While all of your courses are graded, the focus of your efforts should be on your learning. In our online discussions and your assignments we want you to take chances, to be unsure, to feel uncomfortable, to challenge what you may have previously thought, to challenge what we think and what the authors we read think, and to struggle when using new ideas for the first time. Make an effort to engage with the course’s ideas rather than focusing on your final grade.
With that in mind, you are starting this course with an A. As long as you actively participate in all online discussions and turn in quality work (which essentially means reviewing the rubrics and following directions for assignments), that A is yours to keep. If you misunderstand directions for some reason, you will always have the opportunity to revise your work, especially if it will expand your understanding of a concept. Constructive participation that demonstrates an understanding of course concepts and extends the learning of the group is essential.
Your instructors commit to giving you substantive feedback on your work throughout the course. Our feedback is given in order to help you succeed in graduate school discussions and assignments and to help you improve as a communicator in the field of education. Some of our early feedback may be on APA citations and references in order for us to share a consistent method for respectfully building on the knowledge of others. At other points, we may ask you to consider stating your own opinions and supporting them with citations from the experts in the field rather than simply reporting on what the experts said. Feedback on assignments may encourage you to stretch your thinking, take risks, or simply follow directions more closely.
Sometimes you get very little feedback from an instructor, which you should consider to be a green light. When this happens, forge ahead and stay on course.
Other times you may receive feedback that stings. This is never the instructor’s intention in this class or program (I can’t speak for other programs). When this happens, understand that the feedback is on a single piece of writing or work you have done, not on you as a whole complex person. You are not your writing or work. We are all busy working adults with full lives and the instructors understand that sometimes the work you hand in is “good enough.” We are not looking for perfection and neither should you.
We consider that your thinking and work in this profession will never be done, but your assignments have due dates. The feedback is on your work that was handed in at a specific point in time. Consider the feedback as part of your continual improvement process as you further your education and practice in creating advocacy plans, writing lesson plans, curating collections, evaluating resources, developing an ePortfolio, and all of the other work you will do. Read all of the feedback and then step away from it. Look for what was useful to you in that feedback for future assignments or work. Keep in mind that we give you feedback designed to help you grow as a librarian, teacher, writer, and scholar.
Research shows that virtual communication breeds misunderstanding because it deprives us of the emotional knowledge that helps us understand the context (Morgan, 2018). When you read your own posts, responses, and emails is there any way someone could misinterpret what you are saying? When you read other’s posts, responses, emails, and feedback (including ours) try to see the positive in it.
If you have questions about assignments or feedback, reach out to your instructor. We are here to help.
Morgan, N. (2018). Can you hear me? How to connect with people in a virtual world. Cambridge: Harvard Business Review Press.