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To Instructors of Study Skills or Study Strategies:

Have you ever assigned learning journals?  Since I never have before, I'd
like to learn from your experience.

The purpose of a learning journal in my class will be to communicate with my
class of 25 individually about their other classes.  I want to know how they
are progressing and what strategies and other course ideas they are
applying.  In response, I expect to make further recommendations, praise
their efforts, and ask clarifying questions.  I will have them hand in the
journals every two weeks, eight times in all (I have a light load).  I also
expect to assign points, as I use a point system to arrive at a course grade.

Questions:
How do you evaluate journals?  (I feel assigning points encourages students
to do their best work.)

How do you get them to do good work (thoughtful, insightful)?  Or is it
impossible to get this in a journal?

How much writing do you expect?  (I hope they won't try to complete their
journals in the ten minutes before my class starts.)

I plan to list suggested topics.  I may ask them to apply a strategy and
report in the journal how it worked for them.  What do you think?

I would appreciate any other suggestions.

Most of the students I teach plan to go on to a 4-year college.  The
3-credit course, called Effective Reading and Study, is designed for
students enrolled in regular college classes.  Most of these students are
not particularly underprepared.

Linda Johnson
Linda L. Johnson
Kirkwood Community College
Iowa City Campus
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