Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Oh, the precious dears...

Our online class evaluation system produced its results the other day, and I got to see what my Introduction to Hamsterology 101 students thought of my teaching this past term. Based on the comments, I was schizophrenic during the term.

I was:
  • very interactive with the class 
  • not interactive with the class 
  • very easy to follow along 
  • difficult to follow along 
  • very interesting 
  • very boring 
  • very approachable 
  • very unapproachable 
  • giving tests that directly related to the stuff taught in class 
  • giving tests that had nothing to do with what was taught in class 
I particularly enjoyed the section that asks students if they have any suggestions on what they would like to see changed about the course:

"Add more words to the online lecture slides for those students who study at home"

Yes, yes, "studying at home" is vitally important for those students who don't want to actually come to lecture, where I explain the shit out of every slide (which was another student's complaint: "he could spend 20 minutes explaining one slide that only has a diagram on it.")

"Lectures should be recorded (and posted online) because with class 3x a week it is inevitable that some classes will be missed."

Excellent use of the passive voice here. It is also inevitable that, with reasoning like that, I'm going to tell you to shove that suggestion up your arse.

Prof Poopiehead


  1. The last sentence is much appreciated. It is humbly suggested that the passive voice be employed here as well.

    "It is also inevitable that, with reasoning like that, you will be told that your suggestion should be shoved up your arse."

    "It is also inevitable that, with reasoning like that, you will be told that, regarding your suggestion, no fucks will be given."

  2. Poopiehead, by my read of your feedback, you're doing everything right.

  3. I'm not sure which would be more worrying: a consensus that I'm doing everything wrong, or that everything is exactly how they think it should be.

    1. The second would worry me most if it were coupled with high scores and lowered standards.

      As to the first, we could consider not only the magnitude of the wrongness, but the sign. Two wrongs of equal magnitude but opposite sign cancel; e.g., "very easy to follow" (read as "not challenging enough") cancels "difficult to follow".

  4. Around the turn of the century (the most recent one), I was teaching a semester at a place that asked its students whether I was

    (a) always,
    (b) sometimes,
    (c) neutral,
    (d) rarely, or
    (e) never
    at my office hours.

    My office was a little cubby hole, but it had a window overlooking the entrance to the building, so I could see if any of my students were coming. Not once during the semester did a single student come to my office hours. So they had no way of knowing whether I was ever there. And yet on the student evals, they all said I had always been there.

    1. Most of my courses have no exams other than the final, which students take after they fill out the course evaluations. One of our questions asks whether students were given adequate time to complete exams. Every single time, the majority of the students answer that question.

      Also of note is the fact that students give completely divergent answers to questions that must have a single, factually correct answer, such as "Did the professor provide a syllabus on the first day?"

      I'm convinced that most of the time, the question they are really answering is "How do you feel about this professor as a person?" and the questions that are actually asked are irrelevant.

  5. "With class meeting 3x a week, it is inevitable that some classes will be missed." As noted by Prof. Poopiehead, nice passive voice there. You'll miss the class, Skippy. Like everyone else here, I had plenty of M/W/F classes when I was an undergrad. I missed one class because I had the flu. Many of you didn't miss any. Inevitable?

    As OPH said, I actually hope for a small number of naysayers in a given semester. It means I'm keeping my standards up. I have one colleague who seems universally loved by his students and he's also known as the easy way to go. Heck, let's just give them all A's. They'll be happy and we don't have to do any grading. By the time they figure out their grades are meaningless, it'll be too late.

  6. Exactly, Poops. Shove it. Shove it sideways, with force.