Final Learning Reflection

Your final reflection for the course is a bit different from previous reflections.

I’d like you to write a ~800-word description of YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE in the course as a whole. Which ideas will stick with you? Which were not worth the trouble? What did you get interested in that we didn’t do enough with? What was boring that we did too much of? These are highly subjective essays and that’s the point—I want to know about YOUR learning experience, not what you think the standard learning experience should have been.

Experience over summary

I can’t emphasize enough that your final reflection should be personal statements about YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE and thoughts about the course, not just a recitation of course topics and themes. You are already doing that kind of summary/review work for your op-ed. This is not as much about specific course topics/material as about your own view of what you got out of the course as a whole, including whether the readings were easy enough to understand, whether the topics were mostly interesting, whether the assignments were useful exercises to facilitate learning, etc.


This assignment serves three purposes that I see as equally important.

One is rooted in a desire to get a better understanding of what you’re taking away from the course outside of your weekly reflections to help boost your grade (see grading section below). The op-eds obviously try to get at this as well, but there’s a more specific prompt to follow there that might not allow you to fully show off your newly acquired expertise.

Another is rooted in my belief that there is real educational value in thinking back through an entire course and articulating your experience with it (even beyond the op-ed assignment, which is more about content than experience).

The last is rooted in a selfish effort to improve the course. I’m looking for a thoughtful description of your experience in the course, no matter what your opinion of the course might be. I’m well aware that some topics/readings/assignments worked reasonably well and others not so much. Explaining WHY certain aspects of the course did NOT work for YOU is great way of doing well on the assignment. But please be sure you’re explaining (ie providing concrete reasons) and not just saying you didn’t like something without any further explanation as to why (since I wouldn’t get much idea about what kind of changes would be useful).


This final reflection, however you decide to write it, is one last opportunity for a grade tweak. Basically, if you’re on the bubble between two grades (usually A / A- or B+ / A-), a thoughtful reflection gets you the higher grade. A mostly superficial reflection, but with some effort behind it, doesn’t really affect your grade one way or the other. Not doing the assignment or making a minimal effort can lower your grade one notch (A to A-).