History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY1045 - Modern European History (2006)
Unit Coordinator: Professor Robert Aldrich
With 315 students, this was a large unit that had as its goals an overview of late modern European history from the Enlightenment to the First World War, an introduction to historical approaches and historical methodology, and training in such skills as the use of primary source documents, independent research, and the presentation of arguments in written and oral form.
The overall satisfaction given by respondents to the USE survey at the end of the semester was 3.89 of a maximum of 5.0, a very favourable result for a unit of this nature. An overwhelming number of students felt that ‘this unit of study helped me to learn effectively’, that it ‘helped me to develop valuable generic attributes’, that staff were responsive and provided constructive feedback, and that it is relevant to their degree. One of the USE scores on which the unit rated highest (3.95) was that it ‘encouraged/stimulated my thinking and helped to develop an enhanced diversity of ideas, attitudes and approaches to and beyond the subject matter’. The positive appraisal of the course is reflected in increased enrolment, to 365 students, in 2007.
HSTY 1045 is taught each year, with somewhat varying topics. In response to some student concern about the effectiveness of traditional-style tutorials, in 2007, the course is experimenting with a new type of tutorial. The tutorials have been redesigned as workshops. Each week a particular skill is highlighted – how to use primary material, how to read secondary material, how to use maps, how to use images, how to compile a bibliography, how to write an essay, how to understand the links between ideology and history, what is historiography. Each of these topics is connected in the tutorial with a particular historical event or theme, such as the Enlightenment, the French Revolution or the standard of living in Victorian England.
Also in 2007, in response to student requests, the lectures and outlines for the lectures (as well as other course materials) are being placed on a WebCT site.