INSTRUCTIONAL SKILLS WORKSHOP FEEDBACK (March 2012)
The ISW is built around giving and receiving feedback; both the participants and the facilitators rely on rich feedback to hone their teaching and facilitating practices, respectively. Typically, facilitators obtain shorter Formative Feedback at the end of days 1 and 2 (of a 3-day ISW) and longer, comprehensive Summative Feedback at the end of the last day.
For this particular ISW, one section of the Summative Feedback form included 4 questions about Facilitation that were rated on a scale of “Not helpful” (1) to “Very helpful”(5). The four questions pertained to: 1. Visual aids, handouts, and other material, 2. Modeling of teaching or presenting techniques by facilitators, 3. Teamwork among facilitators, and 4. Flow of the workshop. Seven of nine feedback forms gave all four questions a 5/5. In the other two feedback forms, each of “visual aids, handouts, and other materials” and “flow of the workshop” received a 4/5. Additionally, all of the Summative Feedback forms included positive comments about the facilitation by myself and my partner; some of these are included below.
- “I was so impressed by the two facilitators! _ and Rebecca both did a great job! Thank you!”
- “The facilitators were excellent role models”
- “Rebecca and _ are great facilitators and made a very comfortable experience”
- “The workshop is very effectively organized and facilitated”
ENVR 200 “Guest” Lecture Feedback (2012)
ENVR 200 is an extremely interactive course; during each weekly 3-hour class, we would host activities and guest speakers pertaining to different units. Due to this structure, myself and my co-instructor did no traditional teaching, but were each featured as a “guest” lecturer. On January 19th 2012, we held a class with the theme of “Climate Impacts”. For the first 1.5 hours, we held a mini-conference, where 2/3 of the students presented posters on “climate impacts” of various topics. Following this, I gave a 45 minute lecture on Climate Impacts on the Arctic Ocean. The class concluded with the last half hour spent on the logistics of upcoming projects.
On a weekly basis, the students of ENVR 200 were asked to fill out a feedback questionnaire about the class with three questions. The responses about the January 19th class included a number of positive mentions of my guest lecture, a few of which are displayed below:
At what moment this past week did you feel most engaged with ENVR 200? Why?
- I felt most engaged when Rebecca was giving her lecture because she seemed very genuine about her research.
- I really enjoyed the whole class-the poster session and Rebecca’s talk. It all felt very personable and informative.
- During poster presentation and Rebecca’s presentation, I learned a lot of new information. Made me reflect about how greatly climate change impacts the environment and further research up more information on climate change.
- During the polar climate change talk, it is interesting to know more about the change in polar climate and how data collected can be different from real life situation due to the duration of data processing.
At what moment this past week did you feel most distanced or confused about ENVR 200? Why?
- I didn’t really feel confused this past week. The majority of the class was the poster session. The guest lecturer was very clear and fun to listen to. I have no complaints.
What about ENVR 200 this past week surprised you the most? Why? (This could be something about your own reactions to what went on, or something that someone did, or anything else that occurs to you).
- The guest lecture from Rebecca. Very interesting stuff.
- Surprised at the rate the ice is melting! In a span of only thirty years, it has receded dramatically. I’ve learned that so much is going to be affected, thanks to Rebecca.
- The poster session was certainly much more interesting than I’ve imagined, especially in the sense of how informal it is. I was also surprised that Rebecca did a follow-up lecture/presentation on similar materials covered in my own poster, raising new points that I have not thought about while doing my own poster– it was pretty inspiring.
- Rebecca’s presentation on ice in the Arctic, definitely! Lot of facts that I didn’t know…
- How much I learned from Rebecca’s presentation. I thought I knew a lot about that subject already.
- Rebecca’s talk. I found it very interesting and I enjoyed hearing about her travels to the north.
EOSC 372 Guest Lecture Feedback (2010)
Following my guest lecture for EOSC 372, I obtained feedback from all three instructors of the course, as well as a fellow TA. Below is a compilation of all the comments I received.
- Speed and connection good until the last slide when students packed up
- The “cheat sheet” idea: you explained in class that it’s not an actual cheat sheet, could have just called it a study or summary sheet to avoid doing this
- Really liked how you brought in a slide from the first lecture of the course to show them how far they had come and to tied major domains of oceanography together
- Switching the projection of earth between a spherical earth and flat map caused some multiple choice question confusion, but this is not your fault/responsibility to go through the differences between the two projections this late in the course, should have been addressed earlier
- Liked the new order of slides compared to the lecture you had to work with
- In future: you may want to emphasize differences between productivity and production
- Productivity slide – there were some enhancers and reducers mixed up
- Your connection with the class went really well – sometimes this is the hardest thing
- Overall, really good job
- Really liked integration of “cheat sheet” idea into lecture
- Liked the humour you used in the lecture
- You seemed like a natural up there. Any University would be lucky to have you as a teacher
- Liked how you had ownership over the material when you said “I am giving you [the students] this “cheat sheet “to help you put large course concepts together”
- I liked that you were easy going and joked about your shaky hand when using the laser pointer, shows the students you are “real”
- Great enthusiasm!
- Only error I noticed was when you pointed to the Atlantic Ocean and said “Pacific Ocean”, but not a big deal
- Great job getting student interaction
- You did a great job!
To read my reflection on this endeavour, click here.
(Somewhat) Unsolicited Student Feedback (2009-2010)
For each session of EOSC 516 (except our final meeting), we ask for feedback at the end of the day, typically comprised of three simple questions: “What worked? What didn’t work? Any other comments?” Within these formative feedback responses I have received a handful of positive comments, summarized below. Note that for large group meetings, all of the Instructor, my fellow TA, and I are present; for the small group meetings, only I am present unless otherwise mentioned.
Fall 2010 semester:
- Following the first large group/class meeting: “You are doing a great job!”
- Following the 1st small group/practice lesson session, co-facilitated: “I think the speakers were great and Rebecca and the other TA did a great job!”, “Keep up the enthusiasm :)”.
- Following the 1st small group/practice lesson session, facilitated alone: “Friendly environment” was mentioned by two participants
- Following the 2nd small group/practice lesson session, facilitated alone: “Comfortable environment”, “The class is very good and Rebecca like always excellent”
- Following the 3rd small group/final practice lesson session, facilitated alone: “Well facilitated – well done Rebecca!”
- Following the 4th large group/final class meeting: “Thanks for your enthusiasm”, “It was a great experience. I like working/learning with/from all of you. Thank you for offering this class”, “The instructor, Rebecca, and the other TA set a nice tone for the class. I felt very comfortable. All the ice breakers encouraged us to get to know each other, which helped me to feel comfortable“.
Fall 2009 semester:
- Following the 2nd small group/practice lesson session: “Thanks for the quick and efficiently facilitated class!”
- Following the 3rd small group/final practice lesson session: “Lessons went by fast and efficiently (good flow)”, “Thanks for being a good facilitator”.
Formal Teaching Evaluations from EOSC 516 (2009-2010)
Fall 2009 semester:
The small group I facilitated in 2009, which consisted of only three students, was asked to fill out formal TA evaluations at the end of term. The number of evaluations is very small, but I understand the choice to have the small group evaluate me, given that I interacted with these three students twice as often as I did with the rest of the class. The evaluation consisted of five statements that were to be assigned a rating:
“The Teaching Assistant was:
- Well prepared
- Considerate of students
- Easily understood
- An effective instructor”
For each statement, all three students strongly agreed with these statements (marked 5 on a scale of 1-5). One additional comment was written by a student: “GREAT teaching assistant”.
Fall 2010 semester:
Similar to 2009, four students filled out formal TA evaluations at the end of term. For each of the five statements (unchanged from the year before) all four students strongly agreed. In addition, I received three comments which addressed both myself and my fellow TA: “They were GREAT!”, “They were both very helpful and enthusiastic. Good TAs. :)”, and “You guys are freaking amazing facilitators, I’m really impressed with everything you did this term. You made this class an absolutely amazing experience!”