Common Reflective Writing Assignment

Three Elements of the Assignment

1.       Observation – The assignment should begin with  a text or idea from the course or it could be an experience.  In any case the assignment should ask students to look at something carefully, perhaps from different perspectives.  Students should carefully describe, explain or notice.  Their writing should make clear that they’ve taken some time to observe carefully.

2.       Analysis – After observing, students should then explore.  They should break ideas down and put them back together.  They should begin making connections between ideas encountered in the course and their own experience.  They should consider what their reflection means to them intellectually, personally and socially.

3.       Deriving Implications or Meanings – Students should offer conclusions about where the reflection has brought them.  These conclusions may be partial, plural or not fully settled, but students should be able to articulate how they think differently at the end of their reflection.  They may have new ideas.  They may have new understandings of old beliefs.  In any case, they should articulate where they stand in relation to the reflection practiced.

Common Elements

·         The assignment should be a standalone paper (not a part of an exam or any other assignment) that is embedded in the course.

·         The assignment should be consistent with the course themes and goals of the particular section.  Each instructor will develop her/his own specific prompt.

·         The assignment should be long form and demand sustained attention by the students.  To this end, it should result in a paper of 1000 – 2000 words (the instructor may narrow this range).

·         The assignment should be an important and integral part of the course.  To this end, it should a represent a significant part of the course grade (no less than 10%).

·         The assignment should be the result of course instruction in reflective writing and therefore should be assigned in the last third of the semester.

·         The assignment will be captured electronically (through and be used for assessment of both the Reflections rubric and the INTG sequence as part of the INTG portfolio project.