Course Reflection Paper Essays
Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.
Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CSUCI Code of Conduct.
View the examples
View Sample Reflective Essay #1
View Sample Reflective Essay #2
Want to become a better writer?
CI's Student Writing web site has how-to videos, writing samples for different subjects, and many other resources to help with your writing.
View CI's Student Writing site
Careers in English and Writing
The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:
- English teacher
- Social media strategist
- Media production (film, TV, internet)
- Print and digital publishing
- Corporate communications
- Foreign service
- Human resources
- Foundations/non-profit management
Learn more about CI's English Program
End of Course Reflection Paper Assignment
Write a two- to three-page reflection paper.
- Discuss what you have learned during the class and how it will assist you in achieving further academic and work related goals.
- Include your strategies for capitalizing on your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses in order to become a successful distance learner.
- E-mail your paper as an attachment to the instructor. Name your file with your Lastname-ReflectionPaper.doc. Ex: Smith-ReflectionPaper.doc. Put the following in the subject area of your e-mail: pf282-LU3-Reflection Paper.
Three Sample Student Reflection Papers
Sample Student Reflection Paper 1
(enjoyed online learning)
How Distance Learning Has Changed My Life
This course has helped me overcome my fear of technology. I was unsure of myself at first, but I quickly became used to using e-mail, bulletin boards, and chat rooms.
I have learned how to do Internet research. I had never used the Internet for research before. I always went to the library and looked everything up in the card file. The search engines on the Internet are faster than looking things up manually. The search engines even let the researcher search for articles containing key words that are related to the subject being researched. Just a few years ago, a person would have had to scan an article or book themselves to see if it related to their topic. I have noticed that not all search engines are created equal. Yahoo and Lycos are my favorites. To get a broad range of information on a topic, it is best to use more than one search engine.
From taking this class, I have learned that my preferred learning style is visual. I learn best from reading the material and seeing charts and graphics. If I am unsure on the spelling of a word, I write it down several different ways and choose the one that looks right. I am happy this is my learning style, because on-line classes are almost exclusively visual.
From the temperament sorter, I learned I was a guardian sj. I have always been goal-oriented and have usually known what I want out of life. I also want to fit in with a group. I feel that I have accomplished this with this class. We all want to improve our lives, and hopefully our paychecks. Guardians, besides wanting to fit in, are always searching for security. I am a bit insecure, but am trying to become more self-confident.
Another aspect of my temperament is that I am an "ISFJ." That means I am introverted, sensing, feeling, and judging. The article stated that ISFJ's are "characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their need to be needed." That is exactly like me. I never thought of myself as that way, but I am. I also seem to be taken advantage of a lot. I think that is because I want people to like me so much that I will give in in order to feel like I am accepted and wanted. People can easily take advantage of someone like me. This knowledge of myself will help me in the future. I will think twice before giving too much of myself. I will question the other person's motivation.
I can relate to the fact that ISFJ's are often "harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles." I was a retail store manager for three miserable years. I spent most of my time trying to get my employees to work. I never seemed to have enough time to get my own work done. I wasn't firm enough to be a boss. I did fine when it came down to doing my own work. I just couldn't motivate my employees. The part about traditional careers for ISFJ's included teaching, which I found interesting. I have considered teaching at some point in my career. It might be a good choice for me.
This course has helped me to know myself better. It has taught me skills I will take with me to my future courses. I will know how to collect research, contact people through e-mail, and will be able to order books on-line. I have already used my research skills to help myself with my accounting class. I went to Yahoo and searched for accounting tutorials. There were several tutorials that were very helpful in my studies. In future courses, if I have questions, the Web has a vast amount of resources I can tap into.
This class will help me in my work-related goals as well. I have visited monster.com and set up an account. After I graduate, I will post my resume on-line and will hopefully get a job offer or an interview. I may be able to find my dream job without leaving my house. That is amazing to me.
Now that I have this class (almost) behind me, I am considering entering the master's degree program. I have found that I like on-line learning, and I know that I can achieve my goals if I work hard enough.
My strengths in the distance learning format is my ability to set goals and be disciplined enough to reach those goals by the deadline. I kept a small notebook and wrote down each day what I needed to do in each class. I also tried to break down longer tasks into smaller pieces. I tried to do something every day to reach the goal. This class forced me to become organized. Being able to organize will help me in everything I do in college and at work.
One of my weaknesses is my shyness. I have partially overcome this weakness because of the on-line format. I did not feel as self-conscious, because nobody would see me, and would not judge me because of my looks. I could be myself. This has helped me become more confident. I have found it easier to speak up in my traditional classes and to speak with my classmates. I will be able to use this newfound confidence to do better in college and in finding a better job.
Another weakness I have is being afraid to ask for help. As this course progressed, however, I overcame that timidness. I realized that in the working world, everyone helps each other out if a co-worker has a problem. Also, working in teams is important in many jobs. The team project helped me to learn how to be a part of a team. That skill will help me immensely if I get a job at a bank or investment firm, which is my goal.
I have enjoyed this class because it opened my eyes to who I really am as a person. I have learned about my preferred learning style, which is visual. I have become more confident and goal-oriented. My organizational skills have improved greatly. I am looking forward to the rest of my college experience, and to the working world beyond.
Sample Student Reflection Paper 2
(had difficulty with online learning)
In the following paper I will discuss what I have learned during this introductory class to online learning. I will also touch on how I have attempted to overcome my weaknesses with online learning.
The biggest thing I have learned from this class is that I don't think I would be a great online learner. I am a more one-on-one person who likes to see people and talk with people. I like to see facial expressions from people when talking with them and this proved to be a very difficult course for me. Originally going into this I thought I would love it and this might prove to be a way for me to complete my master's degree. I took this course for two reasons; one because I was required to by my employer because of our recent agreement with Franklin and two, because I truly wanted to know what online learning is about. I am glad I took the course but I don't know that I could take another one. It would have to be something I thought about for a long time before making that decision.
Even though I did have a lot of difficulty with this course I did enjoy the chat room. I had never been in one before and it was fun but could be a little frustrating. I was always trying to type quickly to respond to one person and someone would usually get in before me and put a totally different thought up that might make our chat look a little confusing. But I enjoyed it, and I think it is a great asset to online learning. I also think the bulletin board is a good tool to use for an online course. It was nice to post a message and have someone respond.
I think my strength in this course was that I am very comfortable with the computer and had no fears with learning new things. My difficulties were not seeing others and not having that one-on-one contact. Ways I tried to overcome that were emailing others in the class and getting to know them better. I also tried to respond to things on the bulletin board. As far as being a visual or kinesthetic learner I printed all correspondence off of the computer and filed it into certain files. I then would review everything and make notes.
I think this class was for the most part organized. I took a Web-based class at XXXXX my senior year and it was very unorganized. In that class my instructor rarely put things on the bulletin board for us and we rarely had any assignments and I feel it was a waste of my money. However, in this class the assignments were all posted and listed in great detail which I really enjoyed. Plus I think we all used the bulletin board well and that helped me feel like I was not alone in this class. I think Internet learning will become more of the norm as time moves on and possibly I will learn to adapt to it better.
Sample Student Reflection Paper 3
(learned technology and about self)
I have learned about technology through the Advance Online Learning Strategy class, PF282-G4CC, but I have also learned about what defines a learning community and how to successfully participate in one.
Through the various assignments, I have mastered the use of technology as never before. I have learned to communicate through e-mail to my instructor and classmates. I have learned to use the online library to access various research articles. I have learned how to use the Internet and to use various search engines as vehicles for research, and how to evaluate the quality of the material I had gathered. In addition, I learned to create my own Web page and post it on the Internet. The class Bulletin Board was also a new learning experience for me, as was participating in the Chat Room. Both of these modes of communication enabled me to see how a person can really get to know someone without ever meeting face to face. Something I once doubted. What was particularly interesting for me was the Electronic Editing assignment. It was there that I learned how one must understand the original purpose of a document before one can edit it. Otherwise, the meaning can become somewhat altered from the original intent. These different forms of technical communication allowed me to participate by interacting with my class and instructorin what I now define as a learning community.
Prior to this class, I had never thought of education as a learning community. I had heard of the term before, but not in the same context as I have come to understand it in these last few weeks. I now believe that learning should be a voluntary act, and that teaching should be a response to that actnot a burden, not a one-person show. Probably the most important aspect of this distance online class has been learning about what defines a learning community and how it differs from a traditional classroom. Not only does this environment place the impetus to learn on the student, it also offers students the flexibility they need to participate in their own education at their own pace. Many times throughout this past semester I had work-related problems and could not participate every day at a certain time. I participated, but when it was convenient for me to do so. In other words, to borrow a new term, I learned that learning can be both asynchronous and synchronous. Some of the time my learning took place on my own and then at other times with the class. In fact, I noticed that all of the elements that are crucial in accomplishing work-related goals are also present in this learning environment. For example, collaboration was necessary at certain times during this distance learning class, just as it is in the workplace. I couldn't always "do it alone," just as I cannot always do it alone on my job.
As I reflect upon on my strengths and weaknesses as related to this course, I think that the old saying about how my "greatest weakness became my greatest strength" applies here. One of the problems I first encountered in this class was not being able to get an immediate answer when I was having difficulty with something. In a traditional classroom the teacher is always physically present, so if there is an immediate need he or she is usually immediately accessible in one way or another (in class or during office hours). This problem, however, turned around as I gradually learned to dig deeper and investigate further for my own answers. I also learned to rely on my learning community (classmates), too. In the beginning of the semester there was an adjustment period, but as the semester progressed and as I began to work with the system, I learned to be less dependent on the instructor and more dependent on me. I think this was a good learning experience. Sometimes teachers answer far too many questions easily when they need to let the student search for their own answer. As a distance-learning student, I found that it was important to work independently to find solutions to problems. This is where my critical thinking skills came in handy. I don't mean to disregard the need for the learning community, but being an independent learner enables a student to be a better member of that learning community. So, to summarize, my greatest weaknessthe inability to access information instantlybecame my greatest strengthmy ability to become an independent learner and achiever.
In closing, I would like to add that I have really enjoyed the experience of this class. It has been good for me to learn first-hand what this distance learning is all about. Thank you for your help and patience.