Portfolio 2 Guidelines
Portfolio 2: Analyzing the Conversation
Surrounding a Publicly Debated Issue
Merely being on a college campus means we encounter conversations (whether verbal or written) about publicly debated issues. Often, hearing a conversation about or reading an article about a current issue makes us want to know more about that issue. It also might make us want to contribute to a conversation about that issue or share what we have learned with our peers. Since we have read a few articles about publicly debated issues, we have made the first step toward engaging ourselves in conversations about issues that concern us. The second step, however, is not to jump in talking right away, but to examine closely and analyze the how the conversation works so that we can become accountable members of the conversation before we contribute to it.
Portfolio 2 is designed to prepare you to write an argument (which we will do in Portfolio 3) about a publicly debated issue of your choice by analyzing the conversation around the issue first. Foremost, this involves thinking critically about the conversation about your issue and its context. It also involves looking at individual writers and groups of writers who take similar approaches to an issue. In doing so, you will start to see that most important issues involve more than a simple “pro/con” debate. Most publicly debated issues are complex and typically include several opposing approaches, but by recognizing the various approaches and the reasons why writers take them, you will gain a more thorough understanding of the conversation and the issue as a whole. For this portfolio, you will complete a series of related activities that include the following:
1. Topic Proposal
2. Annotated Bibliography
3. Issue Analysis
Your goal in this Portfolio is to learn as much as you can about the issue you are studying and also to comprehensively understand what is going on around the issue that makes it take the shape it does in the public eye.
Grading: As a whole, this Portfolio is worth 30% of your overall grade. Each component will be graded on a +/- scale.