Capstone project. Your capstone project will consist of 20-25 double-space typed pages that offer either 1) an analytical argument about a literary or film text; OR 2) an essay into rhetorical theory and practice; OR 3) a pedagogical paper and lesson plan. You’ll be required to thoroughly research the topic you choose, a process that includes familiarizing yourself with the most frequently cited scholarly essays and books on your text(s). Equally important are the more immediate conversations you’ll be having about your ideas with other researchers: your professors and your peers’ responses to your oral and written work-in-progress will help you to better articulate your research questions, the analytical approaches you’ll be taking, and the emerging arguments of your study. The final product you submit should reflect a highly disciplined engagement with your topic and texts, as well as a tacit understanding of the position you’ve taken within the relevant research field(s).
Portfolio. In addition to the final draft you’ll submit for grading at the end of the semester, you’ll be compiling a portfolio of your work across the semester, beginning with the 300-level course paper you’ve selected for revision. The portfolio is designed to represent the process you’ve embraced while developing your project; it will therefore include your research proposal(s), an annotated bibliography, your They Say/I Reflect assignment, feedback you’ve received from your professors and peers, notes you’ve taken in individual meetings, and the multiple drafts you’ll be composing. This is a central element of your learning experience in ENGL 395 as it will serve as the basis for your self-appraisal in ENGL 396, and, perhaps more importantly, for the grade the department faculty will give you on your portfolio and oral presentation.