My belief about myself as a learner when I entered the class was a positive one. I attended a college prep school for high school and went to Oregon State University last year. I had plenty of practice with different learning techniques and found what works well for me. I believe I’m more of a visual learner than an auditory learner. It is easier to see a powerpoint and retain the knowledge than listen to a lecture and have the same retention. Entering the class I thought I liked working in groups more than working individually on projects, but that has since changed. I think it is more beneficial to me to work alone because I can get more done. When I entered the class I believed that reading the material closer to the due date was a better idea because I may not remember what I had read if I didn’t.
What I have discovered about myself, as a learner over the term is vast. I learned that I can read the material way in advance and just briefly skim over the text and remember just about everything, were as I thought reading closer was more beneficial. I also learned that working in groups really isn’t my specialty. I prefer working by myself because I’m able to get a lot more done and not have to worry about other people forgetting their part of the project. I don’t like having to worry about other people no following through. I also learned that looking at the daily record in advanced helped me in planning how to divide up my assignment load. I also learned that I really don’t like speaking in front of people, it is very terrifying. On that note, I also learned that I really don’t like debating. I never knew that debating was something that was so nerve racking. I also like having a mentor session to work over any problems that I might not have been able to get answered in class or didn’t even ask in the first place. I also learned that having a class with people who don’t judge or make fun of your questions making the learning process a lot easier then it would be if people were judgmental.
I learned from the first bridge project that working in groups wasn’t my favorite task in the world. My group encountered so many problems and had people not show up for meetings that it was almost impossible to get anything done. From the readings I learned that highlighting and taking notes helps a lot when I reader farther out, but reading sooner doesn’t require a lot of note taking at all. I learned that mapping out my ideas for my paper, in the form of an outline was very helpful in organizing a stronger paper.
From the debates held in class, I learned how to make a statement work for my side of the argument and how to argue it well. I learned that using more than one source for information is better because not only does it paint a larger picture, it gives me facts or ideas I might have over looked other wise. Through the class I have also learned taking notes while the lecture is in process makes it easier to understand the assignments later and have a better resource then just sitting there listening.
With the robot lab, the bridge building and debates I learned communication skills that surpass the ones I brought into the class in the beginning. From the Katrina paper, the outline, and the short assignments I learned how to organize my time more efficiently. From the readings and handouts I learned how to read critically and understand the information more thoroughly then just blankly reading the paper. From the discussion groups during class, I have learned to be more open to sharing my opinions rather then keeping them to myself.
I worked really hard this term, pushing myself to finish all of my assignments and to try them in ways I have never done before. For example, the portfolio map, could be hand drawn. I started drawing it and realized I should try to make it on the computer to see if I could complete the task. My map turned out really well and provided helpful insight into making my actually website.
The mock trials were another great example of communication. When I heard about the impending assignment, I’ll admit I was fearful of what the outcome would be. I’m not one for public speaking and believed it would be a total disaster. The mock trial turned out to be a success. I was very happy with the outcome of our trial. I think having opportunities to speak in class, are a great tool for learning. Just having open discussions are fine, yet it is sometimes hard to voice an opinion if I were unsure of the topic. Having time to prepare and organize my facts allowed me not to be fearful of speaking in public. From the experience of the mock trials, I allowed myself to speak up more and not be so unsure of what I had to say.
What also helped me learn a great deal with term were the actual students in my class. In other classes I have a more difficult time sharing my opinions because people tend to be very judgmental of what other people say. The class I was fortunate enough to be in did wonders for me. When I had a question about an assignment or during a lecture I was never afraid to voice my thoughts or concerns because no one would judge me If I had a question.