These assignments serve several purposes. They allow you (and me) to see how much time you are spending on this class. Some classes require a little outside-class activity and some require a lot. The expectation or average is about 2 hours outside of class per week for each hour of credit per week and majors courses typically expect more than that (so perhaps 4-6 hours for this 2-credit course, minor course). If class work is getting done satisfactorily and students are not being substantially overworked, things are good. If neither of those is true, there is a problem and this may help me see the problem. The most important purpose of the PARR assignments is that they encourage reflection on what was learned during the prescribed acitivty.
After the initial (code.org) activity, you should work with a partner (or perhaps in one case, a triad). A submission is expected from each partnership for each set of activities/assignments—code.org & initial Snap! programs; the programming basics activities; the NetLogo assignments; and the robot experience. The project assignment will also have a PARR-like report. There will be class discussion after each PARR submission to clarify and share learning experiences.
Each PARR submission is to be completed cooperatively, however that works best for the partners. It could be written and proofed by all partners at the same time or drafted by one partner, critiqued/revised by the other partner(s), and then proofed together or in some other cooperative manner. However, taking turns to individually prepare and submit the PARRs is not considered cooperative work. The finished document is meant to demonstrate professional practice and to be the shared work of all partners.
As the reports cover several activities across days or weeks you will want to record activity and thoughts for reflection as you complete the activities. I recommend producing an activity journal that includes: 1) the outside-of-class time spent each day/time you work; 2) notable elements of the activity; and 3) notes about possible reflection topics (remember to record enough information to remember later when you it is not fresh on your mind).
You are to prepare a brief report about each identified set of programming activities. As indicated by the name (PARR) you are to report about the activity itself and your reflection on it. Thus, there should be two parts of the report—activity description and reflection on the activity.
Description is facts or statement of opinion. Some possible facts and opinions to report are:
Reflection involves activity such as connecting to personal experience; considering consequences, asking "what if ...?"; placing experience in a larger context; analogizing (and explaining the analogy); explicating your feelings/reaction and attempting to understand them/it. You might examine Reflection (a .pdf from Queen Margaret University's effective learning service) to get some additional sense of reflection and its utility. You might start with fact or opinion, then go further. The "further" could be an explanation of an opinion or an idea for an extension of the activity and a rationale for it, etc. Some other possibilities are:
Your reflection is not meant to be a burden and you need not write a lot but it should let me know what you learned, realized, etc.
In summary, the PARR should contain/address the ideas above (and below) and probably be organized as follows:
After the report has been prepared, one partner should prepare an e-mail message. The report should be typed (or copied and pasted) in an e-mail message (not included as an attachment) and should:
Grading is mostly a matter of did you do as directed in a conscientious manner. If it appears you did everything requested, the information is neatly formatted, and the information provided seemed reflective/thoughtful (not just going through the motions), you should receive an A or B. Slight departures from specifications may result in a lesser grade. More departures, even lower grades. Late submissions will receive a deduction commensurate with the lateness. Reports that seem superfical will receive at most a C. The syllabus provides additional information about grading.
Students always ask "How many pages?" and I always reply "As many as it takes to provide a good answer." I usually add a range, in this case, if you submit only a few paragraphs, you probably are not including enough and if you use more than two or three pages you may be overthinking it, rambling, duplicating, etc.