The students write a 2-page chemistry autobiography at the beginning of the semester in order to reflect on their previous chemistry learning experiences, express their expectations for the class, and help me get to know them.
Students reflect on their chemistry learning experiences.
Students articulate their expectations for the course.
The instructor gets to know the students better.
Students need to know that correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation count. And my students need to be encouraged to be creative (within reason) in order to make it fun for me to read.
I grade the autobiographies for 1) answering all the questions, 2) obeying the two-page limit, 3) completing it on time, and 4) using correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Most students take this assignment seriously and useful information is provided. One year I asked the students in a survey how well each course activity we did helped them achieve the course learning goals. This one came out the lowest, but it is also the least directly aligned with the course goals, so that's to be expected. I plan to keep doing it because I think it helps me be a better teacher.