Course Evaluations

My most recent teaching occurred in two graduate courses, EDPS 560 (co-taught) and EDPS 561. Enrollment caps are kept small, and course evaluations are comprised only of qualitative data. A few of these comments are provided in the sample below; please see the overall course evaluation for EDPS 560 and 561 for more detail.

My favourite comments …

I have selected the comments below because they demonstrate moments where my educational philosophy was successfully put into practice. I strive to make my learning environments flexible both flexible and challenging, and to ensure that students are able to find relevant applications for their learning.

“I liked that the content of the course was very relevant to practice. The professors were very good at using a variety of methods to explore the content. They also did a very good job of integrating students’ experiences and thoughts into discussions.I also appreciated that the professors were open to creativity and modification of assignments based on individual interests and goal

“The combination of hands on application, and classroom learning was incredibly beneficial. I feel that I am walking away with a much better understanding of ID than I
would have had without the real world application.”

“The quality of the course was excellent; I was exposed to different theories, models and dimensions of Instructional Design, including the latest trends and thinking-all of which I
have found extremely helpful to my development and educational career going forward.”

“The instruction was challenging, and inspiring. It made me want to learn more about ID.”

Renate was a wonderful instructor. She brought energy and passion to this course, and I felt incredibly motivated to learn in her class. She provided thoughtful and useful feedback to assignments (in a timely manner), and created an incredibly supportive classroom environment. I will definitely be taking courses in the future with Renate, if possible.”

Comments that gave me pause …

“Even though it would have meant more work (!) I would have personally benefited from assigned readings that led to read and reflects or summaries done for the first 1/2 hour of every class. For example, each person is assigned a reading (or chooses a reading) weekly on some aspect of the philosophies of teaching and learning (and learning theories), and presents it to the class in a brief 5 minute presentation. Two assignments on teaching philosophies was a good exercise, but the second one could be eliminated in lieu of assigned readings”

This comment left me wondering about the role of the article summary as a teaching strategy. I have long thought that the summary is rarely of any use to any student other than the summarizer, who is the only one asked to think through and integrate knowledge. I have also considered summaries time consuming, both in and out of class, where time might be better spent on other things.  However, this comment made me rethink the role of student-directed summaries, which ask students to be accountable for researching and finding meaningful resources for their colleagues. I am still not sure this is the best use of time, but am open to rethinking my approach.

“I think Renate’s strength lies in facilitating group discussion and encouraging students to voice their own ideas. Although Renate is a good public speaker, I did not get the impression that she enjoys delivering lectures (as opposed to facilitating discussion). This makes sense if we keep her teaching philosophy in mind. I would suggest that in future courses Renate gets students talking as much as possible, possibly by breaking the class into groups, assigning readings for groups to present each week, and letting students present the material and facilitating when necessary. I think that this is more in keeping with her teaching philosophy and style.”

This is perhaps one of the most kindly-worded versions of this critique I have received. However, the student’s suggestion that I try to avoid the lecture did not entirely resolve the issue for me. I believe in the value of delivering content in a lecture form from time to time, and believe that it is possible to be engaging in this format. Creating and delivering engaging lectures involves a skill I continue to work toward developing, as much as it is also important to me that I remain able to transition easily to other teaching strategies.