What is the Portfolio?

Candidates for the online MA in English must sign up for 1 hour of ENG 6910 Master's Portfolio (generally during the semester in which the student plans to finish the degree) and must submit a portfolio with a minimum of four revised seminar papers/projects along with an analytical narrative for evaluation by two faculty readers. The first faculty reader is chosen by the student and bears the primary responsibility for working with the student to evaluate and revise papers/projects for the portfolio. The Graduate Coordinator serves as the second reader, signs the "Master’s Plan 2 Results" form and then submits that form to BGSU’s Graduate College. That submitted form makes completion of the MA Portfolio official. Please see the tabs below for specific information about the portfolio and its components.

Working with your first reader, the candidate should select four substantial course projects (with a cumulative length range of roughly 40-70 double spaced pages) for revision and submission that best exemplify the strengths of the student’s writing, researching, and critical thinking abilities.

  1. At least one of these projects should demonstrate evidence of substantive research and analysis on a focused topic. In your table of contents you should identify which piece functions as your substantive research and analysis piece. (Of course, all of them might do this work; if more than one does, pick the one that you think best exemplifies your research and analytical skills.)
  2. For those in the specialization in English Teaching, the portfolio should include at least one teaching-based project.
  3. The course projects in your portfolio do not have to all relate to a single topic/issue, but some or all of them can if it works out that way. However, the pieces should be examples of your best work and representative of the intellectual exploration and the research that characterized your MA degree.
  4. Each piece must be substantially revised (described as “fresh, revised” versions of the original projects). You should base your revisions first and foremost on feedback you received from the instructor when you took the course from which the project arose. See below for more details on feedback and revisions.
  5. The portfolio should contain both (a) the original, graded manuscripts with comments, as well as (b) the substantially revised copies of the original works.

The portfolio should be introduced by a 3-5 page, double-spaced critical analytical narrative that defines the rationale for (a) the student’s course of study in the degree program and the methodologies pursued in that course of study, and (b) the revision choices made by the student in consultation with the first reader. Think of this narrative not as an autobiography of your time in the program, but as an opportunity to explain the set of projects in the portfolio, why they matter, and how they reflect your ideas, the academic problems that interest you, how your thinking has changed over time, the reasons for your revisions and what you think you accomplished in revising as you did, etc.

The narrative should thus cover:

  1. Why these works were selected;
  2. How each work originated in the candidate's course work;
  3. An explanation of the revision strategies applied to each work and the reasons therefor;
  4. How the experience of creating, researching and revising the work increased the candidate's learning, or otherwise reflects his/her growth and development as a scholar and/or teacher in English studies.
  5. The narrative must specify which project or projects serve as evidence of “substantive research” (at least one must do so) and should specify which project or projects is a pedagogy or teaching-based project (at least one must do so).

These questions might help you as you go about generating ideas for your personal narrative.

  • What were your goals/objectives in pursuing an MA?
  • What new theories or methods that you learned about in classes had the most impact on you?
  • How did those theories or methods inform the work you did in the MA program?
  • How do your portfolio papers reflect your own incorporation of those theories or methods in your academic work?
  • Is there a thread or theme that runs through all of the portfolio papers?  If, so describe the common theme and its importance to your objectives.
  • How will you use what you have learned in the MA program that will apply to your current/future academic, job or career goals?

C. Portfolio Process and Evaluation

You will revise the portfolio in consultation with your first reader. That reader will work with you to set a timeline to complete the project, will read drafts, suggest revisions, and tell you when the portfolio is completed and approved.

Only when the portfolio has been completely approved by the first reader, you will forward the final version to the second reader (the department Graduate Coordinator) for final approval and submission to the graduate college.

The completed portfolio, approved by the first reader and with absolutely all corrections and edits made, must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator (the second reader) about three weeks in advance of the Graduate College deadline for reporting what are called
"Master's Plan 2" results. Failure to comply with the deadline may result in the delay of graduation. Portfolios may be submitted earlier than the above deadline during the semester in which graduation is anticipated.

The portfolio will be judged as either "adequate" or "inadequate," using five main criteria:

  1. Evidence of substantive research;
  2. Coherence of arguments/conclusions;
  3. Effective use of critical vocabulary and analysis in chosen areas of concentration;
  4. Overall clarity of expression;
  5. Compliance with scholarly conventions of research writing and citation.