Architecture and Environmental Design Faculty Publications


Professional Portfolio as Heuristic Methodology

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The antecedents of literary autobiography as we know it today emerged during the 17th century against a backdrop of the rise of empirical science and inductive method. An arguably older form of autobiography--the portfolio-- has, unlike the literary biography, languished on the periphery of academia during our time. While it should not be controversial to say that possession of an heuristic bent is one mark of a successful education (since learning how to think, that is learning how to be open, alert, engaged, is the fundamental mission of the student), the portfolio has been ignored in part because of its modern connotation as a 'marketing' tool but perhaps more significantly because as a heuristic methodology it is a threat to the centrality of the pedagogue. I argue that the portfolio deserves at very least a re-evaluation throughout academic (to say nothing of quotidian) life as an indispensable tool of the spirit of pedagogy. Like the autobiography, it is validated by the belief that gathering data or details about individual lives has to precede drawing general conclusions or seeing any overarching patterns.

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Journal of Technical Writing and Communication




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