Capstone Experience

English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies


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Capstone Course: Senior Portfolio Preparation (WRIT 4506)

In the Writing Studies Program’s senior-year Capstone Experience, students work individually with their advisers both to look back at their work in Writing Studies courses at UMD, and to look forward to the next step in their careers. 

The student's Capstone Experience consists of two separate projects:

  1. creating an online portfolio of selected works the student has produced as a Writing Studies Major
  2. conducting an informational interview with someone representing a field, profession, or other endeavor that is relevant to the student's intentions and      interests after graduation. 

1. THE ONLINE PORTFOLIO

    • The portfolio may be created via any software, online format, or service: Google Sites, Dreamweaver, Drupal, UMD's ePortfolio, HTML/CSS, WordPress, Weebly, a blogging site, etc. 
    • The portfolio will include at least 5 pieces of writing or other media production completed as a Writing Studies major
    • Each piece will be introduced by a very brief explanation of what the piece is intended to be (for instance, its genre, purpose, audience, perhaps even a short description of the assignment or prompt that occasioned it).  This introduction can appear at the top of the document or on the home page next to the link to that document. 
    • The portfolio should have a home page that identifies the site as a professional portfolio and provides links to the pieces of work. 
    • Images and other elements of visual design may be included throughout the portfolio as desired. 
    • Students will write a short paper (500-750 words) for their adviser, reflecting on what the pieces make them realize about themselves as writers or as students of writing and their process of development during their years at UMD. 
    • In writing this reflection, students may find it useful to consider some of the goals of Writing Studies classes, which are to prepare students:
      • to articulate foundational concepts in the discipline of Writing Studies;
      • to conduct research proficiently;
      • to compose well-written documents for specific rhetorical situations;
      • to engage in a writing process that results in effective documents;
      • to recognize that writing is a tool for civic engagement;
      • to write edited Standard Written English. 

2. THE INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW

    • The interview should be conducted in person, if at all possible. 
    • Students will write and turn in to their adviser a 500-750 word account or "recap" of the interview and the significance of what they learned in it.  The interview need not be transcribed. 
    • This account should include contextualizing information on the interview subject, the location and time of the interview, and the field, profession, or other endeavor that the interviewee is intended to represent
    • The interview can be brief, but at least 15 minutes
    • The student should prepare five to seven questions, to be asked in descending order of importance. 
    • The student should privilege engaging with the person being interviewed, rather than getting through all the questions or writing down every word. 
    • The student should be prepared to ask follow-up questions based on what the subject says

As soon as the two projects are complete--or by the end of the semester--advisers should report the S/N (pass/fail) grade to the instructor of record to be submitted to the registrar for the grade in WRIT 4506.