Weekly Reflections (20%). Due each Thursday by midnight, Sept. 4 thru Dec. 4

As we will discuss on the first day of class, one of the goals of this course is to invite / challenge you to take responsibility for your own success. The assignments, activities, and even the evaluation processes we engage in this course are meant to fulfill this goal.

One of the more difficult aspects of student performances to evaluate fairly / consistently is what we normally call "participation." This is usually a catch-all category that is meant to encourage you to prepare for each class, to attend class, to participate actively in classes, and to be a good citizen in the course--following policies, guidelines, deadlines, etc. We will take a different approach to this part of your course grade.

Beginning this week, you will submit weekly reports / proposals to me (preferably via email, but if you encounter technological crises, then deliver a hard copy to my office). In these weekly reports, you will help me understand your performance for that week, the ways you were a responsible learner and participant in the business of this course.

Each week, you can earn 0, 1, or 2 points, depending on how "responsible" you and I determine you have been. In your report to me, you will propose that you earned a certain number of points and explain why / how. I will either agree with your report / proposal or I will respond with my view and ask you for more clarification. I will keep track of your performance on the WebCT gradebook.

I hope you see how this approach has several benefits. For sure, you are invited to be part of the evaluation process, so you are taking responsibility. Perhaps more important in the longer term, though, is that this challenges you to be a reflective learner. Every week, you are challenged to examine your work carefully and honestly. Doing this regularly will help you learn how to learn, which is one of the central goals of higher education.

Ideas to succeed in your reflection:

  • Try to connect the readings and discussion to your own experiences.
  • Try to connect the readings and discussion to your future teaching role.
  • Be sure to identify and question or complicate the ideas of the course.
  • Connect this week to previous materials/discussions.

Obviously, you do not have to do these things, but these are meant as an heuristic, or an idea-generator, to help you write more meaningful reflections.

You might also look at this resource on critical thinking, used in our writing program but authored by Washington State Univesity. We will discuss critical thinking in class, as well.

Sample Weekly Reflection

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