Let me first direct your attention back to the syllabus. I state there, on page 3 (and again on page 4), that this class is designed to reward steadiness/effort, skill, improvement, creative risk-taking, and initiative. So my broad expectation in your self-assessment essays is that you will try to explain to me, focusing explicitly on the various requirements for the course, how you have engaged in or displayed these characteristics. I would consider approaching the self-assessment as a kind of narrative explaining how much you have grown or learned in the class, and where you hope to go in the next half of the semester. And be specific. Talk about how you have engaged in this growth: are there specific assignments you have done that really contributed to your understanding of the material? What kinds of activities do you intend to engage in for the last half of the semester?
Beyond that, you need to focus on the specific requirements for the course. You have all been assigned several short quizzes and a long essay; many of you have also done oral presentations. As you explain what grade you think you deserve, talk about your performance on these assignments and what that performance demonstrates regarding the effort, skill, improvement, risk-taking, and initiative you have shown. You should also talk about your participation in class, which is a requirement for this course. If you don’t talk much in class, you should explain how other activities you engage in should count. And here let me encourage those of you who are somewhat shy in public speaking to participate more on commenting on the blog. That can demonstrate engagement even if you do not talk every day in class.
Furthermore, you need to discuss the “Optional Components” in the class; you are required to write blog posts/comments or do group projects. If you have done some of this, then great. Talk about what you have done and how it helps to justify the grade you think you deserve. If you have not done any of these components yet, I’m not interested in excuses. I do want to hear, however, what you think you’ll be doing for the rest of the semester to ensure that you complete the requirements for the class. If your intention is to do a group project, then explain who you’ll be working with; talk about what you think you’ll be doing in the project. If you want to write some longer blog posts, what are some of the subjects you think might want to cover?
How long should the self-assessment be? I have no set page requirement. Your main goal is to explain how what you’ve done in this class meets the expectations I have laid out in the syllabus. And you should focus not just on ticking off requirements, but on how your actions related to the course fit with the broader spirit and intentions of the class. You get to determine how many words it takes to explain all of this, but please note that I am using these assessments as a major component in determining your grade. If you turn in something that you’ve put no work into, that says to me that you are not really putting much effort into this class.
Quick reminder: Your self-assessment essays are now due Monday, October 24, in class.