In addition to your coursework requirements, you will assemble a portfolio of your work for the faculty to evaluate twice: in the semester in which you will complete 18 hours and in your final semester. This page provides information and policies about this process.
Please have your portfolio complete and uploaded the nearest weekday to the following dates:
|Term||Mid-program portfolio||Final portfolio|
|Spring||January 21||March 21|
|Summer||May 21||June 21|
|Fall||September 21||October 21|
Portfolio Requirements & Instructions
Throughout your time in the MATC, you will develop a portfolio demonstrating what you have learned in the program. You will present that portfolio to the TCR faculty for evaluation two times: in the semester in which you complete 18 hours in the program and in the final semester of your coursework. You must pass the final portfolio evaluation to complete the MATC.
The purposes of the portfolio are to convince the TCR faculty that you have fulfilled the program outcomes and to reflect upon your professional growth in the program. Specifically, the MATC portfolio should demonstrate that you have gained the skills and perspective reflecting the following outcomes of the MATC program.
Note: The faculty have revised the outcomes to be more consistent with programmatic objectives. If you joined the program prior to Spring 2011, or if your mid-program assessment has already taken place prior to May 2012, you can address your portfolio to the old outcomes (listed below the current outcomes).
- Students will be able to analyze and respond appropriately to rhetorical situations and key issues in the field, including the differing goals and agendas of audiences, organizations, and societies.
- Students will be able to use a variety of appropriate communication technologies and media
- Students will be able to create effective and user-centered technical documentation justified with relevant theory.
- Students will be able to demonstrate sensitivity to the ethical, professional, and cultural issues that face technical communicators.
- Students will be able to demonstrate the capacity to enter the workforce in technical communication as advanced hires, OR to enter doctoral programs in rhetoric, technical communication, and related fields.
- Students will be able to demonstrate a sense of professionalism and a commitment to the profession.
Outcomes prior to Spring 2011: Upon completing the MATC curriculum successfully, students should be able to do the following:
- Create effective technical documents justified with relevant theory.
- Analyze and respond appropriately to rhetorical situations and key issues in the field, including the differing goals and agendas of audiences, organizations, and societies.
- Employ and justify user-centered approaches to technical communication.
- Demonstrate sensitivity to the ethical, professional, and cultural issues that face technical communicators.
- Use communication technologies and media appropriate to users and situations.
- Write clear, correct, and stylistically effective prose.
Begin your portfolio in your first semester in the program. To encourage this early portfolio development, the portfolio will be a regular component of ENGL 5371, Foundations of Technical Communication, a course all MATC students are required to take early in their coursework. The portfolio should grow along with you in the program, not only as a repository of your work, but as an expression of what you have learned and who you have become professionally. In addition, the DGS-TCR will also use your portfolio to advise you in signing up for classes each semester.
The rhetorical situation of the MATC portfolio is different from that of a job search portfolio. However, the MATC portfolio might contribute to or lead in to your development of a job search portfolio (see Bridging to the Professional Portfolio).
The MATC portfolio and all artifacts it includes must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may link to a website, or attach files to the e-mail message. If you are sharing large files, you may also put the files in a Dropbox folder and share them with email@example.com.
Your portfolio will include a reflective essay and learning artifacts.
The centerpiece of the portfolio is a 2000- to 3000-word essay analyzing your development in the MATC in terms of the progam outcomes listed above. In this sense, the essay is an argument. Your thesis is that you have fulfilled the outcomes: your evidence is your learning artifacts, as well as your discussion of them. The reflective essay is an important part of your portfolio; the faculty will give as much attention to it as to the artifacts you choose to include.
The reflective essay should not be a class-by-class or semester-by-semester narrative or memoir of your experience in the program. Instead, it should demonstrate to the TCR faculty how the artifacts you are presenting in the portfolio show that you have fulfilled the program outcomes. Accordingly, successful essays are typically structured not chronologically, but according to the list of outcomes above.
Your primary goal in writing the reflective essay should be to show how your work in the MATC program fulfills the standards expressed above. But in addition, the essay should reflect on the ways your work enacts, complicates, or contributes to current research and theory in the field, and thus it should be grounded in and refer to your readings of research and theory.
The portfolio must include three to six learning artifacts as evidence of the learning outcomes you have fulfilled in the MATC. These learning artifacts should be projects or papers you completed in MATC coursework.
- At least one artifact must be an academic essay or research paper.
- At least one artifact must be a practical technical communication project.
If one of your artifacts includes more than one file (for example, a web site), post a message in your portfolio folder containing a link or links to the artifacts.
Choose the artifacts carefully; your choice is a reflection on what you have learned in the program, and it’s a way to show the assessment committee who you are and what you can do as a technical communication professional. Use your best judgment to decide how many artifacts to include. If you include large artifacts, you can include fewer of them (i.e., 3 or 4); if you include small artifacts, you should include more (i.e., 5 or 6). Choose the artifacts you need to prove that you have fulfilled the MATC program outcomes.
Originality, revision, and independent work
Although the artifacts must be work you completed in MATC courses, you should revise the artifacts for presentation in the portfolio. The evaluators will be looking at the body of your work from the culmination of your academic career; don’t assume that an artifact that received a good grade in a course will be assessed as highly in the portfolio. If you revised the project since its initial submission for a course, describe your strategies for revision and the changes you made in the reflective essay.
You may include collaborative projects, but choose projects to which you made a substantial contribution and revise them individually. In your reflective essay, specify exactly what your initial contribution was to each artifact and explain how you revised artifacts individually for portfolio submission.
In revising your work, take advantage of any feedback you received from instructors when the work was initially submitted in a class. You can also ask for additional feedback from your faculty mentors on individual artifacts. But because the TCR faculty wish to assess your ability to work independently as a technical communicator, they will decline to offer feedback on drafts of the whole portfolio or on the reflective essay.
Any references to or quotations from material by other authors should be documented using an appropriate style, such as MLA or APA. Any copyrighted material included must be appropriately acknowledged; if necessary, the portfolio should include permissions for using such material.
Mid-program submission guidelines
Each MATC student must submit a mid-program portfolio for formative assessment. The Director of Graduate Studies-TCR (DGS-TCR) will notify you about submitting your portfolio in the semester you will complete 18 hours. If you do not submit a mid-program portfolio on schedule, you will not be allowed to register for classes in the following term.
To submit your portfolio for mid-program assessment, take these steps:
- Write a first version your reflective essay, if you have not already done so. In this version, review your fulfillment of the program outcomes thus far and discuss what you plan to do to fulfill the outcomes in the remainder of your time in the program.
- Create a new post titled "Mid-Program MATC Portfolio Submission” in your Outlook folder.
- Attach to the post the reflective esssay and the 3-6 artifacts (or links to artifacts) you would like to include and submit the post.
- Write an email to the DGS-TCR indicating that the portfolio is ready for consideration.
The DGS-TCR will notify the portfolio committee that your portfolio is available for assessment.
Mid-program assessment procedures
The portfolio committee will review your portfolio to assess your general progress toward the degree and forward comments and feedback to the DGS-TCR and to your Outlook folder.
Final portfolio submission guidelines
The final portfolio will typically be due at the middle of March for May graduates, at the middle of October for December graduates, and at the middle of June for August graduates. The DGS-TCR will publicize the specific due date early each term.
To submit your portfolio for final assessment, take these steps:
- Write your final reflective essay, if you have not already done so.
- Create a new post titled “Final MATC Portfolio Submission” in your Outlook folder.
- Attach to the post the reflective essay and the 3-6 artifacts (or links to artifacts) you would like to include and submit the post.
- Write an email to the DGS-TCR indicating that the portfolio is ready for consideration.
The DGS-TCR will convey the portfolio to the portfolio committee.
Final portfolio assessment procedures
The portfolio is designed to satisfy the university’s requirement for a comprehensive assessment of your work in the MATC. Accordingly, it will be evaluated by a committee of TCR faculty members. These evaluations will be reviewed by the entire TCR faculty.
Each portfolio will be evaluated with one of the following scores:
- High Pass: exceeds expectations
- Pass: meets expectations
- Fail: falls below expectations
The DGS-TCR will send out scores and evaluative comments shortly after the assessment committee completes the evaluation. If a candidate receives a passing score, his or her results will also be conveyed to the graduate school to acknowledge degree completion. If a candidate receives a failing score, he or she will have one opportunity to revise and resubmit the portfolio the next term. Upon a second failing score, the candidate will be assessed as having failed to complete the requirements for the MATC degree.
The DGS-TCR will retain your portfolio on file, but after its initial evaluation it will be used solely for MATC program assessment. If any researcher wishes to use your portfolio as part of any research project, he or she will request your permission first. If the program wishes to use your portfolio as an example for other students, we will request your permission first.