Response to Student Feedback
HSTY2683 Violence in Chinese History (2010)
Unit Coordinator: Professor Helen Dunstan
Well, the first thing to say is that it would have been good if more of you had come to do the evaluation. I am no different from you; if you don’t give me feedback, how will I ever improve? However, those who did attend were kind enough to give the unit of study an “overall satisfaction” score of 4.55. Collectively, you were least certain that the assessment had “allowed [you] to demonstrate what [you] had understood” (4.10) and that you could “see the relevance of this unit of study to [your] degree” (4.30); you were most certain that “group work/discussions” had “added to [your] understanding of the topics” that we studied (4.73) and that I had been “responsive to student feedback” (4.82).
Ideas for improvement included the very sensible suggestion that a reading about “Confucian social order” near the beginning of the semester would have provided valuable context for what followed. I agree, and will adopt this suggestion next time. Elsewhere, as usual, your comments reflected difference of perceptions and of practice among students. One of you opined that few students did the online readings (primarily secondary sources) that were intended to accompany the lectures; another asked for more secondary sources; a third described the online readings as “great-a good way to reinforce/augment lectures.” Several of you showed good understanding of what I was trying to achieve, as with the one who commented that my “style of teaching …ultimately made us do things on our own initiative” and that s/he had been able to "demonstrate' his/her own "originality" via the assessment. I was very happy to read that. I had better conclude, however, by showing a bit of that "responsive[ness] to student feedback." One of you admonished me: "Helen, you’re very professional, and that is not a bad thing, but try to chill out." Before next semester begins, I must remember to ask someone under the age of twenty-five what "chill out" means.