Reflective Writing

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Aim3
Introduction3
Completion checklist and time lines3
Assessment guidelines4
Submission Information4
About Problem Based Learning4
What is reflection?7
Why reflect - what are the benefits to the student?8
How do I ‘reflect’?9
Introducing Reflection9
Reflective writing examples11
The theory of reflection12
Getting Started13
Assessment and feedback of Personal Reflection Portfolio15 Resources for student use20
Bibliography20

Aim

‘In school, we think about math, and we think about spelling, and we think about grammar. But who ever heard of thinking about thinking? … If we think about electricity, we can understand it better, but when we think about thinking, we seem to understand ourselves better.” Harry Stottlemeier (Lipman, 1982, p. 17).

The purpose of reflective journal writing and the course Engineering Problem Solving 1 (ENG1101) is to help you, the student, become aware of the way you learn and to develop necessary skills for life long learning. Research has shown that reflective writing helps students clarify their thoughts; work out strategies for solving engineering problems; understand important aspects of their course; and identify areas where they need more help (Selfe and Arbabi,1983).

The aim of this guide is to help you with your reflective learning during the Problem Based Learning (PBL) courses. It provides basic information about the reflective process and guides you to other sources of information. It also sets out some strategies for you do develop your reflective writing.

Introduction

Over the course of the semester you will be asked to reflect on many things including personal and team aspects of the course. The reflective learning and writing process are ongoing and you should seek to improve over the course of the semester. It is important to be honest and objective in your reflective writing. You may be critical, but your responses must be professional and mature. The responses you write are confidential and will only be read by your facilitator.

The ‘portfolio’ that you produce is assessable and you should aim to complete all sections by the due date. In most sections there is a mechanism for facilitators to provide feedback, so you can improve as you move through the course. Some sections are separately assessable and others will contribute to the overall portfolio. A list of tasks and approximate completion times is shown at the start of each portfolio document.

In the guide you will find that some sections are very brief, but if you would like more information on different aspects, at the end there is a section Resources for Students which will direct you to further reading.

Completion checklist and time lines

The time frame gives approximate completion times for each section of the portfolio. These are flexible except where the portfolio must be submitted for assessment. The assessment submission times are absolute and if an extension is required you must contact the examiner of the course, via the course mail box, prior to the due date requesting the extension and providing details of the reasons. Acceptable reasons include prolonged illness (Doctors certificate will be required); work reasons (letter from employer will be required); and extenuating personal reasons.

Progressive entries in the portfolio are required and a time frame for these entries is outlined. These dates are flexible within a day or two but you must not complete all reflections immediately prior to submission. Reflections are required prior, during and after the project and must be completed in this time frame for maximum benefit.

Assessment guidelines

Assessment for most of the tasks is undertaken using rubrics. A rubric is a systematic way of assessing students work based on the sum of a range of criteria. It is available to you before you undertake the assessment tasks, so it gives you explicit...
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