Wednesday 5:45-7:45 PM UW1 031
Colin Danby, University of Washington, Bothell
Room UW1-245 (425) 352-5285

Office Hours Monday and Wednesday 3:30 - 4:30 PM, and by appointment.


·         IAS ePortfolio Resources (info about IAS portfolios & student samples):

·         IT Helpdesk: or call 425-352-3456. 


·         Google Sites Tutorials:



As you complete your undergraduate coursework, you should be thinking about how you got here and where you want to go next.  Your portfolio capstone course addresses these questions by providing time and structure to reflect on your education and its relation to your future goals.  You will step back from the learning you have done in individual courses, focusing on the connections among those courses and the links between your overall academic accomplishments and their diverse contexts and audiences.  We will meet to discuss common readings, to share reflections, and communicate with one another orally and in writing.  The course will conclude with an exhibit-poster session for all BIS 499 students.


BIS 499 is an opportunity for you to share your best work with others, to learn from what others have accomplished in the IAS program, and to create a capstone portfolio of which you will be proud.  That portfolio will include a polished piece of writing that frames your accomplishments and reflects on your learning in IAS as it relates to your future ambitions.  The development of your final portfolio will begin from the four IAS core learning objectives: critical & creative thinking; interdisciplinary research & inquiry; collaboration and shared leadership; writing and communication.  This starting-point will allow us to focus retrospectively on how your coursework and related experiences in IAS have advanced those learning objectives and prospectively toward the ways in which your accomplishments can become a basis for achieving your life and career goals. 


Considering what it means to engage diverse audiences will be central to the work of this course; it is part of the design of BIS 499 that you will be working with students, faculty, and staff who are not intimately familiar with your area of specialization.  As a result, you will need to think about and practice how to explain and frame your work and accomplishments for multiple audiences. 



Critical and Creative Thinking

IAS students develop their critical and creative thinking abilities by learning how to identify assumptions, and to work out how those assumptions inform results.  They assess multiple perspectives, with an eye to understanding why and how they differ, and developing the capacity to engage in controversy productively.  Students learn to identify central questions or concerns informing other work, and to develop their own work with clear animating questions.  Students develop a range of skills in interpretation, analysis, argumentation, application, synthesis, and evaluation. 

Interdisciplinary Research and Inquiry

IAS students develop their ability to assess and conduct interdisciplinary research by engaging with diverse areas of knowledge and kinds of inquiry.  They learn to think critically and creatively as they develop research questions, pursue them with appropriate sources and methods, and present results in a form suited to their intended audience.  In this process, they learn to position their own work in relation to other research literatures and methods of inquiry, and in relation to relevant debates.

Writing and Communication

IAS students develop their writing and communication abilities by articulating significant purposes for their work, and gaining an awareness of its audiences and contexts.  They learn to communicate those purposes effectively to audiences through writing, presentations, and other media, and to use a range of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to support their arguments.  As part of this process, they develop the ability to identify and refer to other work clearly.  As part of the development of reflective practice, students learn how to improve their writing and communication by collecting and reflecting on evidence of its reception by others.


Collaboration and Shared Leadership

IAS students develop their collaboration and shared leadership abilities by learning to work with others to identify dimensions of a project, generate and refine ideas, follow through on the consequences of collective decisions, and pursue specific tasks without losing a sense of the whole.  As part of this process, they learn to assess and draw on group members' histories, strengths, and potential contributions.  They develop skills in listening, mediating conflict, playing different roles, and reflecting on the outcomes of collaborative work.  Essential to this progress is understanding different ways of managing groups, and reflecting critically and creatively on collaboration processes.

Learning Objectives for this course

As an interdisciplinary program, IAS encourages students to draw on a range of intellectual traditions and research methods and to pursue their own directed inquiry through one (or more) of the degrees offered in the program.  With this greater scope and freedom comes a need to articulate for various audiences the meaning and significance of your academic accomplishments.  The overarching objective of this course is to allow you to consolidate, reflect upon, and become articulate about your accomplishments in IAS and in relation to the core learning objectives of the program and your specific degree(s) within it.  By the end of the course, you should have:
  1. Created a final portfolio that draws from your work completed in the program and uses the portfolio-building process to integrate and reflect on your undergraduate education as a whole.
  2. Developed skills in drawing on evidence in your portfolio to support claims about your learning and capacities for various audiences (friends, family, employers, grad school admissions committee, etc.).
  3. Become articulate about linkages between learning portfolios and professional portfolios.
  4. Developed your capacities to present your work orally and in writing to various audiences.
  5. Worked collaboratively with other students to enrich your understanding of interdisciplinarity.


           Reynolds and Price, Portfolio Keeping (This is the basic guidebook for building your IAS portfolio.  If you don’t still have your copy from BIS 300, please refer to a copy on reserve at our library. 

I will make some other readings available to you on this site as the course proceeds.



Students must receive a minimum course grade of 2.5 in the capstone course to graduate

BIS 499 builds toward the capstone portfolio and poster/exhibit session through weekly assignments.  The assignments during the quarter build toward those final products and give you practice presenting your work and conveying your abilities to different audiences via different formats.  You will submit assignments via your UW Google Sites.
  • Participation: 20% (in-class discussion and peer-review sessions, elevator speech)
  • Weekly assignments: 40% (annotated bibliography, learning objective mini-portfolios, graduate school or job application letter.   You will have the option to re-submit each of these for a higher grade within one week.)
  • Final Exhibit/Poster:  15%
  • Final portfolio: 25%
Late work: late submissions will be penalized 15% (of the total possible grade) up to the first week they are late; 30% thereafter. Late assignments submitted after the last day of classes (June 7) will not be graded. It's your responsibility to organize your life so work gets done on time, reliably. Please don't show me doctors' notes, court orders, or anything like that. There are no exceptions to the late-work policy -- there simply is no way that I can fairly assess the personal emergencies, job pressures, and other factors that impinge on different people's lives, and adjust individual deadlines accordingly. There is however one appeal: if you feel that for any reason, part of your grade does not reflect your learning in the course, write me a short e-mail explaining why, and I will take that into account when assessing the final grade. 
In the classroom: Our scheduled classes are times for work. Focusing on the task at hand is vital for your own learning; it also makes you a better participant in small-group discussions and other activities that help others learn. It is therefore expected that you will use class time for class work, and most importantly that you will not do anything to distract other students from class work. It's my responsibility to ensure that the classroom is a place in which every student can work successfully, and I will be forceful in squelching distractions. I will ask you to avoid private conversations and noisy food, and to turn off and put away cell phones and any other portable electronic devices. In the interest of avoiding distraction this will be a laptop-free classroom. If you have to arrive late to class, please tiptoe in the back door as quietly as possible. Please return from break on time (my breaks are five minutes). It is my responsibility and prerogative to determine what is appropriate classroom behavior.
Keeping track: This syllabus is a web document. It can be located by putting "danby" into the faculty directory accessible via the main uwb page, or by putting "colin danby" into a search engine like google. Changes in readings or assignments may be made due to winter weather or other reasons. So please keep the url in your browser's bookmarks. If you miss classes, you need to check for any modifications to assignments. The university also provides you an e-mail account which I will use if I need to contact you, and you’re responsible for forwarding if you use multiple e-mail accounts. It is also easier for me if you e-mail me from your university account, because e-mail that comes from non-university addresses is harder for me to identify amid the daily flood. At the least, please be sure that any e-mail account you use to contact me shows your full name in the “from” field.
Staying in touch: I encourage you to see the regular class time as only part of the service provided to you in this course. Please feel no hesitation about contacting me outside of class, about using the scheduled office hours, and about setting up meetings at other times. If you're caring for a child, feel free to bring the child with you to office hours. Aside from visiting during the scheduled office hours or chatting after class (before class is less good because I'm focused on setting up), the best way to get in touch is e-mail. Among other things, you can always show me an assignment draft in advance, and I am also happy to look at practice exam answers in advance (really and truly – students don’t always believe this, but I will review drafts of anything. My job is to help you learn!) The “Collect It” dropbox also has chat functionality but I don’t monitor it regularly, so please use e-mail for electronic communication with me. I don't use the UWB voicemail system. I’ll usually reply to e-mails within 24 hours during the M-F week. If I can, I’ll be faster, and I often check in during weekends, but don’t depend on that. Every now and then, the flow of e-mail gets too great and I fall behind for a few days. Feel free to send me a reminder. Given federal laws around educational records disclosure (google FERPA), it’s best not to use e-mail to discuss grades or anything sensitive. But please e-mail me at any time about any question or concern, large or small.
There is no reason to tell me if you are going to miss class. However if a serious illness or personal emergency is going to affect course work over a week or more, please tell me so we can plan how to get you back on track as quickly as possible. If an unforeseen circumstance makes you fall seriously behind in your work, it may be better to cut your losses and seek a hardship withdrawal.
Weather: Please check if the campus may be closed due to weather. When this happens, I hear about it at the same time you do, via the UWB website or by calling the Campus Information Hotline 425.352.3333. You may also sign up with an alert system that will contact you via email or text message if classes are canceled. For more information on the alert process, please see
Americans with Disabilities Act: Accommodation for disabled students is a campus priority, and I am always happy to work with the Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS). If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact the DRS at 425.352.5307, 425.352.5303 TDD, 425.352.5455 FAX, or at
Diversity: In IAS and at UW Bothell, students are expected to respect individual differences including age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender presentation, immigration status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. You should also expect to encounter a range of views in course readings and classroom discussions, some of which may be at odds with your own. Students seeking support around these issues can find more information and resources at
Academic Integrity:

You are responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the University of Washington Student Code, and you will be held responsible for any such violations whether they were intentional or not. For crucial information regarding academic integrity, see: and The library also has an extremely useful website with resources at .

Student Support Services: Library:, 425-352-5340; Writing and Communication Center:, 425-352-5253; Quantitative Skills Center:, 425-352-3170; Student Success and Career Services:, 425-352-3776; Student Counseling Services:, 425-352-3183.
Schedule of Topics, Readings, and Assignments (subject to adjustment)


   assignments and readings  work in class
April 3  

Course preview

intros and maps

audiences and portfolios

next assignment

Google Sites work as needed

April 10

Annotated bibliography

Due by 5:00 in your UW Google Site.  The artifacts you refer to should also be on the site.


Please bring one printed copy to class.

1.      Create an archive of 15-20 artifacts of the work that you’ve completed during your IAS degree, and post those artifacts in your portfolio. 


2.      From this archive, select 8-10 pieces of the most significant work from your time in IAS and write an annotated bibliography for those pieces.  This requires you to describe your own work as if it were the work of another.  In each case, you should include a citation that identifies the author(s) of the work (you or you + collaborators), the date of its publication (quarter & year), and the context of its production (course or project).  You should then write a paragraph summarizing the work for a reader unfamiliar with it.  Finally, you should write a sentence or two about why you have identified this work as “significant.” Please consult good/bad student examples from the class handout, as well as the sample portfolios on the IAS ePortfolio Resources webpage.


3.       Review the discussion of the capstone portfolio on the IAS website,, including some of the sample portfolios from previous years (available on this page).  Identify the portfolio that, in your judgment, best completes the portfolio assignment and come to class prepared to explain that choice.



·         Mapping your IAS journey


Framing work for different audiences


April 17 Job Application Letter or Graduate School Statement of Purpose *

Due by 5:00 in your UW Google Site. Please bring one printout to class.

Graduate school and job applications are portfolio assignments in disguise. Nearly all will ask for a letter of application; many will require specific types of work samples. All will want you to make an evidence-based argument about why you are a good fit for the opportunity and should be the person they select.

1. This assignment asks you to link your work in IAS to your career goals by finding a job or graduate school program to which you could imagine applying, selecting a few work samples appropriate to that position, and writing a 300-600 word application letter (or personal statement). Include the actual application language as an appendix to your letter.

Be sure you are making evidence-based claims about what you are interested in and capable of doing. The letter, in other words, should discuss your work in IAS (or elsewhere) as evidencefor your abilities. Don’t just say: “I am a skilled leader in teamwork situations”; say “My work in ____ shows I have leadership skills because I’ve done ______.” Consult the Resume & Cover Letter tips on the UWB Career Center website.

* If you’ve already secured your dream job or been accepted to graduate school and wish to write a different type of letter (request for promotion; cover letter for a grant application, fellowship, professional conference, etc.) please talk with me individually.

5:45 - 6:45 Career Center visit: cover letters and letters of application

Prep for next assignment

Revise letter

April 24

Mini-Portfolio on Critical Thinking and Interdisciplinary Research

Due by 5:00 PM  in your UW Google Site.  Please bring one printout to class.

1. Create a mini-portfolio focused on your critical & creative thinking and interdisciplinary research & inquiry capacities.  Choose 3-4 artifacts from your work archive that provide evidence of each of these capacities.  If you like, you can choose one artifact in which your abilities were less developed, and another in which they were better developed, to make a comparison.  If you would like to add more artifacts to your UW Google site for this purpose, go ahead.

Write a 600-700 word framing essay that introduces the reader to the artifacts and explains their significance (and your choices).  You should aim to be as specific as possible in explaining to the reader how the artifacts you have chosen evince your abilities with regard to critical & creative thinking and interdisciplinary research & inquiry. Remember that your reader will be unfamiliar with your work so you will need to describe it (rather than simply gesturing toward it).  To this end, some of the writing from your annotated bibliography may be useful; feel free to reuse it here.

2. As you complete this assignment, please refer to the IAS description of the critical thinking and interdisciplinary research & inquiry learning objectives, and draw on your revision of that description along with other materials and readings.

Debrief, critique in groups
Discussion of ways to use the Google sites "about me" page.
May 1

Mini-Portfolio on Writing, Communication, Collaboration and Shared Leadership

Due by 5:00 PM in your UW Google Site. Please bring one printout to class.

1. Create a mini-portfolio focused on your writing and communicationand collaboration & shared leadershipcapacities. Choose 3-4 artifacts from your work archive that provide evidence of each of these capacities. If you like, you can choose one artifact in which your abilities were less developed, and another in which they were better developed, to make a comparison. If you would like to add more artifacts to your UW Google site for this purpose, go ahead.

Include in this mini-portfolio at least one, and preferably two, presentation or performance experiences from your IAS career, and write them up. If you include two, try to compare them with each other in your essay.

Write a 300-500 word framing essay that introduces the reader to the artifacts and explains their significance (and your choices). You should aim to be as specific as possible in explaining to the reader how the artifacts you have chosen evince your abilities with regard to writing and communication and collaboration & shared leadership. Remember that your reader will be unfamiliar with your work so you will need to describe it (rather than simply gesturing toward it). To this end, some of the writing from your annotated bibliography may be useful; feel free to reuse it here.

2. As you complete this assignment, please refer to the IAS description of the writing and communication and collaboration and shared leadership learning objectives, and draw on your revision of that description along with other materials and readings.

Debrief, critique in groups
May 8
Draft Capstone Portfolio

1st draft due by 5:00 in your UW Google Site.  Please bring one printout to class.


1. Create a complete first draft of your capstone portfolio.  This assignment should respond to the prompt for the portfolio (included at the end of this syllabus and available on the IAS website).  Please refer to the “Capstone Guidelines” handout. You are welcome to use some writing from your annotated bibliography or your previous mini-portfolios, but you are expected to take this opportunity to edit, redraft, and refine.  Use the introductory essay to frame your work and put it in perspective.  As you do this, you will want to keep in mind two important questions:  What audiences are you likely to be telling about your work?  How can you best convey your unique abilities and accomplishments to those audiences?  Your answers will inform the style, shape, and rhetoric of your portfolio. Try to avoid discussions that sound generic and standardized. This is your moment to distinguish yourself to your readers.

Debrief, critique in groups
 May 15 Exhibit Draft

Please bring to class the completed Exhibit worksheet along with a rough visual draft of how your exhibit will be constructed. (The worksheet can also be found at the bottom of this page.)


These assignments will prepare you for the public exhibit & discussion session with which BIS 499 concludes.  The worksheet asks you to respond to questions about the intent and design of the exhibit you prepare to characterize your work in IAS.

Please bring a draft layout of your exhibit, complete with an idea for design and list of materials to be included.  The point will be to allow you to get feedback from your peers about how effectively the exhibit conveys the themes and arguments you want to make – and how it can be improved.

 Discuss and critique
May 22


Take a video clip of your rehearsed speech (30 – 60 seconds max) and post it on your Google Site.  If you do not have a cell phone with video function, please ask a friend with one to film you, or visit the IT help desk to check out equipment.  For a tutorial on uploading video to your site, go to, select “Advanced ePortfolios” and then “Uploading & Embedding Google Video.”  You may also just link to YouTube or another public site showing your video clip.
5:45 – 7:15 Career Center folks visit for elevator speeches
May 29
no class - individual meetings on portfolio rewrites
June 5
Dress Rehearsal Present exhibits to one another and give feedback. This will be a full dress rehearsal, and I will be assessing your exhibits as“final.” You are free to make adjustments between now and the final exhibition, but please be as done as possible by today’s class meeting.
(Note: if you want to stash posters in my office between today and June 10th, that's fine.)
 Discuss and critique

June 10

(exam week)

IAS Graduation Capstone Exhibition

North Creek Events Center (2-4pm)

On this day, we invite the public – students, faculty, staff, and your friends and family, if you like – to view and discuss the exhibits you have created.  The goal of this session is to catalyze conversations about your learning in IAS and where you intend to go with that learning. Students MUST include a photo of their exhibit in their Google Site (either on the home page or w/the capstone essay) for instructor evaluation. Your capstone portfolio, including photo from the exhibit, must be completed by 5pm on June 11, 2013.


Please arrive 15 minutes early with your exhibit so you have time to set up for the event.

Final Poster Session, 2-4PM 

(if you have a conflict, the 9:30 - 11:30 slot may be available.)





IAS Portfolio Prompt

As you approach graduation, we ask you to create a Capstone Portfolio by showcasing and framing the significance of a limited number of artifacts from your full archive of work. This portfolio can include written work and essays; videos of presentations; poems and stories; pictures or film of art projects or posters; field reports and other documentation of experiential learning – any artifact related to your undergraduate education and your accomplishments as a student. You should feel free to include items produced outside the IAS curriculum. You also may showcase items that you consider flawed if they reveal something important about your development as a learner.


In order to explain the significance of the artifacts you choose to showcase, your Capstone Portfolio requires a framing statement of approximately 1250-1750 words that responds to this prompt:


As you conclude your undergraduate education, what knowledge and abilities have you developed that you can carry forward? How does your portfolio provide evidence that you have the knowledge and abilities you claim?


Please make your claims in the framing essay evidence-based and credible by including specific and substantial reference to the artifacts you have chosen to include in your portfolio. Your capstone course professor will provide additional details about how to assemble a Capstone Portfolio that will speak persuasively to your intended audience(s) about your accomplishments and abilities.


You are welcome to use the IAS learning objectives to structure the essay, but you don’t need to: your Capstone Portfolio is about you, not about IAS.   For more information about the IAS Capstone Portfolio and resources for portfolio creation, including sample Capstone Portfolios, see:

Creating ePortfolios with Google Sites

Summary of Essential Steps

Here is a summary of the essential steps that students will need to know to set up the UW’s Google Sites for an ePortfolio as well as links to their tutorial pages. These steps are also listed in the navigation tiles at the top of the page.

1.      Activate your UW Google Apps.

2.      Create your Site using this EXACT naming convention: LastName, Firstname IAS Portfolio, your major,

3.      After your site is created, you can always access it by going to and clicking on the link to Sites.

4.      Share your site with your instructor (designating me as an owner in Google Sites) so I can look over your ePortfolio. Use this instructor email: (not my uwb account)

5.      Create a File Cabinet page to which you can upload and organize your files and learning artifacts; create other pages as needed to showcase your work.

6.      Create and edit your page by adding learning artifacts including files, presentations, and multimedia.

7.      Customize your site as needed including adding new pages, changing its design, moving files to other location within your ePortfolio, and integrating it with other Google tools.

8.      Please include a photo of your poster on your google site, so that I may remember  in detail what you produced.

9.      Please note, if you need technical assistance, do not email me.  Instead, please contact the IT Help Desk, 


Using UW Google Apps

UW Google Apps is a collection of web tools that let users easily collaborate with others on assignments and other tasks. The University of Washington has partnered with Google to provide Google Apps for UW faculty, staff, and students.

UW Google Apps is tied to your UW NETID and is different from a separate Google Account. You can login to UW Google Apps from either ( or the Google homepage.



Colin Danby,
May 8, 2013, 7:43 PM