Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prize giveaway: Journal Keeping

UPDATE:  The winner of this contest, as determined by a random number generator, is Katie Linder.  Congratulations, Katie!



To win a copy of Journal Keeping by Dannelle D. Stevens and Joanne E. Cooper, which was reviewed in the Summer 2011 issue, post a comment below telling us your opinion about using journals in teaching.



Entries must be received by midnight Pacific time on Friday, August 26.  One entry per person.  Winner will be selected randomly and announced on this blog, so please check back after Saturday, August 27 to see if you are the winner.  You do not need to be a member of the EDC to enter.  No geographical restrictions apply.

Thank you to our sponsor, Stylus Publishing.

10 comments:

  1. Journaling is a key aspect of my instruction with at-risk, first year college students. Not only does personal writing offer an important outlet for students and promote a positive regard for literacy, the reflective nature of journal writing enhances my students' self-awareness, metacognitive practices, and writing ability. I also value journals when I work with new TAs, because so often teaching is devalued in higher education, and therefore they aren't encouraged to do the kinds of reflective practice that would benefit them as they work towards a profession in the teaching world.

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  2. I think reflective writing is one of the best ways to get students to think critically about the subject matter they are learning - especially if you want them to connect their in-class work to their out-of-the-classroom lives. I love that Stevens and Cooper also discuss how journaling can enhance one's professional life. I'll be incorporating a group journal into a faculty development program this fall!

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  3. I agree with Lauren that journaling is a powerful tool for students at-risk to reflect on and explore their past experiences as well as a method to track the progress through change. Recently, one student ended his writing with "know thyself" as his theme for continuing his work on personal growth in the area of his education. I believe that journaling is a method for students to know themselves.

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  4. I think that journaling can be a very valuable component of a course, but it has to be facilitated correctly in order to be effective. As a student I was a retro-journaler, writing all of my entries just before the journal was due, trying to pretend that I had kept a journal all along. As an instructor I keep that in mind, and try to design the activity in a way that supports on-going reflection (either by giving in-class time to write, or including regular sharing of entries). I've not always been satisfied with the design of my journal assignments, and look for advice about how much structure to have in order to meet specific goals, and how to design a rubric for evaluating the entries that reflects that intended assignment outcomes while allowing for creativity/flexibility in student journaling.

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  5. Millennial students are not a particularly reflective, contemplative generation. Journaling can put the brakes on their unmindful go-go-go pace and make them think about the meaning of their learning experiences, their life experiences, the literature they are reading, and the world news they are hearing about.

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  6. I teach science courses, including ones that focus on field skills. Keeping a journal, log or field book of notes is essential to any kind of field work, in science as well as many other disciplines. They can be referred back to for a variety of reasons, such as showing patterns that can point to future research questions, or confirming observations. I also teach science as an elective for non-science majors, where I invite students to keep notes throughout the course. These include their ideas, actions and daily connections to the natural world in which they live. They use these notes to create a 10-page learning portfolio as a final assignment, something they find very creative and useful and I find a great way for them to show how they met the course's core objectives.

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  7. I use journal writing along with community service projects so that students have a chance to reflect on their experiences. Primarily, however, I find that journal writing is a wonderful tool to help students slow down and reflect on what is happening in their own lives for my Psychology of Stress Course. Many of the journal entries are guided so that students also develop their reflective skills. The writings help students think about many of the bigger life questions that they seldom take time for.

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  8. I have taught science courses and have not thought of how valuable journals may be, so thanks to Alice for presenting a way to incorporate another very interesting teaching tool for me to explore in the future. As a scientist, I keep a joural in the lab, as my notes are not pure protocols, but reflections on how things may need to be modified next time, and what I have learned.

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  9. Like Alice Cassidy's comment, above, we utilize lab notebooks in much the same way to document a student's research progresses. Such entries (2-5 per day) provide not only a chronology of thought and experimentation, but also a context for the learning. Lab notebooks are arranged by experiments, with each experimental entry including a rationale, the detailed approaches, results, and a summary conclusion that puts the findings into context of earlier work. This sets the student up with ample reflection on what is true and what could be hypothesized next.

    Another short-form of reflective writing includes a variation of the "One-Minute Paper." We employ this approach in several classes where faculty want a daily response to content, organization, and questions. The three questions we typically use are the following:
    * What was the main (or best) learning today?
    * What questions do you have from today's material?
    * What changes would have benefited your class experience today?

    We encourage the students to keep the returned papers in order to maintain their account of their learning trajectory. This is valuable throughout a course for the student to continually refer back and appreciate their own growth over time.

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  10. I would like to follow up on Betsy's comment and add that as both an online instructor for adult ed and an instructional designer I have found that unless it is graded students will not put forth the full effort into journaling. It seems to me that journaling as a learning activity needs to be aligned with assessment and the overall objectives/outcomes of the course.

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