English 202C by Portfolio

If you complete three for-credit internships or co-op semesters, you may have the option to receive full academic credit for the English 202C (Technical Writing) requirement by submitting a portfolio of technical writing samples created during the work experience. 

The cost for credit by portfolio assessment is $390.

Requirements

You must be enrolled in your third for-credit internship or co-op experience to be eligible for the English 202C by Portfolio option.

By the end of the second week of the internship or co-op, submit an Intent to Register Form [PDF] and a Brief Proposal to our office. 

The Brief Proposal (3–6 pages) should provide a detailed explanation of the elective assignments you plan to write while on the job.  Include a cover page with your name, employer name, and date.  The body of the proposal should be double-spaced and use a standard 10–12-point font.

During the work experience, you must complete the following requirements for your portfolio:

  • Cover page [sample PDF], including your co-op or internship supervisor’s signature
  • Credit by Portfolio Assessment Application [PDF]
  • Table of contents for the portfolio
  • Copy of the Brief Proposal that you already submitted
  • Job Application Package, including:
    • Two cover letters—addressed to your current employer and another employer of your choice—for two different types of jobs, highlighting different aspects of your experience
    • Two résumés—for the two aforementioned types of jobs—that differ significantly in content or layout (or both)
    • An interview thank-you letter
    • A job acceptance letter (use made-up start dates, salary, benefit amounts, etc.)
    • A letter declining a job offer
    • A cover memo that gives an overview of the two jobs addressed in the first bullet point in this list, reviews what you know about these particular employers, and describes the strategies and tactics you have used to adapt your letters and résumés
  • Printed copies of two End-of-Semester Reports that you submitted for your first two internship or co-op experiences
  • Two elective assignments (see below)
  • Personal check for $390, made out to “Penn State” and including your 9-digit Penn State student ID number
  • Disclosure agreement, if required by your employer

Elective Assignments

You must also choose and complete two of the following elective assignments.

Empirical Report (5–15 pages)

  • Present and discuss an experiment that your employer has asked you to conduct
  • Include a literature review (if necessary), an objective, a section detailing materials and methods, a results section, and a discussion of the significance of your test results
  • Include tables, graphs, pictures, calculations, or diagrams where applicable
  • Be as precise as possible by adhering to standard scientific protocols when recording, presenting, and interpreting data

Procedural Instructions (5–15 pages)

  • Write a detailed set of instructions for readers who have never performed a particular task before but who may have basic knowledge of the topic
  • Include an introduction, a materials or tools list, a list of preliminary precautions, an overview of operations, instructions to perform the task, and a troubleshooting guide
  • Make instructions as user-friendly as possible by using appropriate white space, layout, and visuals (photographs, drawings, etc.)

Feasibility Study/Recommendation Report (8–15 pages)

  • Find the best solution for a given problem in your field (e.g., design or software problems, scheduling conflicts)
  • Include a detailed description of the problem’s causes and consequences, a proposed solution or solutions, a set of criteria that set the standard for an ideal solution, an empirical test that helps you evaluate your solution against those criteria, and a final recommendation that your employer adopt a particular procedure, product, or course of action
  • Investigate how other employers have solved similar problems in order to get ideas
  • Demonstrate that you understand the constraints and parameters that your employer may place on your possible solution(s)
  • Include tables, graphs, pictures, calculations, or diagrams where applicable

Web Page

  • Design or enhance a portion of your employer’s website to make it more successful
  • Can be informative (e.g., about employer’s goals and products) or can be used to enhance the employer’s e-commerce or business-to-business commerce
  • Layout should be easy to follow and icons should enhance the user experience
  • Page should be visually appealing while still providing enough text to answer any user questions; at least some portion of the text must be written or compiled by you
  • Include a hard copy of the page in your portfolio and provide the URL where it can be viewed

Literature Review (5–10 pages)

  • Compile a report of the existing research on a particular problem your lab group would like to investigate
  • Include a brief description of the problem, a bibliography of existing research on the problem, a taxonomy of agreements and conflicts, and a list of the significant gaps in or methodology problems associated with the existing research
  • Close with a recommendation for a particular course of action

Submission Format

All portfolio assignments must be printed out and compiled into a three-ring binder, with each assignment paginated and with divider sheets between each component.  Incomplete portfolios will not be accepted.

Requirements for the portfolio are determined by the English department. Any questions should be directed to Jim Ausherman, Lecturer in English (814-865-3890).

Due Dates

You can submit your completed portfolio at any time during your third work experience.  However, final deadlines are:

  • Fall work experiences: November 25
  • Spring work experiences: April 25
  • Summer work experiences: July 25

If any due date falls on a weekend, the report will be due by 5:00 p.m. on the first Monday following the weekend.

Grading

Your portfolio will be reviewed and graded by an instructor in the English department.  If your portfolio shows adequate mastery of technical writing skills, you will receive credit designated on your transcript as Credit awarded by portfolio assessment.  You will not receive a letter grade.

If the grader thinks that you need to make minor changes to your portfolio in order to receive credit, he/she will contact you and ask you to make the changes by a certain date.  However, if the grader determines that your portfolio is unacceptable (i.e., in need of major changes, or incomplete), no rewrite will be allowed and you will forfeit the portfolio fee.

You will be notified about approval of your portfolio by email prior to the start of the following semester.  You can pick up your graded portfolio after the second week of the semester in which you return to campus.

 

Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032