Response to Student Feedback
HSTY1044 - Twentieth Century Politics and Culture (2008)
Unit Coordinator: Associate Professor Judith Keene
In the course evaluation, 122 students completed the evaluation out of the 371 students who were enrolled. Of these, 73% found the course satisfying and felt that the outcomes had been what they expected. 70% further agreed that the course encouraged their thinking.
The individual comments were largely favourable and constructive in their response to the course; the tutors were commended for their efforts in tutorial groups to manage effective and stimulating discussions. Emma Dortins, Sandra Kostner, Margaret Poulos and Emma Bonham were all mentioned individually and overall the students were very happy with the quality of teaching.
Students enjoyed Judith Keene’s lectures. There were several requests that the lecture overheads should be put on Web CT BEFORE the lecture. Some students enjoyed the two lectures in close proximity while others found the scheduling a stretch of the concentration and indicated that they preferred lectures on separate days of the week.
Judith Keene's reply: It is always hard to please everyone in a very large course. A propos of lecture outlines before the lecture, part of the task as a serious student in a first year course is to learn to listen and make effective lecture notes. To be given them before the lecture would preclude students developing this skill. The best strategy, in my opinion, is to make noted during the lecture and then check them later on the outlines of web ct to see what you may have missed. In relation to the scheduling, the need to have a large lectures theatre has a strong influence on when the lectures are scheduled. It is also necessary to have time slots in proximity in order to screen a movie.
A handful of students complained about the variety of topics covered. Some enjoyed the new areas of cultural history; others who had been only exposed previously to traditional political history found it unusual to be reading about private life and dead bodies. Two students queried the study of the very small picture in the Italian fascism tutorial and several queried the role of gender as a category of historical analysis. There was mention also of the perennial problem which is that some students worry that they have not enough prior knowledge of the twentieth century.
Judith Keene's reply: The purpose of the course is to introduce students to new ideas and new approaches within the historical discipline. This includes political history as well as cultural history, social history and the history of private life. Women and children make up a significant part of the population and deserve attention along with men and other players in the public arena.
Most students enjoyed the essay questions and found the assessment tasks allowed them to demonstrate what they had learned through the course. 62% of students agreed that they engaged with and were stimulated by the learning activities involved.
With the large number of students enrolled in this course and the increasingly larger numbers in tutorials, the teachers in the class were heartened that most of the comments were favourable. And there was noting but praise for the attentiveness and level of care shown by class teachers as recorded in their availability and readiness to assist students when the latter needed help or information.