forall x, x provides feedback

Mon 03 Mar 2008 09:49 AM

Last week I received the student comment forms from my teaching last term. Once again, I asked students a number of specific questions about the textbook, forall x.*

The raw data looks like this:

Did the textbook explain matters clearly?

  yes         23

meh 5

no 1

Did the textbook explain matters in sufficient depth?

  yes         23

meh 3

no 3

Did the book provide enough practice problems of varying kind and difficulty?

  yes         20

meh 3

no 5

I've thrown out non-answers. 'Meh' indicates answers which are equivocal or guardedly positive. There were a couple of enthusiastic answers, which I originally recorded as 'very yes' and 'very no'; these have been assimilated into 'yes' and 'no'.

Students were divided on the relative merits of the textbook and lecture. Six said that textbook was a good supplement, but that lecture was required to clear up confusion. One reported being confused by lecture, but being saved by the book.

Eight students said that they would have liked more solutions to practice problems. Perhaps this is rationalized laziness, but I still think that the costs would probably outweigh the benefits: More solutions would make the book larger-- thus costlier and more unwieldy as a hardcopy. Students who want to check more of their work are welcome to come to either my or the TA's office hours. And there are certainly students who do not come to office hours but would benefit from doing so; I worry that putting more solutions in the book would just give them more of an excuse not to reach out for help.

* I documented results from an earlier term here.


from: Pete

Mon 03 Mar 2008 02:54 PM

For those students that want more practice problems and answers, what about putting together a short supplemental volume that consists only of problems and answers? Of course they could go elsewhere and do problems, but this avoids any complications arising from slightly different rule sets or even just confusion arising from different names for the same rules.