Midterm reviews October 27, 2016Posted by mareserinitatis in education, teaching.
Tags: evaluations, feedback, students, teaching
I scared my students to death yesterday.
“Pull out a blank piece of paper.”
The look of total panic was hilarious. Probably not for them, though. I shouldn’t have been so amused by it, but it didn’t occur to me until I saw their faces that they thought I was going to give them a pop quiz.
No, instead I gave them a few minutes and left the room while they wrote down, anonymously, a couple things they liked in the class and a couple things that needed improvement. I told them that the comments needed to be constructive, though: if they don’t like my hairstyle or my wardrobe, I really don’t care.
I was kind of scared to look at the comments, but I was actually very impressed with the quality of the feedback. I’ve never had end-of-semester evaluations give me this kind of information.
Some of the comments were expected: nearly half complained about the ungodly earliness of the class. (This is something that doesn’t bother me except that half of the class will fall asleep on lecture days, so it will be changed in the future. I personally am in favor of early a.m. classes.) I only got one “the instructor is very nice” comment. I have mixed feelings on comments like that, but I was happy to also see that they liked how the class was structured and said I gave good explanations. Those are the kinds of things I DO like to hear.
On the negative side, I had a couple complain about the number of ethics problems, so I will have to explain to them about this little thing called ABET. A couple were confused about the grading, so I will also have to discuss my grading rubric, although I won’t be changing it for the one person who said I graded too hard. One person wasn’t sure what the point of the class was. All of these are fair questions that I think can be easily addressed.
Then there were the mixed bag things: some hate the book (or its expense) while others love it, some feel class is too easy while others feel it’s too hard, some like the pace while others feel it’s too fast, etc.
I was surprised that there were more students who wanted more group projects than those who wanted less. Apparently the group work is actually a positive thing, so hopefully that means I am structuring it well (or well enough).
And, best of all, they definitely got the message that I really don’t care what they think of my hair.