July 20, 2011

My Course Evaluation

This post was last updated on September 27th, 2011 at 10:16 am

As I've done for the past 7 times I've taught this course, I've asked students to evaluate my efforts. I figure since I have to evaluate them and try to see that as an opportunity to learn, I need to model that. I take their feedback seriously and have tried to incorporate their suggestions as much as possible. 

It's been a month since the course concluded. I had 27 students and for what it's worth, the class average was 73, whatever that means

The first few times I taught this course the glaring issue I had was work overload. As a sessional and new instructor, I really had little conception of time expectations. I wasn't trying to be tough on students, but I simply wanted them to experience as much as possible. This becomes more challenging when the course is a 6 week course as opposed to 4 months. At any rate, I've carefully considered what I think are essential and what might be optional. I've tried to allow students as much choice as possible. As a result, I think I'm getting closer to achieving a reasonable work load.

 

18 of the 27 students completed the survey. 

As you can see, I've still a ways to go but the first time I did this the results were overwhelmingly in the "greater" section. 

 

I continue to see blogging as a challenge for many students. I've become better as explaining the variety of ways to use a blog and also realistically tell my students many won't continue but hopefully we explore enough examples that they might return or use it sometime in a new way in the future. That's become evident as students graduate and become teachers. My favorite folder in my RSS reader is my former student's blogs. As I tell them repeatedly throughout the course, I'm a lifetime subscriber. 

 

The specific feedback of how to improve the course is usually most helpful. This year, as in the past, I've not done a great job of clearly laying out assignments. I need to recognize their anxiety better and although I want them to take full ownership and feel free to modify and personalize assignments, most are being exposed to that idea for the first time and it's difficult.  I need to get better at that.

Here are the open ended responses:

 

  • list online sessions in course description so people can try to make them
  • Perhaps try to find an alternate time for live sessions so more people could attend? Vary the times more?
  • shorter sessions
  • Hard question. Maybe offer elluminate sessions at more varied times. I think many people worked or had activities at night so they missed out. I would consider actually offering the class with an assigned time even if it is online. 
  • A clearer and more defined syllabus and assignment due dates please. 
  • Perhaps respond to emails a bit sooner. I would to have liked more comments on my blog about my thoughts and about my final project etc.
  • I felt the course was pretty good! As of now, I like everything he had included in his class.  As I discover more, and he does, Im sure this class will change over the years (in meaning content and programs he decides to teach the students).  I liked all the programs and tools I learned and feel like I have knowledge and can use them now!
  • Given clearer direction on what is required in the portfolio.
  • I thought it was very well done seeing how we couldn't physically be all together was a class.
  • Offered it in a classroom setting as well. 

 

I love teaching. I love that I've evolved as a teacher and my role has truly morphing into a sherpa,dj, connector and yes, sometimes a traditional teacher and instructor. I love all those roles. But as much as I love them, I need to be able to understand my students needs and expectations. I believe and value the idea of co-construction of assessments, assignments and even my role. I need to utilize this feedback to make myself better. This is extremely valuable for new students and for me. 

Just curious, what methods, tools or process do you use to make you better at what you do? What can teach me about this?