Course Reflection Activities

What?, So What?, Now What?

Guided reflection is grounded in individual practice and can provide deeply meaningful insights into self-development and professional care. This type of reflection is a process in which the practitioner is assisted by a 'guide' in a process of self-inquiry, development and learning through reflection, in order to become fully effective.

1) What service did you do?

  • What role did you take on?
  • What about you did you share with others?
  • What did others share with you?
  • Are there other sites in the community that have similar goals?
  • What did you learn?

2) Why was the service needed?

  • What factors affected the need?
  • Was the service useful?
  • Was the service “successful?"
  • Relate this to personal values.
  • What surprised you?

3) What else is needed now?

  • What strategies might solve the problem, eliminate the need or sustain the results?
  • Is it important for me to stay involved in the community?
  • Is the community different or better? Are you?

Critical Incidents

Students report on critical incidents that seem, to them, powerful examples of the topic studied or move them to think deeply about the topic. By explaining what make these incidences critical and how they relate to concepts learned, you can gain insight about how you (1) interpret what you have been taught and (2) make use of the information.

Incidents could be positive or negative events, which the student participated in or witnessed and thus did not play an active role in. Write a reflective essay about a particular incident that occurred and respond to the following:

  • How did you or others around the event feel about it; what was everyone thinking?
  • What did you do or what was the first thing that you considered doing?
  • How do you think the incident relates to professional responsibility?
  • If you were placed in the same situation again, would you have the same reaction?
  • What conclusions can you draw?

Photo Narrative Essay

Frame the process: Think about how you want to ‘frame’ the reflection so it is coherent and meaningful, something to hold onto. In terms of content, think about different things that will be effective. Many people find visual aids useful (posters or signs or material from a website) or contemporary music or inspirational writing or poetry or art. Or, consider using photos and asking your group to recall images of people whom they have encountered and served. From there, and in general, your reflection ought to proceed along two lines, suggesting ways that participants might:

  • Recall what their desires/hopes/expectations were when they first signed up for or took part in the event/experience and comparing how that has evolved, where they are with it now in the midst of (or after) the experience.
  • Consider what they have learned/gained from those they have served; and comparing that with what they hope/believe they have offered in return.

Reflection on the experience cycle: Reflection on service offers a way to engage the intersection between our interior lives, desires, interests, concerns and our outside world. There is a dialectic (a dynamic, mutually-influencing interaction) between self and world. The reflective process seeks to pay attention to that middle ground, to see how the self is affected and effected by the world, and how the world is, or can be, affected and effected by oneself through service.

Awareness - Conversion - Immersion: The first step is to become aware of what a given experience is. Then we seek a next step of conversion – a change in our awareness from one context or belief or feeling to another because of what the experience sparks in us. Finally, we seek immersion – a deeper diving-in that engages us at deeper levels within ourselves, and with others. In turn, immersion will serve as the basis for new experiences, new awareness and so on.

Self-Evaluation, Digital Story

This assignment is a cumulative reflection of your service-learning experience. The reflection does not have to be lengthy but should contain substance about what the experience in the community meant for you.


A blog is a web log or an online journal that is written for others to read. You should be passionate about the content of your blog; this is what blogging is all about. If you have an opinion to share, something to say about your community site experience and you think others in the class are going to want to read what it is that you have to say, then blog it! Please be mindful of blog etiquette:

  • Unless you have permission, it is never okay to post someone else’s words on your own blog.
  • When you comment on someone’s blog, it is okay to disagree but do be respectful. If you cannot offer a decent rebuttal, keep your thoughts to yourself.
  • People become very courageous behind their computer screens. A good rule of thumb is to be courteous, be respectful and be considerate.