ePortfolio: Inspired Insights, Magnificent Failures, and Unanticipated Connections

Instructor: Kate Willink


Class size


Assignment Details

Your learning E-Portfolio will be an on-line representation of your learning processes over the semester. You will receive in class training as well as ongoing support on how to begin and maintain an E-Portfolio. Fear not, fellow technophobes, the emphasis and evaluation of the E-portfolio is on your learning processes not your technical skills. E-portfolios allow you to be more creative than a traditional paper. Consider including images, audio, text, etc.

I would like you to organize your E-Portfolios around three themes: Inspired Insights, Magnificent Failures, and Unanticipated Connections. Be sure to include at least 4 work samples from over the semester. For each work sample that you include as evidence of a particular course goal, write a short reflection describing:

  1. Why is this particular work product evidence of the goal? Specifically, what in the work product is the evidence?
  2. What insights did you gain from doing it?
  3. Of what part are you most proud, or what part did you do particularly well?
  4. With what part are you least satisfied?
  5. If you were to do it again, what part(s) would you do differently? How?

Inspired Insights

Explain what you take to be most valuable to you in terms of what you have learned and how you have been able to use the material in this course.  Use your journal entries to aid you in this process. Consider which readings were most useful to you and how you will use this knowledge in the future (Cite at least five course readings).

Magnificent Failures

I invite and expect you to include in your portfolio work considered experimental, tentative, and “substandard.” Try to shift your focus away from “best work,” and instead consider as well how you learned from “mistakes” and “failures” (such an important part of intercultural communication!).

 Examples of this strategy include:

  • Reflections comparing best work to earlier work.
  • Reflections on what has been learned and how that was achieved
  • How have the course readings and discussions helped you (if they have) to learn from these mistakes?

Unanticipated Connections

Often the most significant insights student derive from our class go well beyond the scope and intention of the course outline. These unanticipated connections bridge academic knowledge with life experiences, allowing the students to make the work personally relevant and meaningful. What unanticipated connections have been most meaningful to you?


During formal E-portfolio review sessions, students can celebrate each other’s work, pick up tips, and provide feedback to others. More detailed expectations and evaluation criteria will be provided in class. You will be given 10 minutes to present. So choose one or two entries in your e-portfolio that you are most proud of or one topic that you would like to engage the class in and deliver your most engaging and informative presentation. (3% of final grade)


  • Week 6/7: Submit an "E-Portfolio in progress." This must include all three sections being created, at least one entry under each heading, and use visuals or songs to enhance your message on at least one of the pages. This will allow you to reflect in an ongoing manner AS you are engaging with the course material. You should also complete a midterm report identifying issues, concerns, and areas you would like feedback.  More information will be provided on the format of this report. I HIGHLY suggest that you get extra help on graphics from the [appropriate support resources]. This takes time but will allow you to enjoy the creative potential of the e-portfolio. (8% of grade)
  • Week 10: Be sure to share work-in-progress to your partner and instructor.
  • Week 11: Be sure to send your partner your e-portfolio feedback (more detail of how to evaluate them to follow) and copy me. Unless you send me and your partner your e-portfolio url on November 13th and submit the e-portfolio feedback on March 20th, you will not get credit for this part of the assignment (2% of grade)
  • Week 12: E-portfolios due (17% of grade).
  • Week 11/12: E-Portfolio presentations.

Presentations: During formal E-portfolio review sessions, students can celebrate each other’s work, pick up tips, and provide feedback to others.  More detailed expectations and evaluation criteria will be provided in class. More detailed expectations and evaluation criteria will be provided in class. (3% of grade)

Reading in Retrograde Motion – 15% of course grade. Shared with permission from Professor Kate Willink

Learning happens not only by reading new material, but also by revisiting the old. Three times this semester you will reread a piece, discuss what you understand now that you didn’t understand earlier or what you understand now that you didn’t know then, and how this knowledge applies to your understanding of a particular intercultural situation. This should be a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 750 hundred. You must use careful quotation, and substantively engaging the arguments of the readings.