Clarity: The language is clear and expressive. The reader can create a mental picture of the situation being described. Abstract concepts are explained accurately. Explanation of concepts makes sense to an uninformed reader.
Relevance: The learning experience being reflected upon is relevant and meaningful to student and course learning goals.
Analysis: The reflection moves beyond simple description of the experience to an analysis of how the experience contributed to student understanding of self, others, and/or course concepts.
Interconnections: The reflection demonstrates connections between the experience and material from other courses; past experience; and/or personal goals.
Self-criticism: The reflection demonstrates ability of the student to question their own biases, stereotypes, preconceptions, and/or assumptions and define new modes of thinking as a result.
When I started teaching the Software Testing course in the Masters of Software Engineering program it became clear that the students needed more support in development of critical thinking and problem solving skills via class room activities.
After reflection I realized that to increase learning for the wide range of students I will require a heterogeneous pedagogical approach and therefore I redesigned the course to include more teaching strategies besides lecture.
I redesigned fifteen three hour class room sessions according to the prescriptions of elaboration theory. Elaboration theory is a pedagogic strategy that stipulates that content to be learned should be organized from simple to complex order, while providing a meaningful context in which subsequent ideas can be integrated. Each re-designed session included a sequence of four activities: lecture, tutorial, practical exercise and discussion. The students were unanimous in their liking of new teaching strategy and preferred it because it had a positive effect on their learning in terms of critical thinking and problem solving skills. The approach was successful as reflected by above 90 percent student evaluation.
The new methodology was approved and successfully applied in the subsequent offerings of the course. The whole experience was documented as an action research project and published in an ISI journal.