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Last week I described the creation of my latest portfolio. Admittedly I prefer the aesthetic side of portfolios (the “play”), but a true portfolio requires reflection (the “work”). The very act of assembling documents has made me think about what I’ve assembled.
I’ve noticed, for example, that I have documents covering the features of books, scholarly articles, popular articles, etc. I have nothing on the functions of these genres as of yet. What would function-based artifacts look like? More to the point, when would I use them? Would I use them in a one-shot session? Would they supplement the session? Perhaps students could use them with articles they already are reading for class.
At press time I am working on a handout with more contextual questions one can ask of a given article or book:
- Who wrote it?
- Who seems to be the intended audience?
- How can you tell?
- Why are these details important?
Such questions can spark discussions about the item’s rhetorical purpose. When we look at the item’s purpose, we can place it in the information cycle. Then we can use it most effectively.
I’m only starting to think about these issues. As I do more research, I hope to share additional thoughts. Stay tuned!