Response to Student Feedback
HSTY2629: Sex and Scandal (2011)
Unit Coordinators: Dr Frances Clarke and Associate Professor Penny Russell
USE surveys were administered last time we taught HSTY2629, so we did not administer the surveys again this year.
We did, however, seek informal feedback from our students, which suggested that they were happy with the changes that we had made to our reading list and course content.
When we’ve taught Sex and Scandal previously, we ended the course at the beginning of the 20th century. This time, we decided that it would be preferable to end in the 1950sthereby enabling students to perceive more clearly the contrast between pre-modern, Victorian, and modern scandals. To extend our time frame, we took out several topics that we’d previously covered and added in new lectures and readings that took us up to the Kinsey era. Our informal conversations with students suggested that these final two weeks proved to be some of the most compelling ones for students.
We made several additional changes to our syllabus. First, we added a new colonial scandal this time (involving the use of torture against a free colored woman in Trinidad), which many students found compelling.
In addition, we substituted one of the readings for our week on white slavery scandals, which worked less well (bit too dry). We’ll consider this piece again next time we teach.
One of the issues raised by students in relation to these changes is that we are now have perhaps too little on colonial scandals and those taking place in Australia. This is an issue we’ll discuss next time we revise our syllabus.
The other major change this year involved holding individual meetings with students to discuss their essay proposals. In a course as large as this one (with several hundred students), this was a logistical challenge. But it was also extremely useful, giving students the benefit of one-on-one consultations.