This reflection assignment is an opportunity for you to participate in what is traditionally only the teacher's job: thinking about what you have learned about communication this semester, acknowledging what you have done, and considering how this might translate into a grade. Often, we don't know what we've learned until we step back, look over our work, and put our thoughts into words. A written reflection allows you to do this—to take ownership of your own communication processes and choices.
For many of you, this class may be the first time that you have had the opportunity to think extensively about your communication choices, particularly your writing choices. You will participate in reflection throughout the semester. Each time you turn in a new written draft of a paper to me, I expect you to reflect on what you have improved and what you still need help with. As you talk with me, your classmates, and even friends and family about your writing in peer review workshops, you will not only reflect on your peer's writing choices, but on your own as well. As you participate in group work, and reflect on your collaboration for the multimedia assignment, you will be considering the oral and visual choices that you made in order to effectively communicate your claims regarding our course theme of media and politics. As you write your journal responses and assemble your media portfolio, you will be reflecting on the issues that we're reading and discussing in class. Our in-class discussions and workshops will allow you to share your reflections on what you read in class, your own opinions and the ways in which you communicate them, and the ways that you respond to the communication of your classmates.
This final reflection letter is an opportunity for you to collect these reflections into a single coherent reflection of your growth as a communicator. This letter should be organized in a way that makes sense to you (the author) and to me (the audience). You may want to write it in the form of a letter, like your peer response letters; you may want to use headings and sub-headings.
The length of your reflection depends on your thorough discussion of:
- each assignment and the process of revising it/producing it—
- your own participation and effort in the class
- the grades that you feel that this work and participation translate into
For each paper, tell me about the context of your paper, the audience, and the purpose. Tell me why you made these choices about context and how your writing reflects the writing choices you made. Explain how and why your paper has changed with revision. Discuss the writing choices you made, what prompted those choices, and how making those changes improved your paper. Refer to things that you have included in your portfolio. If Jo Smith's peer review helped you with organization, include that peer review.
For your collaborative multimedia assignment, tell me about the purpose of the assignment and how your group decided on what visual/aural/textual elements to include and how to organize these elements. Describe the collaborative conflicts that your group had (substantive, procedural, and affective) and how these conflicts were productive. Discuss how you used your group meeting times and prepared for the oral presentation.
(Your reflection on your Media Portfolio is a separate assignment, as indicated on our syllabus)
Much of this class rests on the assumption that you are self-motivated to participate, read, ask questions, help your classmates, and do what you need to do in order to succeed in the class. Although I have my own view of who participates and who doesn't, I would like your input here about yourself. Consider how you assess yourself in terms of class, workshop, and collaborative group participation. This is an opportunity to say "These were my priorities, this is what I was capable of, and this is what I did. Am I happy with these choices?"
The policy sheet lists what A, B, C, D, and F work and portfolios that correspond to those grades look like to me. However, I am also interested in hearing about what you think these things should look like. If you are honest, self-critical, and reflective when dealing with the work that you've done and your own participation in this reflection, it should be fairly easy for you to think about the grade you deserve. This section of the reflection will only be useful if you are realistic. If you tell me that you missed class 5 times, turned in late work, and didn't revise until the last week before portfolios were due, and then argue you deserve and A will not be helpful. I have to grade you on the basis of the course requirements and the criteria outlined in the policy sheet. You need to take these things into account when you translate your participation and achievement in terms of communication texts (papers and group presentation) into a final grade for your portfolio.
Submitted by Irene Faass, 2004