The Writing Portfolio

The Writing Portfolio

The portfolio will include 1) a cover letter that describes what you have learned in this course and 2) all of the writing (with my comments and feedback) listed in the sequence below.

Cover Letter

A reflection essay on the work that you have accomplished this semester. This reflective cover letter will 1) explain your strengths and weaknesses as a writer coming into the course; 2) describe what you have learned in the course, about the course theme, writing, and yourself as a writer; and 3) consider the relevance and applicability of what you have learned in the course.

The Writing Project 

  • Final Version of the Essay will move a reader from a simple to a more complex understanding of your subject will require you to get a reader interested in your perspective.
  • Second Version of Essay will demonstrate your thinking has moved from a more simple to a more complex understanding of your subject.
  • First Version of Essay will answer the following question: How does what we know about this subject help us better understand the fullness and complexity of our place in the world?
  • Research Installments There are two research installments. Each of the written research installments has two parts: 1) a narrative summary of what you have read and how that reading has furthered your thinking and writing and 2) an annotated works cited page (in a sentence or two, summarize the argument or purpose of each piece of writing) with at least five entries.
  • Statement of Purpose and Motivation This statement of intent will be two single-spaced pages in length and will answer the following questions: In what ways has the book you read inspired your area of interest? What specifically are you planning to investigate? Do you have one or more questions you hope to answer in your research? What is motivating your inquiry?

Reading as a Writer 

Include the title of your book and a one-paragraph summary of what you learned in reading the book. Consider both what you learned about your yourself as well as what you learned about the world

  • Rationale: a one-page single-spaced essay that explains why you chose the book. 
  • Quotations: two pages of single spaced quotations that demonstrate your ability to choose significant passages from an extended narrative or sequence of essays
  • Page About a Page: one-page description that addresses what is being said and how it is being said.
  • Summary: a two-page single-spaced essay that offers an accurate and detailed summary of the salient themes, content threads, argument(s), conclusion(s) in the book
  • Commentary: a two-page single-spaced description of something in the book that you find of interest that includes analysis (textual and contextual) to explain why it might be of interest to others
  • Book Review (Optional) 3-5 page review of the book to complete sequence

Narrative Essay about your experiences writing in school

The first piece of writing you composed in this class


The description of Thinking and Writing, and the learning outcomes in writing, reading, critical thinking and information literacy, will likely be useful for composing the cover letter.

Thinking and Writing offers students the opportunity to explore how critical and creative thinking, researching, writing and evaluating quantitative information inform scholarly endeavors. The learning outcomes for this foundational course in the Integrative Studies Program (ISP) are for students to 1) demonstrate skills and ways of thinking that are essential for all students as they move through the academic curriculum and 2) write about an issue of special interest by focusing on a creative and complex question, investigating the question with critical analysis of readings, research and data, and using appropriate research techniques in documentation. More information about the ISP is available at the Keene State College Integrative Studies Program.

Thinking and Writing is organized around the following list of learning outcomes in writing, reading, critical thinking and information literacy:

Writing Outcomes

  • Use writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating.
  • Understand writing as a process that requires sustained thought over time and permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work.
  • Formulate an original, complex and debatable claim, thesis, or hypothesis relating to the course theme or topic and develop that claim, thesis, or hypothesis in a semester-long researched writing project.
  • Cultivate disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise necessary to question sources, develop ideas, and offer interpretations.
  • Incorporate sources appropriately.
  • Write with syntactical and grammatical competence (syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling).

Reading Outcomes

  • Use reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating
  • Analyze and evaluate the rhetorical features of peer and published texts (audience, thesis or main argument, quality of evidence, structure)
  • Understand the importance of reading in academic inquiry and research

Critical Thinking Outcomes

  • Move beyond initial reactions to an issue, topic, or idea toward a deeper understanding of the complexity of the issue.
  • Examine an issue, topic, or idea within a broader context, (for example, where does this issue sit within a larger social, political, or historical framework?).
  • Examine an issue, topic, or idea from more than one perspective (for example, reading not just those authors who support the writer’s position or viewpoint).

Information Literacy Outcome

  • Understand research as a multi-stage, recursive process that includes finding, evaluating, analyzing, reflecting on and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources.