Hi There!

I'm Dan Schlegel, an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at SUNY Oswego

Guide to Writing and Assessing Journal Responses

Journals allow you to internalize the content of an article in a more sophisticated way than only reading. Reading slowly and actively can assist in understanding, but does not alone ensure that you perform analysis, connecting the ideas of one article with the other knowledge in your mind. They allow you to make the knowledge your own.

Writing a Journal Reflection

In general, a journal reflection should begin with a brief summary of the article which you are reflecting upon. The summary should focus on the main and ideas and themes, illustrating an understanding of the article contents. The reflection should then illustrate a deep reflection on the contents of the article, a reflection on your own understanding of the article, and a consideration of the importance and impact of the work.

In writing your reflection, the following prompts may help you. They are incomplete and you may choose to answer different questions in your reflection.

  • How does this relate to your previous experiences / knowledge of cognitive science and its related fields (computer science, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience)?
  • What questions did this raise for you in the context of cognition and cognitive science?
  • What did you find particularly compelling?
  • What did you agree or disagree with?
  • What did you find confusing?
  • What is the impact of this work, within cognitive science, your experience in the course, and in the world?

Journal reflections are in large part a reflection of your mental processes. By writing them in the open as we are in this course, it gives you the opportunity to explore the processes of other students when provided the same input. The chance to explore connections you may have missed or have been unaware of can be valuable as you grow as a learner. We are conducting this work in the open on Scalar, so that others may have this experience as well, even outside of our course.

Assessment of Journal Reflections

When examining your responses, I will be making use of the following rubric in determining a grade.

CriteriaUnsatisfactory - BeginningDevelopingAccomplishedExemplary
Content Reflection0-34 points35-39 points40-44 points45-50 points
Reflection lacks critical thinking. Superficial connections are made with key course or cognitive science concepts and course materials, activities, and/or assignments. Reflection demonstrates limited critical thinking in applying, analyzing, and/or evaluating key course or cognitive science concepts and theories from readings, lectures, media, discussions, activities, and/or assignments Minimal connections made through explanations, inferences, and/or examples. Reflection demonstrates some degree of critical thinking in applying, analyzing, and/or evaluating key course or cognitive science concepts and theories from readings, lectures, media, discussions activities, and/or assignments. Connections made through explanations, inferences, and/or examples.Reflection demonstrates a high degree of critical thinking in applying, analyzing, and evaluating key course or cognitive science concepts and theories from readings, lectures, media, discussions activities, and/or assignments. Insightful and relevant connections made through contextual explanations, inferences, and examples.
Personal Growth0-20 points21-23 points24-26 points27-30 points
Personal growth and awareness are not evident and/or demonstrates a neutral experience with negligible personal impact. Lacks enough inferences, examples, personal insights and challenges, and/or future implications are overlooked.Demonstrates less than adequate personal growth and awareness through few or simplistic inferences made, examples, insights, and/or challenges that are not well developed. Minimal thought of the future implications of current experience.Demonstrates satisfactory personal growth and awareness through some inferences made, examples, insights, and challenges. Some thought of the future implications of current experience.Demonstrates significant personal growth and awareness of deeper meaning through inferences made, examples, well developed insights, and substantial depth in perceptions and challenges. Synthesizes current experience into future implications.
Writing Quality0-13 points14-15 points16-17 points18-20 points
Poor writing style lacking in standard English, clarity, language used, and/or frequent errors in grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling. Needs work.Average and/or casual writing style that is sometimes unclear and/or with some errors in grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling. Above average writing style and logically organized using standard English with minor errors in grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling. Well written and clearly organized using standard English, characterized by elements of a strong writing style and basically free from grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling errors.
TimelinessDeduct 15 pointsDeduct 10 pointsDeduct 5 pointsDeduct 0 points
Submission within 3 days of the due date. No points awarded after 3 days.Submission within 2 days of the due date.Submission within 1 day after the due date.On-time submission.

*Rubric adapted in part from that by Denise Kreiger at Rutgers.