Play Make Write Think

Final Portfolio and Reflection Letter

Length: 1000 – 1250 words (4-5 pages)

Due date: 5/6

Look back over the writing you’ve encountered and produced this semester, and then draft a cover letter for your portfolio that explains how you have met the learning outcomes for this course. This letter is an opportunity to think about your writing and clarify — for yourself and portfolio readers — how your skills and awareness of your writing processes have grown this semester. Think of each piece of writing included in your portfolio as an “exhibit” that you are analyzing and reflecting on in this letter.

What should your letter do?

  • Explicitly address the course outcomes and how you encountered them throughout the reading and writing for the course.
  • Guide your readers through the exhibits, discussing your writing while looking for larger patterns. What do you see about yourself as a writer when you step back and look at the work you’ve produced this semester?
  • Discuss at least one piece of writing in depth, considering the stages of the writing process as it developed. How did you think about audience, purpose, or genre while you wrote this piece?
  • Explain how you have applied (or will apply in the future) insights from this course in your other classes or other rhetorical situations. Use specific examples, if possible.
  • Employ evidence to support your claims. Just like in the other writing assignments you’ve completed this semester, you will need evidence to support of your argument; however, in this case, the evidence you will use is your own writing.
    • Remember that you need to incorporate quotes into your own writing with clear framing language.
    • Also remember that you always need your own interpretation and analysis of any quote you use in order for it work as evidence.
    • Forms of evidence from your writing exhibits could include, but are not limited to: quotes from your own finished writing (embedded in sentences or longer quotes in blocks); quotes from early drafts of your writing or notes; reported or quoted feedback from others; illustrations or quotations that show how a particular exhibit evolved; or screenshots or images from your work.


Due to the coronavirus physical distancing measures, we had to drop the Kickstarter game design project and instead you completed six #hometasks. As part of your reflection letter, I’d like you to take some time to specifically reflect on what you learned from those tasks, and perhaps what you learned from each other engaging in those tasks as a community together during this challenging time. Did the hometasking assignments help you to convert a “threat mentality” to a “challenge mentality” in McGonigal’s terminology? Did these quests work in the ways that McGonigal describes quests in Superbetter (did you experience any sort of “upward spiral,” for example)?  Looking back over your hometasks, what patterns do you notice in the way you approached those assignments? What patterns do you notice in the works of the entire class when taken together? Are there lessons from these tasks that you can apply to writing or other academic tasks in the future?

Publishing your cover letter

The reflection essay should become the new home (or index) page for your course site and should begin with a note indicating that the site is an archive of the work that you completed as part of ENG101 at Emory University during spring semester 2020. You should link to the course site, so that a reader who is going through your work can easily find out more information about the course you were in.

You should organize the work on your course site into a finished portfolio showing all the work you have done this semester. Make certain that your entire course subdomain looks complete, coherent, and like you’ve given some thought to its overall design and aesthetics.

Just like with any assignment you’ve completed this semester, your reflection letter should include at least one image (though you can certainly include more than one. You might consider using your Assemblies image as the primary or feature image for your letter — hopefully constructing that chart will help you to think about how the work you have completed this semester fits together, and hopefully it will help to communicate that understanding to your readers.

Side Quest 14: Assemblies

Due: 4/19

Tag: sq14

For some unknown reason, the National Archives includes a document entitled Cocktail Construction Chart, which was created by the US Forest Service in 1974, showing recipes for a group of cocktails represented in the style of an architectural diagram.

For this week’s sketch, think about the work you’ve completed in this class and your own learning and thinking processes — then break all that down into component parts, represented in some sort of an architectural diagram like this one. I’m less interested in the quality of the drawing itself and more in your analytical ability to break down something complicated into a series of steps and to represent that as if in such a diagram.

Creating this diagram should be a key step towards completing your portfolio reflection letter (and I will encourage you to use the diagram as a key image in that letter). If you think about what you have learned this semester about yourself as a writer and reader, how can you represent that understanding as a single diagram, and how do the various pieces of writing you have done fit into that diagram to construct your vision?

Side Quest 9/#hometasking 2

Due: 3/30

Tag: sq9

Let’s stick with TaskMaster for our Side Quest 9/second #hometasking task, even though our due date is a little later:

Feel free to check out some of the examples on Twitter: #hometasking 2
Also, I’ll have a poll posted where you can vote on the most spectacular examples of throwing a paper into a bin before this task is due. Make sure you vote over the weekend!

Edited to add: Don’t just drop a link to the video. Embed it!

Side Quest 8/Hometasking 1

Due: 3/27

Tag: sq8

Now that we’re all social distancing and trapped in our homes, we’ve decided that as a community we’re going to follow along with the Taskmaster #hometasking tasks as side quests.

Your task for this sidequest is to throw a piece of paper into a bin. Most spectacular throw wins.

Post a video or gif to your website, no longer than 1 minute. Write a brief paragraph about why your throw is spectacular. Please make a special point to comment on your peers’ throws as well. On Saturday, I’ll publish a poll to vote on which was the most spectacular throw.


Side Quest 6: Design analysis of Betrayal at House on the Hill or Mansions of Madness

Due: 2/23

Tag: sq6

Sometime before 2/23, you will need to check out either Mansions of Madness or Betrayal at House on the Hill from the board game lending library. I strongly recommend that you reserve the game for a specific time in advance, so you know when you and your friends show up, you'll be able to play. Information about the two games is below, but they are both supernatural horror board games where you explore a haunted mansion or its environs and attempt to solve an eldritch mystery before you and the other players go insane or are killed.

Each game should take roughly an hour to play, plus some time to set up. I've linked below to information about the games and videos that explain how to play -- it's probably a good idea to watch these in advance to minimize the time setting up, but even so do plan some additional time to figure out what you're doing. Expect either game to require a certain amount of probing in order to figure out how the game world works, the physics of the game.

After playing, write a post on your site in which you reflect on the process and analyze the sorts of decision-making the game encourages. In Everything Bad is Good For You, Steven Johnson argues that video games are very complex nonlinear narratives that make players probe the physics of the game world and make lots of strategic decisions in order to play but that board games don’t require the same sorts of skills from players. Does that hold true in your play of one of these board games? How did you engage in probing and telescoping as you played? How complex was game play

If you play with friends who are also in the class, every student should write their own reflection post. If you play with friends who are not in the class, they obviously are not required to write reflections themselves.

Mansions of Madness

Mansions of Madness is published by Fantasy Flight Games

Entry at Board Game Geek

How to Play Mansions of Madness

Betrayal at House on the Hill

How to Play Betrayal at House on the Hill

Side Quest 7: 3d Print a Game Piece

Due: Game piece submitted to Techlab to print by 3/1

Due: Post with photo and reflection by 3/6

Tag: sq7

Archeologist have recently uncovered a tiny piece of worked glass from the period of Viking raids on Northumbrian island from around AD793, a small blue and white crown that would have been a game piece for Viking board game hnefatafl (“king’s table”), "a strategic board game simulating a Viking raid. The king and 12 defenders have to escape 24 attackers arranged in groups of six surrounding the weaker side. The attackers try to capture the king, while the defenders aim to thwart them and guide him safely to one of the corners, known as 'king’s squares.'"

And not only can you see a picture of the piece, like the one up above, but you can explore a 3d interactive model of the piece. It doesn't look like they've made this model available for download, but if they had, you could download the .stl file and bring it over to the Maker Space in Cox Computing to print your own plastic reproduction of the piece.

The Metropolitan Museum currently has on display in the Egyptian room an ancient Egyptian icosahedron, a twenty-sided die like those made popular in the 20th century for Dungeons and Dragons. If the Met made all its objects available for digital download like the Smithsonian Museum does, you could download the ancient Egyptian 20-sided die and print it one to play with in your own D&D campaign.


For this assignment, I want you to 3d print a game piece of some kind using the TechLab in Student Digital Life. (Here's a link with more information about 3d printing services at Emory.)

You can simply find the .stl file for an existing game piece, for example:

Feel free to search yourself for other small 3d printable figures that would be fun. Thingiverse has lots of items and there are plenty of other sites out there.

You can also, if you choose modify or create your own item using Tinkercad (one of the early tutorials for learning Tinkercad is to create your own 6-sided die).


Once you've got your printed object back from the TechLab, take a picture of your model and post it to your site. Write a paragraph in which you explain why you chose the game piece that you did; how you went about finding, editing, or creating the .stl file you printed; and what challenges you faced in order to print your game piece.

Don't forget to tag your post "sq7."