Thinking, Learning & Computers, CCT670, Fall 1998 Course evaluation
Type or write out neatly a synthetic statement (1 or 2 paragraphs) evaluating this course. (You might build on/build in your comments from the other side. [see notes from Part I , appended]) Please make comments both to help me develop the course in the future and to enable some third party appreciate the courses strengths and weaknesses. (Imagine a reader who may not be willing to wade through all the notes on the other side, but is willing to do more than look at numerical averages.) Among other things you might comment on the overall content and progression of classes, the content of specific classes, and the value of the in-class activities.Note: Only five students completed the written evaluation because I unwisely allowed them to take it away to be submitted later.
I really liked this course for reasons unlike how I feel most would like it. I was initially confused by the syllabus, but that's only because my use of language isn't great. After reading it a few times I was able to discern the overlapping ideas that we were to integrate as objectives of the course. I also felt at times confused in the classroom and this was because the Interpreters I was using were signing in ASL which I have to convert back to English in my mind. It seemed I was doing so much converting in real time that I had very little time to actually think about the ideas we were discussing.
The reasons why I really liked this class was that I felt I could get out of it as much as I put in (I didn't put in as much as I would have liked). Dr. Taylor seemed always eager to look at anything we could give him that would give him a sense of our direction and what we were thinking. He always had new ideas and strategies to supplement those we had and were working on. I wish I could have interpreters to work with him outside of class to ease the constraints I have on communicating.
I liked this course so much that I signed up for two more for the Spring, with the hopes that I will improve my own skills in order to benefit from his!
To be quite honest, after the first class I was feeling a little overwhelmed. This is my first semester in the MEd program and the CCT670 class was not what I had initially anticipated in terms of content & instructional style. I am used to being presented information in a very organized, almost bullet point, fashion. The first class seemed, to me, a little disjointed. I was also a little concerned that I would not be able to grasp the material being presented.
After this initial uneasy feeling I believe that I adapted quickly to the course material. I enjoyed the encouraged, active involvement of all of the students in the course. I was also pleased that the rather negative class participants chose to withdraw from the course early on. (Well, most anyway.) I believe it allowed for an environment where most everyone felt comfortable contributing to the class discussion. Overall, I truly enjoyed the course. I am not quite through with my final project but the process of putting it together has been interesting and enlightening.
I was very impressed with the effort you put into this course. You obviously spent a lot of time on us! I think someone--or something--needs to explain the course better from the start. At the orientation we were told we would learn about education and the roles computers play, etc. After the first couple of classes many of us were confused--just because we had different expectations. The assignments were enjoyable--I personally didn't like the computer assignment in class when we were trying to solve the economic problems?? I was confused and didn't understand the purpose at first. The briefing was a good assignment--I would, again, express to the students why a briefing will be helpful for them--sharing the briefings is crucial. The commentaries are great--I enjoyed writing them and reading your comments. Perhaps you could discuss the textbook more--discussions in class were generally good. Perhaps you should be more strict about doing the readings--call on the students randomly to discuss the homework! I liked the presentations and the revision process was great--succesful I thought. That's all! All around an interesting class. Thanks!
An interesting & challenging course to say the least. I felt out of place for the first 6-8 weeks. Generally the group discussions that took place involved Keith, Ted, Alan and yourself. It was difficult for those who aren't as computer savvy to jump in all the time. A lot of our small projects were nebulous, with quick summaries.
The grading system is awkward. I felt that your in-depth comments were Excellent and very appreciated but the fact that you get a B+ grade for doing the minimum was very awkward. I felt that the whole grade issue was brushed over quickly. It is as if I could have not done any readings just do a summary of each class for my 6 written logs-+ do the minimum for a briefing and paper and I would have got the same grade.
My last comment is only that it was tough getting the articles from the library--time-wise! A course packet would be appreciated.
1. Start with a self-evaluation: Did you achieve your personal goals? How would you have proceeded differently if you were doing this course again? What have been your major personal obstacles to learning more from this course?
Clearly, I coul have gotten a lot more from this course. This was my 1st semester back in school after not being able to get accepted for a couple years trying to get my self organized again. Very eager to try again in a more organized fashion.
I did achieve my personal goals for the course not the least of which was getting through my 1st semester of classes in over four years, with some success. In doing the course again, I would not start with such an anti-computer attitude. In trying to adjust to a completely new life style I was not able to give as much time as I would have liked.
I suppose I achieved my goals...I didn't actually set specific goals before the class began. I would read the readings more carefully the first time if I were to take the class again. Also, I would meet with the professor more often to discuss ideas, etc. I need to be more confident about computers--I can use them well...I know I can!
I feel good about learning what is out there on-line etc. much more confident now. I would have tried to be more vocal and ask questions next time. Lack of computer knowledge was tough at first but got better.
I would have liked to have taken this class in a less hectic period in my life, but I feel good about the work/learning I engaged in.
What have you learned about making a seminar format, critical thinking course stimulating and productive? What would your advice be to prospective students about how to get the most from a course like this?
I would advise them that they can get anything they want it they work on it! I know most people here already have a career, but the possibilities here for personal or professional development seem limitless!
In order to have a course such as this one be stimulating and productive everyone in the class must have some understanding of (if not questions regarding) the material being discussed. Students should definitely come to each class having read the assigned materials and with an open mind.
I think it is difficult! (Unfortunately, a classroom makes a big difference regarding stimulation--and the UMass classroom was awful. The group activities were productive. My advice would be to have an open mind and just go along with the course syllabus because it comes together in the end. Also, keep up with the commentaries.
Seminar format is tough--we seemed to break up into small groups a lot which was good, but the majority of the topics were confusing and we always seemed to not have anough time to evaluate what we did.
It requires the participation of all students. I would recommend that students try and keep up with the readings so they could participate more fully.
2. General evaluation: How did the course meet or not meet your expectations? How did your attitude to doing the course change through the semester? How do you think the course could be improved? What was special about this course (-ve & +ve)? How does it compare with other courses? What would be your overall recommendation to prospective students?
Course was better than I had anticipated, the instructors seem to be ready to meet with you and talk about your ideas from day one!
I really had not expectations as I had never taken a CCT course. I approached the course with the attitude that I was going to learn and be successful with the material. I have already recommended this course to other MEd students because of the focus on thinking about computer and their effects. It's quite different from the other two courses I have taken.
Because I was not aware what "Critical and Creative Thinking" meant exactly I suppose I was expecting that the course was going to be more "educational" since I am an education major. However, if the students gear their assignments towards their educational interests--it's fine. I think the purposes of each assignment/discussion needs to be clarified more--so they see the connection betwwen each class.
I had higher hands on computer time expectations. there was a tremendous amount of material that was covered. I really liked doind the briefings--maybe do more. Your feedback was excellent--thanks for taking so much time.
I generally expected something like what the course turned out to be (having taken similar critical thinking classes before). I think that less lengthy readings might encourage students to keep up with all the work. Pre-emphasis on self-reflection and process was special about this class. I enjoyed how the instructor forced students (without telling them) to think critically about the ideas/material presented.
3. Re-read the course description (from the syllabus). Comment on how well the goals expressed there were met and make general and specific suggestions about how these could be better met.
What are the consequences of using computers to aid our thinking, learning, communication and action in classrooms, organizations, and social interactions? Class activities acquaint you with a number of specific computer-based tools, as well as themes for critical thinking about these tools. You also examine interpretations of and debates about social and educational transformations that involve computers.
Assignments and projects are designed to help you, as a teacher or other professional, overcome deficiencies in your prior education about computers and develop skills for on-going learning. The course as a whole aims for you to better fulfill the needs of your community/organization, address the information explosion, adapt to social changes, and collaborate with others to these ends.
The course goals were met, but the students need to take advantage of what it has to offer!
I felt that the course objectives were all met. The final project really tied (is still tying) the course together. I was able to use the issues we discussed throughout the course either directly in my project or as tools to perform better research.
I actually think this is rather accurate. The line I underlined [Class activities acquaint you with a number of specific computer-based tools, as well as themes for critical thinking about these tools] is a little confusing. I wouldn't remove it--but explain it in class at the first lecture.
Still a very good course description. I feel we spent too much time on debates and theories, and not enough on exploring the computer based tools. It is hard to use/explore a toold only through readings--demo of Tom Snyder not enough. Bioquest was excellent--it led into great discussions after we all spent 1/2 hr. using computers. Need more of that!