The discussion boards exist for two purposes. First, they allow students an opportunity to interact with one another as well as their instructor. Secondly, they create a venue in which students can critically engage with course material, asking questions and finding applications for course concepts. For this assignment, each critical reflection should address the module as a whole, which includes readings/videos posted to Canvas and the textbook chapters. I’m not looking for a synthesis or summary of the module, which means you are welcome to pick and choose what readings, videos, or chapters you want to address in your reflection and discussion questions.
For the standard discussion board, each student is expected to make two posts. The original post (Post 1) is the most involved and requires students to interpret course materials on their own by writing a critical reflection and then posing five discussion questions for their classmates based on course material. Your critical reflection should be approximately 750-1,000 words. The response post (Post 2) is interactive and requires each student to respond to five of the questions posed by a classmate. Each answer should be one to two fully-developed paragraphs.
What is a critical reflection?
A critical reflection (also called a reflective essay) is a process of identifying, questioning, and assessing our deeply-held assumptions – about our knowledge, the way we perceive events and issues, our beliefs, feelings, and actions. When you reflect critically, you use course material (lectures, readings, discussions, etc.) to examine our biases, compare theories with current actions, search for causes and triggers, and identify problems at their core. Critical reflection is not a reading assignment, a summary of an activity, or an emotional outlet. Rather, the goal is to change your thinking about a subject, and thus change your behavior.
How to Critically Reflect: Writing a critical reflection happens in two phases: In the first phase, analyze the issue and your role by asking critical questions. Use free writing as a way to develop good ideas. Don’t worry about organized paragraphs or good grammar at this stage. In the second phase, use your analysis to develop a clear argument about what you learned. Organize your ideas so they are clear for your reader.
Below are three perspectives you can consider:
Academic perspective: How did the experience enhance your understanding of a concept/theory/skill?
Did the experience confirm your understanding or challenge it?
Did you identify strengths or gaps in your knowledge?
Personal perspective: Why does the experience matter? What are the consequences?
Were your previous expectations/assumptions confirmed or refuted? What surprised you and why?
Systems perspective: What were the sources of power and who benefited/who was harmed?
What changes would you suggest? How does this experience help you understand the organization or system?
For the full reading about writing a critical reflection, please click here: https://uwaterloo.ca/writing-and-communication-centre/critical-reflection (Links to an external site.)
The questions below are to help you reflect on course material. You do not need to answer all of them. You may want to pick one or two to help you get started.