Tuesday, August 4, 2009

those darn college professors

A bunch of liberal, elite know-it-alls... Can't trust a one of 'em.

This coming fall semester, on the second day of classes, a whole bunch of upperclassmen at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania are going to walk into class, all bright-eyed and eager, only to find they're going to have to sit through 75 minutes, twice a week, of this:

I'd feel sorry for them if I were you.


The department secretary showed me this afternoon that my mug had been reduced to stock art. Here. (You may have to refresh the page a few times.) An occupational hazard, I suppose.

I'm flattered, self-conscious, and mildly disturbed.


Here it is August and I finally got around to reading my spring semester course evaluations. Under "Please describe what aspects of this course you would change," a few of my favorites:

"cancel class more often, take a break"


"The way he teaches"

I especially appreciate the last one. Very helpful.

One of the problems with course evaluation comments is, of course, their anonymity. About some students' opinions I couldn't care less. But other students--students I've come to respect for one reason or another--I really want to know what they think. If I get a complaint that assignments aren't well explained, for example, that's much more meaningful feedback coming from a a student I know to be attentive and engaged than if it comes from someone who rarely comes to class. As the saying goes, context is everything.

Two other observations from course evaluations. First, there are a lot of college students who don't like to read (one wonders what these students' expectations for college were, and why). Second, I consistently get better evaluations in my earlier classes than I do in my later classes.

I'm not sure how to explain this second observation. It may be that I simply get tired through the day, and don't conduct class with as much energy the second or third time as I do the first. But I always feel better about the presentation the second time around--where I stumbled in the first hour, I'm clean and rehearsed in the second. Maybe too rehearsed?

I wonder if others' evaluations show the same thing. If so, it would seem that students are better off the fewer classes their professors teach. The professors, no doubt, would be better off too. Win-win.


KanyonKris said...

Nice photo - you look authoritative, like you know what you're talking about. That's got for a prof.

Perhaps the students are not as alert, attentive, interested later in the day.

"Nobody tells me it's them not me, if it's anybody it's me."


KingM said...

If you hover over the picture on that Shippensburg U page, it says, "Random Education Images."