Saturday, April 23, 2011

Results of student survey: no need to have a focus group

I've analyzed the preliminary results of my student survey.  It provides some ideas of ways the course could be improved, but my focus-group experts agree that it doesn't raise any issues deserving focus-group investigation.

What they said:

Agree/disagree (~Likert scale):
  1. I had the necessary background for the course.  Most agreed
  2. The readings and reading quizzes prepared me for the lectures. Neutral
  3. The iClicker questions were not challenging enough. Most disagreed
  4. The Genetics in the News slides took too much time away from course material. Neutral
  5. The homework increased my comprehension of the lecture material. Most weakly agreed
  6. The tutorials helped me learn to solve genetics problems. Most agreed
  7. Having two mini-midterms and a midterm was too much testing. Most disagreed
  8. The course grade was based on too many different components. Most disagreed
  9. The workload was much higher than for other courses. Neutral
  10. I feel prepared to deal with genetics issues that may arise in my life. Most agreed

 Written Answer Questions:
  1. Should any topics be cut from the course material?  Most said no.
  2. Were any topics missing from the course that you wish had been covered? Most said no.
  3. A pizza-lunch focus group will be held later this month; all students are welcome to attend. Please mention below any specific issues that should be raised then.  Below is what they said:
  • Workload, discrepancy between difficulty of lecture material and what was tested (in tutorials, reading quizzes, midterms, etc.)
  • The tempo of the class. The first half seems like a review, and all the new stuff are in the second part. 
  • Methods of assessing learning in this course. 
  • No specific issues. 
  • How much we liked the format of the lectures -the methods in which we tried to prepare for exams
  • Mini-Midterm format. I think that the midterm was a fair examination however, the second mini midterm had a multiple choice question that had about 9 choices and was worth about 6 marks. I felt I did good on the rest of the exam but still didn't get a great mark because of 1 MC question.
  • How to study for the final. Every test has been a different format, what to expect. 
  • I would like to suggest ways to make homework more helpful in preparing us for the exams. Also, maybe investment
  • into custom booklets with some notes and problems sets like Bio 201. 
  • They are too little guidance in this course
  • Tested materials --> what to expect in midterms/exams weren't very clear 
  • Overall structure of how the course will be run next year. Textbook assignment and readings. Better formatting for the meiosis/mitosis content from the beginning of the year - personally I am still fuzzy, even though the concepts were stressed to be very important. 
  • I think going over online homework and reading quiz questions in class would help. Or perhaps explanations for the answers could be posted online because there are still questions that I don't understand. I also think the amount of work this course requires should be re-evaluated. The amount of reading is quite heavy and having two quizzes (homework and reading) PLUS peerwise PLUS tutorial each week is a lot.
  • How this course and its changes (234 vs. 334) related to other courses, such as Biol 335. 
  • How to study genetics
  • I think that the easiness of this course should be covered. I felt that this course reviewed a lot of material and didn't cover that much new material.



Ranking the course components:
Many components of this course contribute to the final grade. Please try to rank them according to how valuable you found them, taking into account your learning gains and the amount of time you invested in them. For example, an activity that took a lot of your time but resulted in little learning would score low.

  • Tutorials  High
  • Peerwise questions  Low
  • SNP report  Low
  • Calibrated Peer Review  Low
  • Online homework  High
  • Reading quizzes  No consensus
  • Studying for midterms  No consensus
  • Attending lectures  High

Only 21 of the 38 students have completed the survey so far.  That's certainly enough to go on, but I'll reanalyze the responses after the final exam marks have been posted (that's the last time the students will give any thought to the course).

1 comment:

Negative Entropy said...

You have too many blogs Rosie.

:)