I have left this survey open still as there has been slow uptake and I have encouraged the students once again to give their opinion. I think students at UTS are surveyed out. Nevertheless, 25% have responded so far and during tutorial discussion yesterday, when I engaged them in conversation about flipped and student-centred learning, I got the rest of the feedback I was seeking. I discussed the survey responses with the students. I began with the ticks (self-congratulation): a clear majority of the students are enjoying the subject so far and agree that is it different from most of the study experiences they have had so far at UTS; there is unanimous opinion on the positive value of online, retrievable lectures and the mix of online and face to face; near unanimous student opinion in favour of designing their own test questions; unanimous opinion on the utility of a WordPress blog site to teach the subject; students also like the easy toolbar links at the top of the WordPress blog site; group work feedback is mostly positive, but more work needs to be done. Crosses or mixed response: tutorial dynamic needs more work, more structure, much more student involvement and control; group work was likewise mixed: a couple didn’t care for it.
An in-depth collection of responses is in attached Word doc. Survey Monkey results as of 26Oct14
I followed up and asked them face to face yesterday what they thought worked best for tutorial dynamics and group work based on their experience of the numerous subjects they have taken at UTS over the last 3 years. Some responses are trickling in: “Asking students to send questions based on the week’s reading to you before the tutorial is a good idea, but make the activity of how you use them in the tutorial a little more interesting. Some options: every student brings in question or two, they go into a hat and then students pick a question out that is not their’s to discuss / respond to, individually or in small groups. Questions that students send should be more like statements that we invite an agree / disagree response, then in class we can have mini debates. This will force us think and come up with a concrete argument to put forward”.
“Completing the individual and group components of the assignment simultaneously can be difficult, because we are not all sure of the conclusions are going to come to after our research, and if they are not what we expected / planned for with the group work, that throws the group component out. Suggestions to change this would be to: a) make the group component due a week later so that students have time to reconvene AFTER their research is complete, and bring their findings to the table to work with the group then; OR b) make the group components due first; students are given / decide on a more general topic, then after working together on the broader topic they then split up and look at different individual aspects”.
“I have enjoyed the content of this subject this semester. I’ve found every week to be very interesting. As one of the girls was saying today I would like to have more of a class discussion and argument about the readings, whether it be someone is allocated a week to discuss or whether a question is posed to the class every week and it is discussed. I also think that the idea of a paragraph summary which is worth two marks each week is a good idea as I believe more students will be inclined to read the set readings for that week without being ‘forced’ into doing so”.