Comments on: Student evaluations of online courses: rife with hostility? http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Cheryl http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1085892 Fri, 07 Sep 2012 21:05:56 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1085892 I teach online and I would say I do not see harsher comments than I see in the evals from the courses I teach in person. However, I will say this, the ones who complain are the ones who feel they should have received an A and because they were getting an A-, I am the worse teacher in the world.

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By: Anne http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1035051 Tue, 12 Jun 2012 19:33:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1035051 If I could add my two cents, I’ve been teaching online history classes for the last three years. I love it but it was a steep learning curve. I did receive bad evaluations at the beginning (and still do from time to time) but I’ve included weekly video lectures, thanks to Camtasia and Vimeo, a weekly discussion and a Questions and Answer board. I field quite a few emails each day from students. Students have responded favorably to the videos and seem to be more engaged in the class because of them.

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By: Comradde PhysioProffe http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1034965 Tue, 12 Jun 2012 16:44:13 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1034965 This blogge suckes! Will this be on the test??

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By: Tigs http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1034353 Mon, 11 Jun 2012 21:11:54 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1034353 Perhaps the students don’t have the vocabulary to male a structural critique the subpar learning experience that they are getting and thus shunt it off onto the prof.

They know that this isn’t working, but can’t express why, or what it is that this does to them as students or as human beings— maybe it’s the neoliberalization of critique– we are conditioned to understand that learning (and being, actually) is simply a matter of individual good and bad choices. If they feel that they are making good choices and still there is something profoundly important missing, they assume it must be the instructor and respond with appropriate, if misdirected, fury.

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By: Lady Historian http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1034205 Mon, 11 Jun 2012 16:30:34 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1034205 not quite related to the issues of online course evals, but relevant in a broader sense. I wonder what this group has to say about it. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/06/11/essay-changes-may-most-threaten-traditional-higher-education

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By: Bad teacher (for just about everybody). « More or Less Bunk http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1034046 Mon, 11 Jun 2012 13:01:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1034046 [...] work for you, you’re still being treated like a number instead of a person. As Historiann explained over the weekend: [M]uch of the humor in the classroom–quotidian small talk before class starts, questions about a [...]

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By: Dr. Crazy http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1033607 Sun, 10 Jun 2012 23:22:08 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1033607 Coming to this very late because I was busy entertaining weekend guests. First, a caveat: I have taught online, and just this year vowed that I would not teach online again in the foreseeable future – or maybe ever, for lots of reasons, but mainly for 2 – 1) because I don’t have the tech support to do what I want to do without it being the equivalent of taking on a second job and 2) because I find that I am less engaged with the students in my courses that are online, and that makes me a less effective teacher.

That said: The evals for my online courses have tended have tended to trend downward from what they are in my F2F courses in terms of positive ratings, BUT a lot of that has to do with a low response rate (i.e., I get negative evaluations, probably about the same number of negative evals as I’d get in any other class, but a lower number of evaluations overall, meaning that students who are meh about the course or even students who are fairly positive about the course don’t bother doing an evaluation.

Let’s note: *ALL* of the evals at my institution are now done online, and have been for the length of time that I’ve taught online. So the issue isn’t evaluation delivery method – in fact, you’d think that online course evals for all would mean that there would be a *higher* participation rate for students in online courses, since they are already online for the course itself. I have gotten positive responses from students who’ve taken courses with me online – responses that indicated that I really did try to engage with students, and that I really did a good job of facilitating active student engagement (which is why I actually can’t afford to teach online when I don’t have the support I need to get that level of engagement without running myself into the ground).

As I see it, the problem with my evaluations in online courses has had most to do with the fact that most students tend not to think that they should bother doing them – since they’re just doing time in that course in the first place (most of my students take the courses that they “care” about F2F – or at least this is what students have reported to me – and they save the online format for courses that they want to “get out of the way.”) What this means for evaluations is that students who are really pissed off about a class will respond (just as I might write a nasty letter to a company that gives me poor service) while those who are satisfied just don’t bother (just as I don’t congratulate those businesses that give me good service). “Good service” is an expectation, and since that’s the expectation it doesn’t warrant a comment, and “bad service” warrants a complaint.

Where I’ve failed with my online courses (and I surely have) it’s that I don’t see my students in them as full people – because I don’t see them. And that makes *me* less committed to *them* – I honestly don’t think that they are, as a rule, any less committed to me or to my courses than my F2F students. The difference is that I am invested in forcing my F2F students to engage even if they aren’t into it in the beginning, where I just can’t be bothered with my online students in the same way. (Again, this is a failing in ME – not in them.) This is why I’m not well-suited to this format for teaching.

So, given all of that, I don’t think that the online format necessarily indicates that there can’t be a human relationship between instructor and student, and I worked really, really hard when I’ve taught online to try to make that happen in an online environment, including options for group work, synchronous chat, asynchronous full-class discussion, as well as me responding to each student individually. I really tried to give my students what my F2F students get, even though it required different pedagogy and different strategies for getting them there. The problem was, ultimately, me, though. I just don’t care enough about connecting in that format to make all of those efforts mean as much as they should have done.

Long story short: I *don’t* actually believe that online course evals will necessarily be lower than those in F2F courses, given the same number of respondents. I *do* believe, however, that a successful F2F instructor will not necessarily be a successful online instructor. And I also believe that most institutions that push online course delivery don’t offer instructors the support that they need to give students what they would easily get in a F2F environment.

I’m idealistic, surely, but I really do believe that most students – whether online or F2F – enroll in good faith, and many (most?) instructors, agree to teach any course – online or F2F – in good faith. It’s not that one format is “good” while another is “bad,” and it’s not that one sort of student (a traditional, full-time student, without exceptional work or family commitments) is “good” while another (non-traditional, working 30 or more hours a week in addition to taking their coursework) is “bad.” What I think is that there is not nearly enough tech and instructional design support for *good* online courses, and that there is not nearly enough institutional emphasis on giving both professors and students the tools that they need (whatever the format) to do the best possible work.

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By: quixote http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1033403 Sun, 10 Jun 2012 16:01:35 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1033403 LadyProf’s comment has given me one of those breathtaking “Aha!” moments.

“It’s like dancing.” That is, education is. Learning is.

That gets to the heart of where distance ed falls short. I’m NOT talking about the subject matter component. The emotional component of distance ed is like diagrams of dance steps on the screen. You practice them by yourself in the living room. If you work at it, you’ll learn the steps, but it’ll never feel like an actual dance.

It also makes clear why distance ed for advanced students works so much better than for beginners. An experienced dancer can do something with a diagram of steps, and doesn’t need the emotional feedback from others to learn to love the subject.

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1033365 Sun, 10 Jun 2012 14:50:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1033365 It probably makes a difference that the OU was not created to use the Internet, but uses the Internet to do things they would have done in other ways earlier. Distance learning can be rigorous and stimulating. But that’s not cheap to deliver, or easy to do…. I think it’s clear that the problem is not the medium, but how it’s used, and how itis sold.

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By: Matt_L http://www.historiann.com/2012/06/09/student-evaluations-of-online-courses-rife-with-hostility/comment-page-1/#comment-1033280 Sun, 10 Jun 2012 12:11:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18959#comment-1033280 RE: OU

I had a colleague who worked as full time faculty at OU. He really liked it. He was active in developing and running courses as well as doing cutting edge research in his field. Talking with him really changed my mind about what was -possible- in on-line and distance education. On-line education along the lines of OU has enormous potential. Unfortunately, this model will not work in the USA because on-line and distance education here is about profit, not education.

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