Writing Prompt: “Personal Learning Projects”

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Assignment Title: Personal Learning Projects

Author: Olivia Imirie, Salisbury University (onimirie@salisbury.edu)

Date published: August, 2022

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Class Info/Tags: First-Year Composition, Face-to-Face, Hybrid, Synchronous, Composition Studies

Course Motivation: The goal of this course is to expand students’ views of how writing works, and their understanding of their own beliefs and practices as a writer.

Context of Use: This assignment is the final project in this course, and the purpose is for students to reflect on what they have learned about themselves as a writer and create an evidence-based argument about what they have learned. To do this, students create a multi-modal project using visuals as their evidence to demonstrate their most significant learning.

Instructor Reflection: In this project, I enjoy seeing students engage deeper in explaining their own learning than a mere reflection. In traditional reflective assignments, students’ statements about what they have learned are often vague or shallow reflections rather than concrete evidence to support their claims about their learning. By using visuals, students must provide specific examples to illustrate the learning they have experienced in the course. Particularly, students use visual examples from their own writing (typically captured through screenshots or pictures) to show rather than tell what they have learned. As a result, their explanations of their learning (via a written transcript or Zoom recording) are much more specific and concrete. I find the biggest challenge in teaching students this project is that they often quickly become overwhelmed with all the expectations in the prompt. This project has a lot of parts that can feel confusing to many students. This is why I created an example Power Point and transcript that I show in class after discussing the prompt. I use these examples to show an example visual and how the words in the transcript unpack the significance of this visual. After reviewing this example, students are much more comfortable with this project. I also use peer review guidelines to help students understand the expectations of the assignment. The guidelines use a combination of a checklist and short answer questions, so students can ensure that they are meeting the learning goals of the assignment and not missing any expectations.

About Author

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English & Education at the University of Michigan, where she also teaches in the English Department Writing Program. Her research interests include digital rhetoric, gender and discourse, and gaming studies. Her dissertation project explores how women use multimodal discourse—grammatically, narratively, and visually—to navigate online gaming ecologies.

Jennifer Burke Reifman

Jennifer Burke Reifman is a 5th year Education Ph.D. Candidate at U.C. Davis with an emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. Her research focuses on technology in the writing classroom, writing program administration, and student identity and agency. When she isn't being a graduate student and writing teacher, she spends most of her time playing with her 3-year old son, tending her backyard garden, or diving into a video game.