Overview: This reflective activity is designed to provide the instructor with feedback about students’ understanding of course concepts and about their experience with the course.
Class: HGSE T139 Investigating Learning and Teaching Through Close Collaborative Examination of Student and Teacher Work
To assess students’ understanding of course concepts and their experience with the course
To give students an opportunity to pay attention to their developing ideas and questions
Introduction/Background: This activity serves two purposes. The first is to get a read of where the class is at in terms of the course structure and the course material. The second is for students to reflect on the learning they have done in the course and their experience with the course. Tina used this activity as a kind of mid-semester student evaluation by giving the students the opportunity to reflect on what was going well in class and where the students had questions.
Preparation for activity: Create a series of questions that relate to the specifics of the course. For example, you may consider asking questions about specific course learning goals or about specific aspects of the course. Tina asked the students seven open-ended questions. The first four questions dealt with the structure of the course. The final three questions related to substance and material of the course. See the attached example for the questions Tina Blythe created for her class.
Distribute the reflection sheets to the students. Instruct the students to give honest, thoughtful responses. This activity requires the students to engage in metacognition as they think about how they learn and how their ideas and understanding about the course content are developing. Provide students 15-20 minutes to complete and turn in the sheets. Tina used the sheets as a sort of exit ticket from class. Tina also allowed the students to remain anonymous if they wished.
After the activity: Collect the responses. When you have time, review the responses paying special attention to themes that may arise. Tina mentioned the responses provided a trove of information about how students are experiencing the class and where they have questions. Tina used the information from this activity to alter the remaining classes to give more focus to areas the students had questions.
Notes from the Contributing Instructor: Learners come with their own questions and ideas to each class. I believe the best learning is situated when the learners are paying attention to how their own learning is happening. This activity provides the students a chance to reflect on the course and their learning. It also serves as a great way to get feedback from students about where the course is being successful and where it may be less successful.
Submitted by Tina Blythe, Instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
*Note: This activity inspired the Reflection on Course Learning Goals activity that is also on the ABLConnect website.