History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY 2672 Britain and the World (2008)
Unit Coordinator: Dr Cindy McCreery
This 2nd/3rd year lecture unit was taught for the first time in 2008. Student responses were very positive, which reflects, I think, student interest in the subject matter, the access to online primary sources as well as Sarah Jones’s fantastic work as tutor. I include the statistics from the USE surveys and a representative sample of student comments below. One student concern, that I and the tutor shared, was the extra work entailed by the formal submission of the major essay question as a separate assessment task. I will remove this the next time this unit is taught, in 2009. I also agree with another complaint, namely the large tutorial sizes. Although this is beyond my control, I will try to introduce more group exercises into tutorials to help alleviate this problem.
2008: 124 enrolled, 64 (or 52%) completed the survey.
Learning outcomes and expected standards were clear to me (89% Agree and Strongly Agree)
I received timely, constructive feedback from staff about my work in this unit (95% Agree and Strongly Agree)
Overall satisfaction with the quality of this unit of study (Agree and Strongly Agree: 90%)
‘staff passionate about the course/subject and about teaching’.
‘I thought Cindy was decidedly passionate about the period and its importance in shaping the modern history of the 20th C. It was also nice to see how she is undertaking her own research in the field.
Very well run!! Liked the commitment shown by the co-ordinator and tutor, it was good to have the recordings online too. Teachers were responsive as well.’
‘Both Cindy & Sarah knew their stuff & covered a vast range of topics well.’
Relevance to degree:
‘studying to become a history teacher, most of the topics in this unit I will be required to teach in schools e.g. Gallipoli’
‘I am doing Education and this unit has opened my eyes to Britain and their relationship with the world. Current school syllabus sees Australian history as unique – I hope I can bring material from this unit to my classrooms so students get larger picture.’
Online primary materials:
‘looking in depth at primary sources enabled me to engage to a greater degree with the context & content of the topic’.
Lectures (included audio files as well as powerpoints): ‘Very well taught. Cindy was v well organized. Provided clear notes on lecture & taped lectures. Sarah Jones (tutor) also excellent.’
‘The quality and organization of the lectures was excellent. Prof. McCreery is clearly an expert in her field and she conveyed her ideas/information very well to us. Cindy and Sarah had high expectations of us but they were willing to put in the time to give us any help we asked for (both one-on-one and collectively).
‘Cindy’s lectures have been the most concise and well structured lectures I have had in any of my history units so far’.
‘Always prompt in response – friendly and very approachable. Seemed always to have our interests at heart.’
Re: timely, constructive feedback: ‘Always – it made this unit very enjoyable and I never felt lost.’
Tutorials (given by Sarah Jones and Cindy McCreery)
‘I have never come across a tutor like Sarah who was so friendly and always willing to help’.
‘very open environment’
‘she encourages diverse perspectives and opinions’
‘One of the most supportive tutors I’ve had, if not, the most! Thanks Cindy : )’
‘Research essay was a really good assignment. Esp. having a draft essay: enabled students to get feedback on essay writing. Gave us a chance to improve.’
‘I’m a big fan of the Essay Draft idea. It gave me a chance to improve my work.’
‘I like how we could do our completely own essay few subjects allow you to do this.’
‘Essay engaged well with goals of engaging with primary sources’
Re: teaching in this unit of study helped me to learn effectively:
‘Particularly with the draft & final essay. This way we were given the opportunity to develop our skills rather than previous history subjects where you hand in an essay at the end of semester & that’s that.’
‘feedback on essays was very detailed & constructive’
‘Take home exam & 2 essays & presentation allowed me to show what I learned’
‘Best assessment program (draft essay, final essay & take home exam) of any course. I could finally apply feedback to my essay & understand what feedback meant.’
‘Cindy was very very helpful and responsive in giving feedback, and very generous with her time’
‘The draft essay & final essay were wonderful assessments. I love researching and reading up a lot on topics of my interest – enjoyed the freedom of subject of [the] essay.’
‘One of the best history subjects I have done at uni. Everything was well planned & organized – clear to understand.’
‘I feel this Unit of Study to be the best I’ve attended in the Department of History’
Things to work on for next time:
Large tutorial sizes: ‘class size far too big for tutorials’. The Department of History is working to address this problem, which numerous students (and staff!) have noted in the past few years.
I will work on developing more small group activities, particularly important given the very large class sizes.