Sample Assignments

Sample Assignments

Mapping Exercises

Mapping + Integration Template

This template asks students to list courses in General Education and their major and co-curricular activities and then to reflect on connections among them and also to their Personal and Interpersonal Life and Professional/Career Life.  They do so by drawing lines to note the connections and making a brief annotation as to the nature of the connection.  As used in IE courses—such as English 494EI: Writing, Identity, and English Studies—it is often followed by an essay further reflecting on the completed map.

Art History 415: Methods of Art History

Skills Chart and Narrative

This assignment, the second in a three-part sequence of reflections, offers a model of how students might map their skills and knowledge. What makes this a valuable assignments for students is the opportunity to then use the skills charting to produce a narrative and employer portfolio. Writing the narrative and subsequent portfolio requires students to articulate for themselves the value of their General Education and major experiences.

Japanese 494RI: Communicating in Japanese

Reflection Assignment

This assignment is in two parts: the first is a mapping exercise framed by two questions. It asks students what they would like to ultimately be doing in life, and asks what they will do following graduate to achieve that. This mapping then moves into an overall reflection on the major and General Education courses that students have taken, asking them to consider how, directly or indirectly, these courses may help them achieve the objectives. Following the mapping exercise, students are asked to write a reflection essay based on their mapping charts, and what they identified as overall goals.

ResEcon 394LI: Life is Full of Choices: An Integrated Experience Seminar

SBS Pathways Inventory

This assignment asks students to develop their SBS Pathways Portfolio, a component of the larger SBS Pathways Program. In doing so, students have an opportunity to reflect on their courses, both General Education and major-focused, as well as any co-curricular experiences. Upon mapping these experiences, students are then asked to identify the skills attained from such experiences, and consider how they might use them in their future goals. This is done in conjunction with students’ professional development. This assignment is an example of using informal mapping to prompt students’ reflective thinking and draw connections between their broader educational experiences and their own professional and personal lives.


Narrative Assignments

*With the exception of Art History 415 and English 494EI, these course assignments do not include mapping or charting activities. 

Anthro 494RI: Religion, Evolution, and Human Biology

Reflection Papers

There are two reflection papers that ask students to reflect on specific General Education designated courses (one BS course, and one AL, AT, or SB course). These reflections are explicitly connected to the content of the course, with prompts asking students to draw connections. While not explicit in the Term Paper assignment, the language of the prompt draws parallels to that of the earlier reflection papers.

Art History 415: Methods of Art History

This course includes three reflection and integration activities: the initial and final being in narrative form, and the second involves charting.

Initial Reflection Paper

This assignment is constructed in 3 parts, allowing students to work through their experiences. Students are given a chance to think separately about their General Education courses, as well as their introductory, 100-level major courses. In doing so, students can identify what patterns emerge specific to one particular group, or see what is shared. This comes together with the final questions which ask students to think about the impact of these courses on their future plans. Completed early in the semester, these reflection papers are meant to frame and guide students' experience in the course.

Skills Chart and Narrative

See description above. 

Final Reflection Paper

This assignment is in addition to a final research project. While the final research project is disciplinary/course content focused, this final reflection assignment offers students the chance to consider how all facets of their UMass experience (General Education courses, major courses, extracurricular activities, etc.) influenced not only their choice in research project, but also their approach to the future.

Comm 494XI: Media and Prejudice

Reflection Papers

These papers are designed for students to reflect on their prior General Education experience, while also requiring that they think about these experiences in the context of the course theme. In doing so, students are given the opportunity to integrate their learning experiences within the context of their major and the overall course focus.

8-Page Paper

While the primary focus of this assignment is for students to design their own theory-based media intervention, marking the assignment as a kind of wrap-up to the course, students are encouraged to use previous Gen Ed courses as inspiration and resources. This assignment offers an example of how an assignment can be "content-focused" and perhaps, disciplinary-specific, while also granting an opportunity for reflection on and integration of prior General Education experience.

English 494EI: Writing, Identity, and English Studies

Project 3: “College”

This project is one of five that students complete in the course. While the other projects offer different reflective lenses for students to consider, Project 3 emphasizes a reflection on College. Students are asked to reflect on and integrate “their college learning so far,” considering all of the courses they have taken alongside their co-curricular activities. These reflections are then presented in a final paper taking the form of a narrative, critical reflection, or case study. The project is one piece of a larger whole that offers students the opportunity to critical reflect on and engage their prior learning experiences.  To prompt their thinking for this reflection, students begin by completing the Mapping + Integration Template.

NatSci 489H: Integrative Science Senior Exposition Seminar

Personal IE Reflective Essay

This essay asks students to craft a “narrative on [their] intellectual/personal journey through college.” Students develop the reflection essay, which requires both reflection on and integration of their General Education coursework and major courses, with peer and instructor feedback throughout the course of the semester. While the essay itself is developed “iteratively,” the syllabus provides some initial prompts to help students get started.

PoliSci 394DI

Protest and Dissent: Electronic Journal Assignment

This assignment is a cumulative journal assignment, with an established minimum number of entries students are required to make. While some of the entries can be interest-driven, with students writing about their own topics, the syllabus highlights five required prompts throughout the course of the semester. These prompts ask students to reflect on their prior experiences, including General Education courses, in relation to their major and the course material.