evaluate the portfolio holistically and assign the entire portfolio a single score.

The Portfolio Design

This project includes four separate short reports and a Discussion Essay assembled in a presentation portfolio demonstrating your growth and ability as a writer of business communications. This document details the necessary components of the portfolio design, optional additional documents you might consider including, and my evaluation strategy for the completed artifact.

You will write three different forms of short reports:

1. Routine Message

2. Bad-News Message

3. Persuasive Message

Select one of the cases from the end of each of the three chapters (10, 11, 12) in our text on short reports and prepare the message using the three-step method outlined in our text. Note that the cases will ask you to write specific forms of short reports: letters, memos, emails, instant messages, blogs and microblogs. You must select your cases so you are writing three different forms. You may not use the same form for more than one report.

Physical Specifications:

Use an adequate binding system, such as a three-hole binder or report cover with dividers between the main sections. Do not put pages in plastic coverings. Type all entries in a 12-point font on standard 20# bond paper of an appropriate color. Include a cover page as the first sheet of the portfolio itself. As the next item, include the portfolio evaluation sheet, attached here and available as a course document on our Angel site. Use the first page of this sheet as a table of contents to organize the elements of the portfolio and as a checklist to verify the completeness of the portfolio. You may add items to the sheet but you may not remove items or change the existing order of items. Use the web document or recreate the sheet accurately if you wish to include such modifications. Since you will include already existing documents, you will not need to include page numbers on this table of contents. Indicate where the sections begin with physical dividers appropriately labeled. Begin the content section of the portfolio with your Discussion Essay, followed in order by the electronic message, the routine message, the bad-news message, and the persuasive message. Complete the portfolio with your self-assessment.

The portfolio report will contain these elements:

路 Cover (binder)

路 Title page including a title

路 Table of Contents

路 Four messages with planning worksheets and rough and revised drafts

路 Discussion Essay and self-evaluation

Discussion Essay

Strictly speaking, you will create a combination of an executive summary and an introduction. As such this needs to be a substantial and carefully planned document that tells the reader how to read your portfolio. The object of the discussion essay is to explain the important concepts that affected the way you wrote and revised the short reports in this portfolio. It should draw on the theory we are discussing in class as explicitly as possible.

Your goals in the portfolio are to demonstrate your current expertise in writing short reports and to explain the decisions you made along the way to producing the refined presentation drafts you are about to show me. In other words, given your awareness of the theory, how did you apply it in the actual writing?

Use the essay as an opportunity to reflect back on your learning process as you encountered the concepts that define these short reports and talk about what you learned. Consider the points and issues that troubled you most and use your successions of rough drafts and planning worksheets to discuss how you negotiated them. Use the discussions in our text to help you identify the key discussion points and be sure to raise any questions in class so we can discuss the concepts as needed. The essay should fully discuss the theoretical concepts we develop.

Short Reports:

In separate sections, present the evolution of each of the three short reports in this order:

路 Routine message

路 Bad-news message

路 Persuasive message

Each section must include at least one draft of the communications planning worksheet for the report, one rough draft with my responses, and a substantially revised, final draft. You may also include multiple drafts of the evolving documents and you might include memos explaining significant decisions that you feel need to be presented at this point.

Self-Assessment (Grade Argument):

As part of your process of writing your Discussion Essay, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of your engagement with this project and your success as a business writer. As a required step, use these reflections and discussions to evaluate your performance in this project and assign yourself a letter grade for the project. To be most effective, this should be presented as a persuasive memo to me, placed as the final exhibit of the presentation portfolio. Include the second page of the Portfolio Evaluation Sheet with your self-assessments indicated. Be sure to use an AIDA structure that we will discuss under persuasive messages for your persuasive memo.


I will evaluate the portfolio holistically and assign the entire portfolio a single score. That means I do not average grades for individual pieces but rather I judge the quality of the portfolio, including the reflections and theoretical discussions, as a whole. I will take into account not only the quality of the final pieces but also the demonstrations of improvement and theoretical understanding demonstrated by your Discussion Essay and supplemental materials.

As a demonstration portfolio, I expect the final, revised documents and the new materials prepared for the portfolio to be flawless. Mechanical errors and inadequate proofreading will undermine your presentation and affect my assessment of your engagement.

A strong portfolio will contain pieces that demonstrate a firm understanding of the rhetorical principles of the four forms of reports and use language carefully and effectively to address the needs of the appropriate audience. The documents will show that the author has read the cases carefully and understood the implications and complexities of the situations. The best responses will offer imaginative and innovative solutions for the rhetorical problems. The Discussion Essay will use lively, engaging language to connect the theory of the text to the practice of the reports and fully discuss the complexity of applying that theory in practice. It will integrate reflexivity with demonstration and demonstrate continued intellectual development in the writing itself.

A weak portfolio will contain incomplete or inadequate documents or documents only superficially revised. Often, they will not address the needs of the audience or apply the rhetorical principles discussed by our text and presented in class discussions. The documents will suggest misreadings of the cases or unimaginative or mechanical responses to the issues. The Discussion Essay will do little more than summarize or catalogue the reports and will contain numerous mechanical and proofreading errors indicating a lack of engagement on the part of the writer. It will contain few if any connections between theory and practice and be only superficially reflexive.

Portfolio Grading Rubric

“A” portfolio (3.7-4.0) A portfolio that is excellent in overall quality. It includes substantial and well-developed documents that demonstrate a maturity of style and evidence of critical thinking skills. It demonstrates a strong understanding of the rhetorical concepts involved and an ability to use language creatively and effectively. The Discussion Essay firmly and convincingly connects rhetorical theory and practice and reflects productively on the writer鈥檚 growth. The portfolio contains carefully constructed and organized sentences and paragraphs oriented to a specific and appropriate audience. The pieces contain no serious errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.

“B” portfolio (2.7-3.7) A portfolio that is very good in overall quality. Although not as well developed as an A-portfolio, it demonstrates an understanding of the rhetorical concepts involved and experiments with language productively. The Discussion Essay connects rhetorical theory and practice and begins to integrate reflection on the writer鈥檚 growth. The portfolio contains carefully constructed and organized sentences and paragraphs although the sense of audience may not be fully developed. The pieces contain some minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.

“C” portfolio (1.7-2.7) A portfolio that is good in overall quality. It is usually more formulaic and predictable than A-portfolios and B-portfolios. Strengths and weaknesses tend to be balanced. The individual texts tend to be too brief and underdeveloped. The writer may not fully understand the rhetorical concepts involved or may lack the skill to use language creatively and effectively. The Discussion Essay responds mechanically and fails to connect rhetorical theory and practice or to reflect on the writer鈥檚 growth. The sentences and paragraphs may be weakly organized and developed. The sense of audience is not clearly demonstrated. The pieces contain few serious errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.