Mid-course SELF-evaluation

I do a mid-course evaluation to find out what I could do better on the remainder of the course. For the first time, I asked the students what they could do to help themselves do better. The most common answers (in bold the number of students who said that):

Take better notes 62
Be less lazy; not procrastinate 60
Focus – pay more attention 60
Review material/class notes more after class 54
See/resort to TA’s/meet with them 53
Ask more questions 44
Turn off electronics/phone 39
Study more 38
Blog more frequently/regularly/earlier 36
Time management 21
Review pop quizzes & tests 12
Attend study sessions/review 10
Attend more office hours 9
Do more extra credit work 8
Sit up front 7

All remarkably similar to the wisdom from last year (learning, grade).

As for what I could do better to help the students learn better? Most requests actually revolved around how they could get a better grade. And the most common requests? More on what makes a good blog, more on test preparation, and could I please require less blogging and make the tests easier. I take the first two points, but I really think those things are a work in progress. As for less blogging? 65% of the students think the work load of the course is about right (which makes me think its too light). As for making the tests easier — how hard to stretch people is one of the toughest (and most ignored) questions in Higher Education. They might already be too easy: nobody thinks the course is insufficiently challenging, with 57% thinking it’s about right and 43% saying its too challenging. You gotta stretch students out of their comfort zones. With almost 60% feeling pretty comfortable, I may not have gone far enough.

Things they think I am doing well? 

Picking interesting topics that keep students engaged 73
Answers students’ questions thoroughly 24
Makes students think critically 11
Detailed explanations 10
Extra credits/many chances to improve grade/succeed 10

Most disappointing is the quarter of the class for whom the course is failing to meet their expectations or who are dissatisfied. The most disappointing thing about that is that no one has come to talk to me about anything they are dissatisfied with. I always wish we could link the feedback to the grade book. Are there engaged students who aren’t happy? That would worry me. Or are the unhappy 25% those who are failing because they haven’t done much?  And by even raising that possibility, have I become the doctor who blames his patient’s death on the severity of the disease rather than the quality of the doctoring……..???

Thanks so much to Monica for her fantastic efforts to compile all the data.

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