Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Spring 2015 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30am - 11am & MF:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2015

Description Syllabus 2012 Portfolios Course Resources Assignments Career Planning COMM Major Goals


Writing Reflection Statements
last updated 10/25/2011

   As you know, the heart of the portfolio is found in your statements written as reflections on your work.  These statements are located on the seven pages in the objectives section of your portfolio - pages that contain links to your artifacts in the left hand column.  When COMM faculty members grade your portfolio during your last semester in college, it is primarily the reflection statements that will determine your evaluation.  It is in the reflection statement that you describe how an "artifact" you have included in the portfolio demonstrates your competency in meeting the learning objective you have indicated it shows.  (It may be helpful to review the "categories of evidence" page from Johns Hopkins to focus your thoughts on the kinds of materials contained in portfolios.)

   The COMM faculty will evaluate your portfolio largely on the basis of  1) how well your reflection statements show your understanding of the major's goals and   2) how convincing your reflections are in persuading us that you have met our goals and that you understand and can explain what is "good work" in communication.  The evaluation rubric should be your guide in writing reflection statements.

Some things to consider in preparing reflection statements

  1. First, examine the "Objectives" page in your portfolio and consider the layout.  Make sure that the headings of the pages in this section have been edited to accurately reflect your concentration, etc. Be sure that the links on the right take the reader to the artifacts described in your reflection statement for the seven category pages.  Be sure that the link to the artifact discussed in your reflection OPENS IN A NEW WINDOW.  Be absolutely sure that you do not have links to your F: drive.

  2. Review the "evaluation rubric" for portfolios that the COMM faculty has prepared. Be sure you understand the terms and concepts used in the rubric description and what the faculty are seeking in your reflection statement.

  3. Begin the reflection statement page for each section (group of artifacts) with your explanation of what competencies you are illustrating in that section.  In other words, you need a different introduction to the page with reflections on messages than to the page with reflections on application or skills. 
    Be sure you make it clear at all points what artifact you are discussing and which of the portfolio requirement (e.g. "library research paper," etc.) the artifact illustrates.  Do not assume your reader knows what you are intending to show or what the point of each artifact is.  Analyze your audience and do not expect them to read your mind.  [ NOTE:  While you may use the same artifact in several places in the objectives section of the portfolio, you CANNOT use the same reflection statement. ]

  4. In beginning your reflection statement, identify the artifact and what competency and requirement it shows.  Then you may want to provide an explanation of why you selected the artifacts for inclusion in your portfolio.  Normally, you will also need to provide some context describing how each artifact came to be.  For example, if it was an assignment in a course, what was the course and goal of the assignment.  If it was from a "real life" experience, what was the reason for creating the artifact.   Perhaps you may wish to describe the process by which the artifact was created.  If it came from an internship or summer job, you may need to explain the nature of work for your employer site where the artifact was generated,  etc.

  5. Following the introductory material in the reflection statement, carefully describe how the artifact (or the experience it illustrates) documents that you have met the learning goal. This is essentially a persuasive essay that shows how a group of artifacts illustrate your competency as a communication major. The reflection statement is where you make your case (that is, where you present the reasons) for documenting your abilities in Message Creation, or Knowledge of your field or Application of your Knowledge or your Skillfulness in Communicating.  The artifacts are the support material for the assertions (case) you are making.

       Be sure you discuss each of the elements in the listed in the rubric description for the appropriate goal in relation to your artifacts, explaining how the artifacts show you have met the standard. It would be most unfortunate if you write reflection statements that appear to contain few references to the concepts you have studied in your COMM courses. When COMM faculty members read your reflections, what we will want to know is, does the statement indicate that you understand what good work is.

  6. Feel free to discuss both strengths AND weaknesses of your work.  What will you do differently in the future?  Remember, we are interested in what you have learned.  We are not expecting that all of your work is perfect.  Reflecting on what you learned from a project may be as important an indicator of how well you have met our goals as the absolute quality of the artifact itself.
      Some things that do not help to have in a reflection statement are "arguments" such as, "This is a good paper because I worked really hard on it." or "Everyone liked my speech." or "I really enjoyed doing this."  You should describe the kinds of standards that COMM faculty members or other professionals in the field would use to evaluate the artifacts. Simply asserting that you have accomplished the objective is not enough (e.g. "This artifact shows I can create effective mediated messages.").  You must give reasons why and how the artifact illustrates the goal you are discussing, reasons that sound like the kinds of things professionals in communication would say.  Take a look at Cassie Hart and Sybille Rizzoli's in their portfolios from 2011.  While not perfect, They give  examples of an approach that matches what we are looking for.  Kyle Christensen's reflections from 2009 are excellent.