History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY2667 – Politics and Cultures of United States Imperialism (2007)
Unit Coordinator: Dr Clare Corbould
89% of students agreed that “overall I was satisfied with the quality of this unit of study,” 10% were neutral and 1% disagreed, for a mean of 4.15. Only 2% disagreed that “the teaching in this unit of study helped me to learn effectively,” with a mean of 4.03.
This course always provokes strong reactions in students. Here is a sample of their thoughts:
- On the one hand, “The lectures were surprisingly more neutral than I expected.” On the other, “throughout lectures, the U.S. was clearly and one-sidedly presented as a malevolent force in the world.”
“This has been an excellent and very informative and thought-provoking course. Both Clare and Ivan are very effective educators and very approachable.”
Most students appreciated the teaching, for example:
- “Consistent lecturer, logical progression, clear content.”
- “LOVED the lectures being online.”
- “Clare regularly advertised her office hours and seemed very receptive to problems.”
- “Great course, supported with terrific online material and Clare is the best lecturer I have ever had.”
- “Best history subject I’ve done in 3 years.”
Some students felt I spent too much time in lectures on the cultural aspects of US imperialism. I think this is a fair criticism and in future years I will balance this with more attention to politics. I feel that the course skips too quickly over the nineteenth century so in future incarnations that course will pay attention to both the politics and cultures of imperialism in that century as well as the twentieth.
In response to student feedback in 2005, I offered more guidance this time round in how to formulate an research question for essay-writing. Unfortunately this still isn’t enough, as many students said they found it too difficult to come up with a reasonable topic in time to hand in an essay proposal. In 2009 I will provide essay questions that follow on from tutorial topics, to give students a chance to develop oral tutorial discussions into more considered written work.