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Coursework 2: A fieldtrip or placement reflective diary (40% of total module mark)

Students should submit a reflective diary of 2,400 words. This diary should address between five and seven events experienced during a fieldtrip (or five to seven specific days during the placement).

The format of this diary submission should be similar to the learning journal. Each of these individual events/days should be written up: (a) assessing what was learnt; (b) identifying this learnings relevance to the students course; and (c) reflecting upon links to the academic literature.

More advice on how students could go about writing a reflective diary, and how best to structure this assessment follows in this handbook – in the What is a learning journal? What is a reflective diary? section.

What is a learning journal?
What is a reflective diary?

A learning journal or a reflective diary is a collection of notes, observations, thoughts and other relevant materials built?up over a period of time and maybe a result of a period of study, a fieldtrip, or placement experience. Its purpose is to enhance your learning through the process of writing and thinking about your learning experiences. Your learning journal or reflective diary is personal to you and will reflect your personality, preferences and experiences.

Why use a learning journal/reflective diary?

To provide a live picture of your growing understanding of a subject experience
To demonstrate how your learning is developing
To keep a record of your thoughts and ideas throughout your experiences
To help you identify your strengths, areas for improvement and preferences in learning

Learning journals and reflective diaries help you to be reflective about your learning. This means that your journal or diary should not be a purely descriptive account of what you heard, or what you have done, but an opportunity to communicate your thinking process: assessing how what you have learnt fits into your wider course and your overall thinking about international security.

What is reflective learning?

Reflective learning is a learned process that requires time and practice. It is an active process: involving thinking through the issues yourself, asking questions and seeking out relevant information to aid your understanding.

Reflective learning works best when you think about what you are doing before, during and after your learning experience. Reflective learning is therefore not only about recognizing something new, it is also about see reality in a new way.

Reflection is an important skill to develop and requires you to think about how you are personally relating to what is happening in the workshop, fieldtrip or placement.

Content of your learning journal
A learning journal should focus on your personal responses, reactions and reflections to new ideas or new ways of thinking about a subject that you have been introduced through asking questions such as:

What do I think about this issue/topic/experience?
Has this event reinforced or challenged my assumptions, understanding, perceptions and ideas?
Was anything associated with this event confusing or difficult to understand?
What more do I need to know about this issue to help my understanding?
Should I refine my ideas and beliefs as a consequence of attending this event?
How should I identify, locate and interpret relevant information and resources to learn more about this issue?
How can I use this experience to improve my learning and thinking and working?
And, in the specific case of M40ISS, how does this event relate to what I have learnt elsewhere on my course? How does if confirm/contradict my current understanding of international security?

What should you write about in your journal and diary?

You should break this reflection down into:
a. What you have leant
b. This learnings relation to your overall course
c. What links are there to the academic literature

Questions you could ask yourself:

a. What have I learnt?
What happened?
What have I learnt in this session?
Was this learning new knowledge, or reinforcing knowledge I already had, or a combination of both?
What was the most important thing I leant from this session?

b. This learnings relation to your overall course
How does the content of this session relate to what I have learnt on other modules or my independent research?
What did this session tell me about international security praxis?
What contribution does this speaker/event make to international security?
What is the link between practitioners and academics in the field of international security?

c. What links are there to the academic literature?
What links are there to the academic literature?
Did the contents of this session relate to material I have read in journals and books?
Was this literature supported? Contradicted?
Were any academic theories or concepts specifically mentioned, or relevant to what was said

How should I write/structure my journal/diary?

You should reflect upon each speaker session/fieldtrip event/day on placement individually, posing the questions in (a) to (c) above. These ongoing notes will form the journal/diary itself, and provide the foundation of the assessment. This journal should be kept for future reference, and tutors may ask to see these rough notes.

The actual submission will be writing up these field notes to create a more formal presentation (i.e. using full sentences and correct grammar).

The number of individual events that need to be written up are:
The speaker session learning journal – the writing up of four to six selected sessions
A fieldtrip diary – the writing up of between five to seven discreet events

These reflections, for the submitted assessment, must use the (a) to (c) three point structure above. There is no need to write a collective introduction or conclusion for these assessments. Your diary/journal should take the form of a series of reflections addressing each individual event preferably written up from your notes soon after the event itself.


The Part of relating it to a course, Most of them will be relatated to M25ISS international organised crime. I have uploaded some of the slides because is this semester that im talking the course and the instructor send an email which is the above one:

You can only really relate the reflection to the modules you have done already or any other past learning that you have undertook.

If anything catches you imagination, you could always mention that you hope to develop this aspect in a future module. That would be fine.

I guess, above all, I am after an account on how this event enhanced your learning even if this is only to say that this something that you have not thought of before, but can see how it is useful (if it was).
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