Embedding goals-driven reflection in your course does a lot for you.
Time to make a difference: Review students' initial goals/concerns in week 1 or 2 and you have loads of time to reframe or even adjust coursework to help students see the course's relevance.
Get ahead of learning gaps: You will be able to gauge, well before end-of-term evals, whether your students see the relevance of the course and whether they are owning their own responsibility as learners. That gives you feasible time to make adjustments to get them there.
Connect the dots for students to help you connect the dots: With end-of-course reflections, you'll again help students see their own role in learning toward their goals, and you'll hear directly from them how they perceive your course contributed to their learning.
Make learners responsible for their own learning: If you look carefully at how I've framed the prompts in this supporting, detailed discussion of goals-as-alt-metrics for teaching success, and how I've described throughout that article what students are doing, you'll see that my wording deliberately makes students responsible for their own learning. We increasingly hear concerns about students and parents misunderstanding college (and by association us and our courses) as concierge edutainment. Whether you're encountering students with accountability hang-ups or just noticing that a lot of your students don't recognize the initiative and responsibility they need to take, these "what do you want/what are you doing to get there" activities make learner responsibility tangible. Doing so helps you delineate between your responsibility (and ability!) to support their success and their own. Making these distinctions at the beginning of the term and at mid-terms is much more productive than wrestling over it at the end.
Assignment Prompt: Student Semester Goals Reflection
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