Throughout the course we developed a Signature Project to address problems or any issues that may have been brought to our attention. In this class our Signature Project was to create a design for first year students here at Plymouth State. As we started to research and talk with the admissions team it was brought to our attention that first year students find it difficult to understand the onboarding application process. We had a design which is a journey map of where a student might be within their critical path during the application process. We created this project because we want to simplify the college application process because it can be an overwhelming time for students to follow and understand. The journey map is used as a visual way with links that have helpful pages for the first year student to follow.
Within the course of our Signature Project we took on many problems and learned about different scenarios of how we could make the PSU first year student process easier. The Habits of Mind also relate to this course due to purposeful communication, problem solving, integrative perspective, and self-regulated learning. Being able to communicate with my peers and professor was a great way to interact because I could express and develop ideas when something came to my mind. I would be engaged with my group by taking notes and ask questions, so we could promote others ideas to make the project the best version.
The first habit of mind is; Purposeful communication, which is interacting with people to create new messages. As this course is coming to an end I was able to gain a better experience with my communication skills and this has made me feel comfortable and has boosted my confidence. One signpost that I have focused on is, Comprehending. This is something that you need to be aware of when communicating because if you are not paying attention or understanding it can be difficult to know what the discussion is about. Showing understanding of meaning of communication or a reading a text is something I was able to follow and comprehend to. For example, recognizing a problem when creating the process for new incoming students was definitely stressful, but I would respond and ask questions so I knew what to implement to the group. Another signpost that I used within the semester was awareness of context. This means recognizing something that is within cultural contexts. I feel like I have done this within the course and due to understanding my peer’s opinions I would let them explain what they had to say before I jumped into concluding their thoughts. I thought effective application of strategies for communication was something that I have also done within the semester. For instance, I would use communication strategies to understand my peer’s information they have given to the class. A specific strategy that I would use is, taking notes on someone of what they have to say. I would do this so I could remember it for a future reference if I needed to go back to it.
The next Habit of Mind is; problem solving, which is identifying, explaining, and seeing problems that we as students should consider and comprehend to when we need to. Within the course we faced a problem that did not fail, but we had to rethink of better ways to make this our course project be easy and accessible for students to have and use. It took a lot of effort and time to finish the journey map that we wanted to use for PSU. Decision making is identifying the problems and approach them in the best way so you can stick to the plan but change information if need be. This signpost is one of the ones that I have reflected on when we were working on our project. For instance, when creating the prototype of the journey map we had to fix our information within the tool Twine so when students go through the process they are seeing simple language and they do not have to click too much in order to get to where they need to be. Before we finalized our porotype we had too many clicks on some of the pages but we understood what we had to do in order to keep the process as easy as possible. Another signpost that I faced was, evaluating the process, which is recognizing the process and what we wanted to have the best outcome for our project. This signpost is relevant to me because I was able to fix my part of the project such as fixing the Twine. I wanted to make it the best and easiest way possible for the new students to follow and be able to understand when viewing it.
The third Habit of Mind is integrated perspective and this is recognizing induvial beliefs, ideas, and vales that influence from personal experiences. The one signpost that I focused on within the integrated perspective was when I was in class our group would have different ideas and share their thoughts when they thought it was necessary to. For example, when you are listening to someone’s ideas you understand their view of points and recognize the benefits of engage from others thoughts. When I would listen to a classmate’s idea I would sometimes would not recognize what they were saying, but after continuing to listen I was able to follow their ideas. When listening to someone’s ideas you should recognize that one’s perspective influences the way they are brought up and should understand where they are coming from when speaking.
The last Habit of Mind is; self-regulated learning which is the desire to learn the ability to set personal goals for learning and understanding the learning process. When engaging in the learning process you need to have confidence showing that you have the ability to learn and you are open to new ideas and learning different things. For example, I would consider my own strengths and weakness when being about of the learning process. I would try to reflect on what I was good at and not the best at. I thinking posting blogs about this course and what I have learned let me understand my personal goals and what I need to do in order to be responsible for my learning process. Another signpost that somewhat relates to responsivity for own learning is metacognitive awareness. This is understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. I would try to focus on my listening skills and be able to comprehend to what someone in my group is explaining. This would lead me into reflecting on my own thinking to benefit myself in the best way possible.
This Signature Project course gave me the opportunity to gain my communication and listening skills. Also, I was able to understand the four habits of mind and understand how they reflect on my communication purposes. Within the course we tackled many problems and learned about different scenarios and how The Habits of Mind relate to the Signature Project due to purposeful communication, problem solving, integrative perspective, and self-regulated learning.