History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY3023 - Histories of Sexuality I (2005)
Unit Coordinator: Associate Professor Robert Aldrich
This unit was extremely satisfying to students – not a single student disagreed with the statement ‘Overall I was satisfied with the quality of this unit of study’.
Students liked the subject material, the seminar format and the ambiance of the class. ‘There should be more courses like this that challenge people’s accepted world-views and beliefs’, one student remarked. Another commented on the ‘very inclusive and comfortable environment’, and yet another referred to ‘this subject’s co-operative approach to learning’ as being ‘extremely effective’. ‘The cohesiveness of the class fostered a melting pot of ideas’. ‘An excellent course! Interesting, lively and fun’, another concluded.
Students were grateful that, because the unit had an enrolment of over thirty people, the lecturer had divided the class into two groups to provide the chance for more participation. Most were happy with the oral presentations that each student gave (even if there was a feeling that a few took up too much time, and one or two students admitted that they were not keen on public speaking). Everyone liked being able to design his or her own essay topic: ‘Open choice given for assignment allows for personal interest and understanding to be highlighted’.
There was a lot of reading for Histories of Sexuality, and students were sometimes challenged to decide exactly what they would select to read for each session from a list of works (rather than always having specific articles in a reading brick), but most thought that this gave an opportunity to pursue areas of interest and conceded that substantial reading was necessary in a seminar that included third- and fourth-year students, as well as postgraduates. (A couple of exchange students conceded that they had not realised that some background was necessary before undertaking the unit.) Feedback from the lecturer was considered helpful. Students were also pleased that they were surveyed about what themes would be treated in the companion course on the history of sexuality taught in second semester.
These encouraging evaluations suggest that this is a popular and successful course that both engages and challenges students, attracting students with a variety of historical interests, life experiences and personal points of view.