I may say more about this later, but after grading about half of the final projects for one of my English 358 sections, I just wanted to share a couple observations.
- The reflection is not necessary. Most people, if they did this at all, didn’t do a very good job. A lot of people just added this to their cover letter. Some didn’t do it at all, and I really didn’t punish them grade-wise for not doing it. I think the project itself, with the proposal and rubric, was probably tough enough, especially at the end of the semester.
- The rubric was still problematic, which makes me realize I do need to create a template for them or that I need to cut down on the types of assignments they can do and create one that can be used in a broader way. I don’t know why I didn’t do this the first time. What happened was I had the following: a couple people didn’t have very clear rubrics, so it was hard for me to grade them, and so I ended up revising their rubrics anyway and one person didn’t have a rubric at all. It just creates more work for me. So next time I will either create a template for them to follow or grade this using my own version and cut back the types of assignments they can do. I did, however, deduct points for incomplete, unclear or absent rubrics since I feel we did spend a fair amount of time talking about them, and even conferenced one-on-one on these documents.
Did any of that surprise me terribly? Not really. I was anticipating a fair amount of that, and so I was prepared. The the projects and portfolios overall, for what they aim to achieve, are relatively good.
I have not yet gotten to my other section, which this semester seemed like the “stronger” section for the course I was teaching. I am curious as to how their projects turned out. And I am looking forward to reading the remainder of the projects. The good news is that I can say the students actually cared about these final projects. I could tell because of the amount of work they put into them and the discussion they had about them in their cover letters. I just need to go about teaching it differently next time.