Today was the final exam period for my section of IS4220–Signature Project. The students presented their final project to members of various offices across campus, including Admissions and MCCS, as well as President Birx and Associate Provost Mears. Their project, an Interactive Journey Map to help prospective students navigate the journey from inquiring about PSU to enrolling in PSU, can be seen here. Their final project report is here.
The students also wrote end of semester essays in which they reflected on what they learned this semester. I found their posts insightful. For example, Alie Louie wrote: “This semester I have gotten out of my comfort zone and truly was in charge of my own learning. What I put into the class was what I was going to get out of it. This class pushed me and tested my limits. I am extremely proud of the work my classmates and I did this semester. I have never had the ability to work on something that goes farther than a Moodle page, something that could actually be implemented into real life. These Habits of Mind will stay with me throughout my last year here at PSU, and hopefully will remain in the back of my head as I develop in my desired profession.”
Sam Knapton wrote: “This class has been a catalyst to me learning and understanding how I can implement each of the habits of mind into my personal and professional development. Coming into this class, I did not know what to expect. This class was something really new to me because it was not like one that I had ever taken or anyone I know has taken before, so I had no basis to judge it off of, which wasn’t a bad thing; I was able to develop my very own perspective and opinions of the class without any sway from other people who have taken the class. I really liked having this experience and being able to, essentially, create the class myself along with the others in the class was something that not many people get to be involved in, but should be. Having a very vague and simple direction for what the class should be like was intimidating at first. I didn’t know what we could and couldn’t do, but soon I learned that there was not much we could not do. If we thought about something or had an idea about one thing, if it was feasible for us to work on it, we could do it.”
Alexis Fagan wrote: “This semester I really learned a lot about myself. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and took charge of what needed to be done in the class. I learned that I just need confidence and then it’s okay to make mistakes. I mean hey, we’re only human. My communication skills have improved immensely since starting this class. I also learned a lot about four habits of mind and I now understand how I can use them to continue improving my communication skills. When I signed up for the class, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I knew I was ready for it. It was such an opportunity to work with the people that I worked with and to receive the help that I did. I didn’t know that students could make such an impact on the school. I pushed myself, we pushed ourselves, we did it. We’re making a difference.”
Megan Toman wrote: “This class has been a challenge for me this semester. In the first time in my fifteen years of schooling, I wasn’t working towards a letter grade for each project. A main motivator for me has always been a gold star when I was younger, to now getting a good grade point average. Since this was different for me, I struggled with finding self-motivation to complete the assignments. When an assignment was given to me, I wouldn’t feel inclined to complete it, and instead put it off. What had always been a backbone of motivation, was suddenly gone. While at work, I strive to work hard, get a promotion, or get a good reference. Although I found it hard to get motivated to complete projects, I believe that the overall lessons learned from this course are far more important than the letter grade I get for it.”
Finally, Julie Nagel wrote: “When engaging in the learning process you need to have confidence showing that you have the ability to learn and you are open to new ideas and learning different things. For example, I would consider my own strengths and weakness when being about of (sic) the learning process. I would try to reflect on what I was good at and not the best at. I think posting blogs about this course and what I have learned let me understand my personal goals and what I need to do in order to be responsible for my learning process.”
These excerpts give a glimpse into what the students wrote about their learning. I encourage you to read their full posts. It’s been a wonderful experience to be able to witness their growth in the Habits of Mind and I look forward to seeing how they carry the lessons of the class forward into their future endeavors.
Image Credit: I took this photo of my students on May 2, 2019. CC-BY-4.0
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.