Response to Student Feedback
HSTY2019 - Australia to 1888 (2005)
Unit Coordinator: Dr Kirsten Mckenzie
Student evaluation of ‘Australian to 1888’ was generally very positive. It received 83% ‘agree and strongly agree’ and a 10% ‘neutral’ response of overall satisfaction. A key goal of the teachers of ‘Australia to 1888’ was to demonstrate how exciting and surprising the history of colonial Australia can be. We were very pleased with the enthusiastic response of the students in this regard: "I expected Australian history to be boring", wrote one student, "but Kirsten made it quite the opposite." Several students raised the issue of bringing more narrative into the course. Although the focus of teaching history at this level should be on analysis rather than regurgitating facts, we will find ways to bring more overview lectures into the program in future years in order to address this concern. The major research essay proved both challenging and rewarding for students. Some students found devising their own question difficult, but most found the major essay (in the words of one student) "a fantastic source of research skills". In future years we will set aside more teaching time to guide students in devising their own question. Some students expressed interest in a field trip to highlight Sydney’s colonial heritage. This is something we have arranged in previous years and we will explore the possibilities of this the next time the course is taught.