Bis 293 – Estuaries and Coastlines

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Reflective Essay #2
For this assignment write a reflective essay in response to some of the questions below. You can choose which question(s) you wish to address. Use them as a starting point. Feel free to synthesize and run with them.
But don’t feel so free as to write much more than 3 pages. Well, write all you want, but submit something that has been reviewed and edited to a more concise statement. Also, please submit your type-written essay with the text formatted at 1.5 spacing and 12 point font.
I am not looking for a critique of the course or the various assignments. This essay is about you and your experience.


The IAS program has a learning objective for all of its students called Collaboration and Shared Leadership (CSL). What follows is a summary of the CSL learning objective. Read it closely.
The IAS program offers students multiple opportunities to develop effective collaboration and shared leadership skills. We help students hone the capacities needed to accomplish tasks in diverse group contexts. This includes the ability to work with others to identify dimensions of a project; to generate and refine ideas related to a project; to appreciate and draw on group members’ multiple histories, strengths, and potential contributions; to follow through on the consequences of collective decisions; and to work on specific tasks without losing a sense of the whole. We also foster competencies associated with shared leadership, including the ability to listen emphatically; to mediate conflict and act for the common good of the group; to encourage and participate in multiple forms of individual and group communication; to tolerate ambiguity within emerging processes; to share roles flexibly; and to reflect critically and creatively on collaboration processes.
Please address some subset of the following questions relevant to the CSL learning objective. Reflect critically on the collaboration process and make sure to refer to the various sub-objectives listed above.

  • In what ways have you made forward progress on these CSL learning objectives by collaborating throughout the quarter on the research poster assignments?

  • How did you take advantage of the collaborative opportunity? To what degree was it conscious or unconscious? How could you have taken better advantage of the opportunity?

  • In what ways was the course and research a richer experience than if you had done the research and poster production on your own? Did it enhance your learning on the topic? How so?

    • Did it make you more motivated to conduct the research and contribute to a team effort?

    • Did the collaboration take you in directions you wouldn’t have otherwise gone?

    • Did you identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work with them strategically?

  • What did you get more out of – what you learned on the research topic or what you learned from engaging in a collaborative research project? If your gains were heavily skewed towards one or the other, what about you made it so?

  • If there were aspects of the collaboration process that didn’t work for you, reflect on what you could have done differently to make it work better or what you will try to do next time (be it in a course or at work).

How will I evaluate your reflective essay? After all, there are no right or wrong answers when asked to reveal your thoughts and opinions. But your effort and the quality of your product can certainly vary. Aside from just doing the assignment, I am mostly looking for evidence of reflective thought. More specifically, you will be evaluated on your success in articulating how the course is intersecting with your educational experience. To a lesser extent, you will also be evaluated on your writing skills.
The essay is worth a maximum of 15pts. I will use the following rubric to evaluate your essay and assign point values. Please recall that the total maximum points you can score will go down 5% for every day your essay is submitted late. If you are unhappy with the score you earn on your essay, you might be able to boost your grade with a revision and resubmission, subject to approval by the instructor.

Points scored

Poor (1)

Fair (5)

Good (8)

Very Good (10)


Not reflective or relevant to any of the guiding questions. Points are scattered or reasoning is haphazard. No personal or unique insights.

Connections are made between the course and personal experience, but they are inconsistent – some points are unpersuasive, unclear, or off-base. Personal stance unclear.

Fulfills the objectives of the assignment. Multiple good points are made and supported. Personal stance is clear.

Compelling. Abundant evidence of critical and independent thought. Makes connections in a creative and unique way. Personal stance is persuasive.

Poor (0)

Fair (1)

Good (2)

Very Good (3)


Difficult to read because of choppy writing, redundancies, many spelling and grammar errors and/or poor organization.

Clarity of essay suffers due to weak organization or spelling and grammar errors.

Evident care spent on writing and reviewing. Minimal writing problems.

A joy to read. Flows smoothly with creative and logical transitions and organization.

Poor (0)

Fair (1)

Good (2)

Adherence to Format Guidelines

Submitted late or does not adhere to any of the guidelines.

Adheres to most of the guidelines.

Adheres to the guidelines in all ways.

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