Summer session started last week. This semester I have 24 students. I teach a programming language course. I have Engineering, Science, Business, Music, Anthropology, and Phycology students. They are freshman up to Graduate students. Every semester, I ask the students to give me a feedback about the class and to write any comments or suggestions they have about the class. I usually ask them to fill out an anonymous poll on line in the middle of the semester. This semester, I wanted to hear their opinions and concerns a little bit earlier.
Today, I handed them index cards, instead of the usual online survey, and asked them to write any comments, suggestions or concerns about the class. I also asked them not to write their names so they don’t feel afraid or shy from saying what they really think of the class or about the teaching.
Students sometimes are shy when it comes to criticizing the class. These feedbacks are very helpful to learn what the students are thinking in an early stage. I address their feedbacks and concerns in the next class and we discuss their comments and suggestions. Some of these comments or suggestions are valid others may be not. Students love the idea and I always get very useful and interesting comments and suggestions. Some of these suggestions were very helpful for my teaching. Others sometimes are goofy and funny like “I like your accent” and “I like your hair.” Although, I am not sure of the later if it is a mocking statement, since I don’t have hair, or a compliment.
Before the end of the semester, the department asks the students to give their feedback about the instructor and the course. The instructor can only see these feedbacks after the grades are registered. I will talk about the process and what kind of questions in these evaluations in a later post.