The Learning Record


Student Exemplars

Exemplars

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Part B: Analysis and Interpretation

Part B provides an analytical interpretation of the observations and samples of student work in terms of the specific goals for development in key areas of the class (course strands) and dimensions of learning. This section is crucial to the effectiveness of the LRO. It helps readers understand what the bits and pieces of evidence gathered in the Data Collection section really mean for the student's learning. It does not need to be extensive, but it does need to connect the observations and samples of work explicitly to development across the five dimensions of learning in the main strands of work for the class.

This section of the Learning Record gives students practice in developing an analysis based on a theoretical framework (the dimensions of learning and course strands) that is grounded in evidence. Students in my classes prepare a Part B.1 Midterm analysis at the midterm, then complete the Part B.2 Final Analysis at the end of the class for the final Learning Record. Here are some examples:

Midterm Part B.1

Summary analysis and interpretation of observations and evidence in terms of the four major strands of work and the five dimensions.
Four major strands: rhetoric, research, technology and collaboration.
Five dimensions: * confidence and independence * knowledge and understanding * skills and strategies * use of prior and emerging experience * reflectiveness (critical awareness)

I feel that over the course of the semester I have improved my research skills by using the Internet more to find useful information and personal opinions on subjects. I also feel I have become a better writer of rhetoric. I have a greater sense of what to write and I no longer worry about whether I'm getting my point across in a effective manner or not. I have been dependent on technology for a while, but now I'm actually able to recognize that dependence and learn from it. Computers are a main part of my life now, where before it was a gifted machine. I also think that I have gained a lot of confidence in my writing because of writing so much recently. I enjoy getting help and input from others, but I also enjoy working independently as well. I have also noticed myself looking for other strategies to solving the problems I encounter while working on projects. I also see myself looking back on what I have done to see what I could have done better or different. So now I know where my weaknesses lie and am able to look at a current writing activity and focus on problem areas. Working with Story Space I found to be very challenging. I used the Windows version at home and was learning on the Mac version in class. Not only did I have to figure out the differences between the two programs, I also had to overcome these problems. One of these problems was that the program would freeze and I would have to start over. After writing the same paragraph about five times I began saving after about every sentence. But it was very frustrating to loose everything consistantly.

Final Part B.2

I gained valuable skills and confidence about my writing during the second half of the semester. Writing in the MOO was a challenging process that helped me focus on my writing style. The MOO forced me to think of how my writing would be interpreted by the reader and whether or not the voice was passive or active. I realized that writing creatively is fun and not painfull. Since I did not have any prior experience with creative writing, I felt lost at where to start. Working with T. helped me face my creative writing fear. Once we began writing our MOO descriptions, I could see how our writing matured throughout the MOO. We became more adventerous with adjectives and verbs and decided to take risks and embellish the reader with rich text. It really was a neat experience. By doing this we created a writing strategy. First, we would make a list of things that would be in the type of room we were trying to describe. Next, we would make a list of words relating to all the senses that we wanted to discuss. Finally, we used these two lists to formulate our sentences which ultimately became the descriptions found in our MOO. Using this strategy really helped us work efficiently and made the writing process more adventerous.

The MOO and Web projects required some research about the region we were creating. Our original project required massive amounts of research because we wanted to re-create the entire world, country by country. We decided this task was nearly impossible to complete within two months. Instead we chose 4 places and focused our attention on one complete region-Kashmir. We conducted most of our research on-line. We gathered most of our information and graphics from Travel agency homepages and Indian homepages found through searches on Yahoo and various search indexes on the internet. T. offered another source of information since her culture and religion are close to Kashmir. She is from Pakistan and has traveled over to Kashmir. Many of our descriptions come from her traveling experiences. I gained confidence using the internet for obtaining information. I love physical libraries and sometimes I shy away from the electronic databases because I miss the physical feeling of being within the walls of the library. However, some things can't be found in the library just like some things can't be found on the internet. I think this will soon change.

Technology always offers opportunity. Learning new technology and obtaining skills that are usefull in today's society is very essential to a college graduate. This class taught me useful skills and gave me confidence in how to use these skills properly. Now I know how to program using HTML and MOO commands for AcademICK. Learning these skills helped me pinpoint an interest within geography. I decided to switch my track from secondary education to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). With your encouragement, I contacted Dr. F. and discussed my interests with him. He gladly welcomed me to work with him this summer at the Virtual Workshop Conference in June. I would have never been able to work with Dr. F. if I did not have any experience with HTML programming. This class really opened a door for me and I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn new and valuable skills.

Collaboration is an essential component in this class. Working with a partner, especially T., helped ignite my creativity and focus on my writing style. My partner increased my knowledge about programming and in the process, we developed a great friendship. We helped each other with grammer and style. It was easy to accept constructive criticism from her because we were working as a team. Our project reflects our team effort. We both focused on each part together. Overall, I enjoyed working with a partner on these projects because it helped generate creative ideas and we shared knowledge about our technical expertise.

Complete Part B (Midterm and Final together)

This example shows a combined midterm and final Part B. Notice that this student chose to organize her summary according to the five dimensions:

* confidence and independence

Midterm:I feel confident in my progress in the class so far. The projects that I have worked on have been very broad, and sometimes that can be difficult, since I am usef to having a definate assignment. The structure of the class is different from the others I have taken at the University, but it was intended to be so. I think my confidence in my own writing may be underscored by this new approach, but I think in the end that I will definately benefit from it as a writer, researcher, and a thinker.

Final: I feel my confidence has greatly increased since the midterm of the semester. The format of the class became comfortable for me, and the freedom to due whatever I wanted to on the projects was beginning to be taken advantage of. As a writer I was able to use HTML to organize my observations in a logical way. I was able to translate much of the hypertext theory into HTML, which made the transition much easier. As a thinker, using HTML and hypertext has totally changed the way I think and approach writing. Now I want to do all my research papers in HTML!

* knowledge and understanding

Midterm: Perhaps the most difficult part of this class so far was learing to use a Macintosh. I have used PC's since I was thirteen and I never used a Mac until this class. Thus, it was intimidating at first to take a course where my success ultimately depended on learning to use this computer. Luckily, I quickly learned just how easy the computers are to use. I also learned a great deal about the Internet by doing on-line research for my hypertext. In addition, the readings are a addition to what is being discussed in class, and they have further expanded my knowledge about the Internet and the new world we are facing in the coming years.

Final: Using a Macintosh now has become very easy to use, and I think I am at almost equal level with my PC. Doing research became easier to do on-line, because of the prior knowledge of the previous projects, I learned how not to do research. The readings continued to be informative and relevant to what we were studying in class at the time.

* skills and strategies

Midterm: The content of the material I have been exposed to is great in this class. As stated the readings bring what we are learning into a context with the world. The article "The Digital Juggernaut" shows us a picture of the world where the skills we are learning in this class will have a profound effect on our lives in the future. We are in the midst of a new era for writers, and being able to communicate effectively is the main focus of the class. We are learning the places on the Internet, like Lycos and Alta Vista, where we can seek out the knowledge that we want. We no longer have to wait for someone to give it to us. This class has taught me to seek out the information that I'm interested in, and to be able to communicate in an exciting new way: hypertext. The hypertext activity was our introduction into this new and still-evolving writing style.

Final: After learning how to use hypertext I was finally able to tackle my next challenge: HTML. At first using BBEdit was very intimidating, because I knew none of the commands, and my pages always turned out bland. Using trial and much error I was able to slowly gain proficiency. I am most proud of learning HTML, because most of the learning I did on my own. In this way I think I will retain the knowledge much better, because it's a more personal experience. I learned how to manage my time around the class and take advantage of the open nature of the course. Seeking out new information continued for me in this way.

* use of prior and emerging experience

Midterm: My own experience with writing is somewhat limited, but being able to link it with computers makes the learning process easier and more fun. Having some past experience with computers, I don't feel as intimidated by the technology as some of the others in the class. I also feel that this past experience makes me desire to create work that is above average at all times. Sometimes this desire can be bad, because I sometimes try to do something different and new, and it turns out bad. I will say that the new technologies that are discussed in class, and the new ways of writing that we discuss go well with the way I think. The unconventional approach to this class is much more reflective of the real world, particularly in terms of evaluation. This combination of prior and emerging experience is well seen in the hypertext project we did. It is a fusion of something we are familiar with: writing a paper, and something new: hypertext, in order to create something that can be both learned from and applied to new scenarios later in our development as writers and thinkers.

Final: I feel that now i finally have the ability to do what I usually try to do in projects. I have the background now to be able to do projects that are above average. I can go the extra mile to make my work stand out, and this makes me very content, because the extra work that was needed at the beginning of the course greatly helped me in the ability to do this. Although sometimes it still turns out bad, the knowledge that I have enables me to quickly correct myself. The emerging experience is illustrated well by the HTML projects, especially the Johnny Mnemonic project using frames. I was able to build on this new experience to create our Project 4 pages, which I am very proud of.

* reflectiveness (critical awareness)

Midterm: I often consider myself to be my own worst critic. It is easy for me to look upon something I have done and be able to criticize it. My main problem is that sometimes this criticism is mainly destructive. I often look to others for opinions on my own work, since I often consider it to be lacking something, but I do not know what. It is when others can view my work that I am more able to correct the problems and revise what I have written. I value the opinions of my classmates, and I take all suggestions made in our peer evaluations, because am not very good at being able to revise and improve something on my own. I think that when I am truly able to do this in an effective manner, then I will have met this goal.

Final: While I still greatly value peer evaluations, I have finally been able to approach my work from a constructive point of view. I think this is especially applicable to HTML. By fixing up the drafts and spicing up the pages, you can really SEE the difference when you make improvements. This type of gratification is contagious, and it passes into other aspects of this class, and others as well.

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