Your final reflection for the course is a bit different from previous reflections.
I’d like you to write a ~1200-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? How might you use the skills and approaches we learned in the course outside of anything related to history? Or do you think that’s impossible? 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. Please DO NOT provide a recitation of course topics and themes. I know what you were supposed to learn—I’m looking for an expression of what you actually learned.
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 other reflections to help boost your grade (see grading section below). Your historiographical essays try to get at this as well, but those are obviously a more specific topic that might not allow you to fully show off what you’ve learned across the course as a whole.
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 Metahistory 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-).