History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY2665 - Festivals and Faith (2008)
Unit Coordinator: Dr Julie Ann Smith
A response group of 53% of the enrolment for his unit returned an overall satisfaction level of 86%. Students’ comments indicated that the overall organization of the unit was “well-planned”, the Outline and Reader “practical” and “thorough”, and the provision of lecture notes online was “valuable”. It was perhaps a little puzzling that, given the title of the unit, its focus on religious history seems to have surprised some students.
This particular survey elicited very few written, qualitative responses from students, though those who did provide written comments were, in the main, positive and constructive. In general, 95% of students rated feedback on essays as constructive and assignments returned quickly. Many students found the assignments stimulating, and recognized them as opportunities to develop research skills and to engage with a variety of ideas. However, there were some students who could not relate the assignments to the purpose of the course. Many aspects of medieval history offer opportunities to engage with an unfamiliar cultural world. In this unit students are encouraged to make such cultural engagements with the spiritual and intellectual ferment that characterized the Central Middle Ages. In future I shall take time in class to explain the purpose and nature of the assessments. The expectation that students should develop extensive bibliographies for assignments presented difficulties for some respondents. This requirement was instituted to emphasise to students the level of commitment they should be making to their studies. In future the requirements will be reduced, though the emphasis on the value of broadly researched work will be retained.