forall x feedback, gold edition

Mon 23 Feb 2009 09:53 AM

Today I got the student comment forms from my teaching last Fall. Again I asked students about the textbook I wrote for intro logic.*

The raw data looks like this:

Did the textbook explain matters clearly?

  yes         69

meh 6

no 3

Did the textbook explain matters in sufficient depth?

  yes         67

meh 5

no 3

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

  yes         59

meh 8

no 5

5 students said that they couldn't say, because they really didn't use the book.

I've thrown out non-answers. 'Meh' indicates answers which are equivocal or guarded.

Some students found the textbook to be a substitute for lecture; a student can "use the text for classes missed & learn everything." For one, this made lecture entirely redundant: "I honestly found that there were a good amount of days I could skip, because all information was in the text." Others thought that the material could be "learned better in class." For at least one student, the lecture was essential: "It's all about the lectures. If I miss[ed] one I would have felt behind." This seems entirely natural to me, since some people are more careful readers than listeners and v.v.

15 students wished there were more solutions in the back of the book. Some insisted that every practice problem should have a solution in the back. That will not happen, because printed solutions can be used to short circuit the possibility of learning. More than one student has come into my office hours with no idea how to do the practice problems but having copied down all of the answers into their notebook. So perhaps I should add more practice problems altogether, along with more solutions.

Some fragments:

One student complained that the material was "arbitrary" and "hard to understand", but said that they'd never opened the textbook or visited the TAs office hours. Well, duh.

One student commented that the "Textbook was a 2D P.D. Magnus." I think that this was supposed to be a positive thing, but for me the idea falls flat.

* Results from earlier semesters are here and here