Response to Student Feedback
HSTY2626 - Fascism and Anti-Fascism (2009)
Unit Coordinator: Associate Professor Judith Keene
Tutors Dr Burkhard Jaehnicke and Mathew Oram.
This was a new course on a subject that had not been taught in the History Department for more than a decade. Overall, the response to Fascism & Anti-Fascism was very positive with 98% of the students surveyed indicating that they agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of this unit of study. Again, 93% surveyed indicated that the course had encouraged their thinking and enhanced a diversity of their ideas within and beyond the subject matter. A similar and pleasingly-high number of respondents (91%) found the teaching in the unit effective while 93% indicated that the assessment tasks allowed them to demonstrate what had been learnt.
It is a tribute to Burkhard and Mathew’s conscientiousness and commitment as tutors that the excellence of tutorial discussion and the general lively and comradely spirit that pervaded most tutorial meetings was commented on by a great many of the student respondents. Those who mentioned lectures had enjoyed them and were particularly interested in the use of documentary and contemporary film footage. Several students suggested that in the future this material should also be placed on WEB CT, however, copyright requirements preclude such a possibility. Students similarly noted that all three teachers were prompt in dealing with emails and that lecture power points and materials (though not film) used in lectures were placed quickly on WEB CT.
There were several comments that the weekly reading that was expected was too high. A couple of students noted, though, that it was appreciated that all the reading in the reading pack (which consisted of very recent articles and commentaries) were also available electronically from Fisher so that it was possible to keep up in the tutorials without needing to purchase a reading pack. Most students were strongly in favour of the structure of staggered submission dates and split assignments so that research essays and tutorial essays were due on dates spread through the course rather than on a single final date. As one student commented “ the split assessment structure was really good because it forced me to be more organized”. Student largely also were in favour of the requirement to spread research and tutorial essays across separate regional examples. Most students liked the very large range of set essay topics and that there were enough primary texts to enable students to borrow the volumes rather than having to use them in Fisher Special Reserve, though one student indicated that they would prefer to have primary texts always on hand in Special Reserve.
Overall, HSTY 2626 worked very well and certainly Judith, Burkhard and Matt enjoyed teaching it and the opportunity that it provided to engage with new writing and new historical approaches to fascism and anti-fascism in an environment in which almost all students were highly engaged with the material and with the very serious issues raised by the phenomenon of fascism and the responses elicited to it.