History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY 2676 Australia and the World (2009)
Unit Coordinator: Dr James Curran
This was the second time that this unit had been offered, following on from first semester in 2008. In their feedback on the course, 98% of students recorded a high satisfaction with the quality of this unit of study. In terms of relevance of this course to their degree, students polled recorded a response of 93%, while high ratings of satisfaction were also recorded for staff responsiveness and the ability of the course to stimulate student’s thinking about ideas and approaches beyond the subject matter.
Nevertheless students also provided constructive feedback about ways the course could be improved. A key element of the feedback from 2008 was to provide an earlier opportunity for students to receive feedback on their progress. Accordingly, this year students were asked to do an historiographical exercise (due in Week 5) that compared the aims and approaches of two significant historians of Australian foreign relations, and a number of students were very positive about this exercise as a means of launching them into the course and its themes. In 2009 students also expressed a greater preference for more online content – a point that will be incorporated into planning for the next time that the course is offered in 2011. Indeed it is envisaged that more primary documents will be placed on Web CT, and lectures will be taped via the lectopia system.
In 2008 some students also requested that lecture summaries be posted on-line – and this was done on Web CT this years. Students appeared to appreciate this – especially in preparing for the exam.
Some other students commented that it might be useful to have the coordinator’s second semester course – HSTY 2676 Australia: Politics and Nation – under the belt before taking on Ausrtalia and the World, and this too will be trialed when these courses return in 2011. More importantly, some students felt that the course rushed too quickly through the period 1901-1945, and more attention will be paid to this period in future courses. Indeed in 2011 far more time will be spent on the evolution of Australia’s thinking about the world from the mid-nineteenth century to the federation period, meaning that the post World War Two period will most likely occupy only the latter third of the course.
Specific Comments included:
- ‘Loved this course…has prompted me to pursue a career in government/politics’.
- ‘The lectures were broad and informative, but an absolutely abysmal use of PowerPoint’.
- ‘The lecturing was interesting and entertaining, guest lectures were also great’.
- ‘The assessments allowed for development of key skills’.
- ‘The quality of lectures and subject materials provided interest in the subject and guest lectures (Kim Beazley) provided a good chance to get profound insights into the subject’
- ‘Too many additional readings’.
- ‘The syllabus clearly outlined the learning outcomes and expected standards’.
- ‘This is a good, hard course’.
- ‘Very satisfied. I really enjoyed learning from the lectures especially. They were clear and helpful’
- ‘I really appreciated the historiography task at the beginning of semester’.