This module is a resource for lecturers
This section provides a suggestion for a post-class assignment for the purpose of assessing student understanding of the Module. Suggestions for pre-class or in-class assignments are provided in the Exercises section.
To assess the students' understanding of the Module, the journal format is ideal. The aim is to invite students to think about key issues that will help them to understand the complexities, indeed the attentive effort, involved in living in ways that they genuinely want to live. The journal offers students the possibility of learning how to engage with insights derived from the Module that will better help them navigate the vicissitudes of life. If possible, feedback on journals should be provided and students should be given the opportunity to engage with the feedback and improve the quality of their work. For instance, students could be given a week or two to work on their journals before submitting them for feedback. Then they could be given a similar period of time to make a final submission. Journals should include short summaries of all material presented in the Module, explaining how basic features of our lives, which typically play positive roles, can function to blind us. Stress should also be placed on the idea that living ethically, indeed living lucidly as free agents, requires ongoing vigilant and attentive effort. Their journals could include discussions on how they are going to weave the material covered in the Module into their lives and what further steps they intend to take to learn more about pitfalls of the sort that undermine our ethical agency.
The journal differs from the standard essay. Students are not required to develop a cohesive argument so much as reflect on their personal lives in relation to the material discussed in class. A journal does not necessarily have a clear endpoint, although lecturers may wish to limit its size for the purposes of assessment. The different elements of a journal are not meant to lead to a specific conclusion that ties all the material together, although it could. Instead, the journal is a format that invites continuous reflection on the material covered in the course and how it impacts the lives of students. Students can potentially continue writing in their journals long after they have completed the Module. A journal must also be distinguished from class notes. Class notes aim to summarize what is discussed in class whereas the journal aims to give students the opportunity to use what is discussed in class to gain insights about the life of its author. Class summaries will inevitably play an important role in helping students gain insights about their lives, but summaries are only the starting point for intimate, careful and sensitive reflection.
For guidelines on how to assess journals, refer to the assessment rubric below. Students would benefit from having access to the grid before commencing work on their journals
Assessment rubric for journals