include, correct running head on all pages, page numbers, correctly titled References page


Complete an APA-style bibliography without the annotations.

Then, create a video in which you show each source and verbally talk through the source and your analysis of it according to the guidelines for annotations above. You can do this via screencasting (built into iPhones and Macs, not sure about PCs and Androids) or by taking a video of your computer screen using your phone. It’s totally fine if the video is informal/unedited, but you can make it fancy if you want to.


Each source + annotation includes all required parts (citation, summary, your thoughts)
(3 points per entry = 18 points, but 1 point off per source that doesn’t meet the scholarly vs. not scholarly requirements. Make sure you have 3 scholarly sources—the other 3 can be scholarly or non-scholarly)

  • Source 1 ___
  • Source 2 ___
  • Source 3 ___
  • Source 4 ___
  • Source 5 ___
  • Source 6 ___

Total for this section: ____

Every other element of APA style listed in the instructions is met: 9 points

  • Title page ___
  • Title ____
  • Name ___
  • University ____
  • Author’s Note (if applicable) ____
  • Correct Running Head First Page ____
  • Correct Running Head Subsequent Pages ____
  • Page Numbers ____
  • Beginning of bibliography is titled “References” ___

Turned in on time (3 points) ____

***Due to the many serious ways the pandemic may be affecting our lives, if you turn it in late, I’ll just grade you out of 27 instead of out of 30. It’s sort of 3 free points, but each other aspect of the rubric affects your grade on the assignment a tiny bit (0.5% per point) more. I wanted a way to incentivize turning it in on time to keep folks on track and make my grading life easier without hurting those who can’t due to factors outside of their countrol.***

Total: ____ (out of 30 or 27 points)

Instructions March 30-April 2 (Module 2): Proposal Sharing and Revision

**This module has two due dates. Some tasks are due Monday, March 30, and some are due Thursday, April 2, by the end of each respective day. The deadlines for this module have been revised due to CUNY’s “Recalibration Period.” **

**If you are not going to be able to complete all of the tasks, the most important aspect is to turn in a Proposal on Blackboard. This is a required element of your final portfolio.**

For each writing task, I recommend you do the writing in something that saves automatically, like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or the Notes app on your phone. Or even a piece of paper. Then, copy/paste it onto the course site. This will prevent you from accidentally losing your work.

Topic and Learning Objectives

This week, we’ll be working on our proposals for the final research project.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will compose inquiry questions to shape their final projects that are focused, answerable, and use specific, operational language.
  2. Students will create a research proposal based on their inquiry questions, which they will share with their peers
  3. Students will analyze and evaluate their peers’ proposals and offer constructive feedback
  4. Students will synthesize feedback from their peers into revised versions of their proposals

Overview of Tasks

  1. Orient yourself with a Writing Into the Week prompt (share only if you wish)
  2. Browse sample proposals and learn about elements of good inquiry questions
  3. Write your own proposal and post some or all of it on the Course Site by the end of Monday, March 30
  4. Give feedback to at least 2 peers using the elements of good inquiry questions, the Proposal Rubric, and your own perspective as a reader
  5. Revise your proposal and turn it in on Blackboard by the end of Thursday, April 2.

Step 1: Writing Into the Week

Please write for approximately 10-15 minutes on the following questions:

  1. If you already like one or more of the inquiry questions you wrote last week and want to use it for your proposal, what do you already know about this topic? What are the gaps in your knowledge?
  2. If you don’t want to use one of the inquiry questions from last week, what other topics relating to one of the themes of our course readings (algorithmic modeling, college admissions and rankings, online advertising, criminal justice, job applicant systems, shift schedules, credit scores and online e-scores, the insurance industry, Facebook and politics) would you like to investigate further? What aspects of that topic most interest you?
  3. What are the stakes of your question/topic? That is, why is it important? How would the answer affect people? What could or should change based on the answer? What could the information be used for?

You can share your answers as a comment if you want to, but you do not have to share this week.

Step 2: Study Examples

Please skim through the following examples. You don’t need to read each one closely, but do look at each one to get a sense for what a proposal looks like.

Here are some sample proposals from last semester’s students. Each student’s inquiry questions could have been even more specific and operational, but each proposal got a good grade and resulted in a good paper.
Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

Here are some other examples of research proposals, but for another school/class with different requirements.

Writing Good Inquiry Questions

Click here for a very good guide + accompanying video for writing good research questions! Pay special attention to the subsection called “What makes a strong research question?” It lists several criteria with explanations and examples. I recommend reading the whole thing, but will expand on what I think is the most important part below.

In the learning objectives, I used the phrase “specific, operational language.” What does that mean? Operational language has a clearly defined, measurable meaning within its context.

For example, “Good” is not operational language. What counts as good? Who decides that? Do we mean high quality, or morally good? How do we know if something is good?

If our inquiry question is, “Is coffee good for you?”, we could revise “good for you” to be more operational in a bunch of different ways:

  1. How often can a person in average health drink coffee without experiencing any negative health outcomes? (“Good for you” becomes “not causing harms.” Problem: “negative health outcomes” is still not very specific. What outcomes will we be paying attention to?) 
  2. What are the nutritional benefits of drinking coffee? (“Good for you” becomes “has nutritional benefits.” Problem: Coffee can be prepared in many different ways. Are we studying only black coffee? Espresso? Lattes?)
  3. Does drinking coffee offset any of the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation? (Decreased focus, memory, alertness, etc.) (“Good for you” becomes “offsetting the effects of sleep deprivation,” a common reason people drink coffee. Problem: this is not a very focused question. I should probably choose only one effect of sleep deprivation to study, in order to make the research project more manageable.)

Step 3: Write Your Proposal and Share

Instructions for the proposal are here.

Post the final version of your inquiry question(s) as a comment on this post 
Post your entire proposal draft as its own post.

It’s up to you which one you do– do you want feedback on your entire proposal, or just on your inquiry questions?

**This part is due by the end of the day on Monday, March 30**

Step 4: Give Feedback

Give feedback to at least 2 of your classmates. Use these guiding questions (answer as many or as few as you want):

  1. How can they make their inquiry question(s) more specific, answerable, and operational?
  2. For those who chose to share their entire proposal, how well do they meet the criteria listed on the assignment sheet/rubric? In what ways can they revise to meet the guidelines?
  3. What reactions/comments do you have as a reader? What intrigues you? What confuses you? What suggestions do you have, or what directions would you explore if this was your paper?
  4. Do you have any questions for the writer that 1) aren’t already answered in the proposal/inquiry question and 2) should be answered right now? (That is, what would be helpful to know before they do the research? Imagine you’re on a committee deciding whether or not to fund the project. What do you still need to know about the project in order to decide?

Step 5: Revise Your Proposal and Turn It In!

Revise your proposal/questions based on the feedback you receive from your classmates and turn it in on Blackboard by the end of Thursday, April 2.