Reflective Essay



Now that you are nearing the completion of WRTG 101, you have reached a time when it can be useful to you to reflect and evaluate your learning experience. In a fast-paced course such as this one, you have worked hard and quickly to complete your assignments according to the instructions given to you.  Now is the opportunity for you to consider the experiences you had had in writing throughout this course and how those experiences might be useful to you in future courses.


This assignment asks you to reflect and consider the work you have done, how successfully you feel you have completed it, and how the skills and strategies you have learned in completing this work may help you in your future studies.


Since this assignment is reflective and self-evaluating, using “I, me, my” should be acceptable as you write this essay.


The Assignment:


This assignment calls for you to write an essay of 800-1000 words, double spaced. The essay should have the following academic essay elements:


1) a clear introduction, body, and conclusion

2) a clearly identifiable thesis statement in the introduction

3) evidence based upon your recollections and any material from the course (whether from the texts, the online resources, the course modules, the feedback to drafts, or the conference topics) that you might find relevant to mention in your discussion


Length: 800-1000 words


Possible approaches for the reflective essay in WRTG 101:


On the following two pages, you will see descriptions of two examples of approaches you can take in your reflective essay. Each approach has three (3) parts. Be sure that you understand clearly what is expected of you.  If you have questions, be sure you ask your instructor. You should choose only one of these tasks, and you may not choose any other topic.


 Approach One – Self-Evaluating Your Research Essay Assignment


What You Must do:


In this essay, you will evaluate your work on the research essay assignment. Your purpose is to evaluate whether you chose wisely in selecting your topic for research writing, if you used your research successfully, and how well you believe you completed the assignment.


How You Might Do This:


Since your essay uses a traditional structure for academic writing, you could try the following technique:


1)      Decide what your thesis should say and design your introduction to lead to your thesis.  The thesis might begin with a phrase such as, “My research essay turned out successfully because…” or “My research assignment became problematic due to….” Your introduction can, of course, briefly describe your assignment.


2)      Describe and analyze the following in the body of your essay:


a)      your topic and why you chose it (this should go beyond mere interest and consider whether you thought carefully enough about the research potential/problems your topic posed);


b)      how/why you made research material decisions and conducted research in the manner you did.  In this section, you will want to comment on the databases you searched on in the UMUC Information and Library Services interface.  You might also comment on key words on which you searched, new key words you came up with during your searches, and your experience in retrieving full-text articles.  


c)      how your process worked out as you completed it.  In this analysis, please account for both successes and difficulties.



3)      Discuss your reflection and future application in the conclusion of your essay.  You will want to both reflect on what you have discussed and look towards future research assignments.  You will explain how the lessons you learned from this assignment can help you correct flaws you feel you had in your process and can remind you of good practices you followed that can make future research projects successful. You should also give yourself a “grade” on, not the essay itself, but on your research process and experience.



Approach Two- Reflecting on Your WRTG 101 Experiences:


What You Must Do:


In this essay, you will evaluate your learning experience in WRTG 101. Your purpose is to estimate where you think your writing skills were when you began the course and, by examining the work you did in WRTG 101, determine as best you can the skills that this course helped you learn and develop.


How You Might Do This:


Since your essay uses a traditional structure for academic writing, you could try the following technique:


1)      Think of your thesis as a “then and now” proposition. Your essay’s introduction can offer readers a brief look at why you took WRTG 101 and lead to a thesis statement that begins with a phrase such as “I began WRTG 101 with  “X” writing skills; now I…”


2)      Discuss when/where/why you learned particular skills.  Remembering how you completed assignments as well as any materials you find in the classroom that you think are relevant (these can come from Course Content, conferences, the texts, the online resources, the Course Modules, the feedback you received on drafts of essays, the discussions in the classroom areas, etc.), discuss when/where/how/why you learned particular skills that helped you complete assignments successfully and increase your writing skill set.


In analyzing your acquisition of skills, it will be helpful to consider the course outcomes for WRTG 101.  They are as follows:


1.      apply the writing process to develop essays using various rhetorical patterns in order to inform and persuade an audience

2.      construct unified, coherent, and well-supported paragraphs using principles of persuasion and exposition

3.      demonstrate accurate grammar and mechanics in writing

4.      analyze source material in order to integrate valid and reliable sources using accepted documentation style


In writing this section of the essay, please be specific.  You might refer to specific grammatical issues (outcome #3) and the process of developing a topic (outcome #1).  Or you might refer to challenges you had in writing paragraphs (outcome #2) and how the development of the paragraphs caused you to evaluate your thesis (outcome #1).  These are just some suggestions to help you develop your points that you want to make for your essay. 


Do not be afraid to discuss any areas in which you felt you did not achieve as much as you would have liked to or wish you could have had more instruction or practice. This information will be very helpful to your instructor.


3) In your conclusion, consider the skills you feel you are taking away from WRTG 101 and how these skills will help you in future courses you take. Consider also areas you think you will want to continue to try to improve.

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