If you want to run a successful business, then you need to know how to listen to your customers. This also applies to teaching and finding effective ways to gauge student interest in the course is critical. Class evaluations at the end of the semester are one way of listening to your students for effective strategies and areas of improvement for both the course and my instruction.
Class evaluations can be difficult to interpret and I try to use both responses to questions (usually on a scale of 1 to 5) as well as written comments. The way I personally evaluate myself from these reviews is to use the numerical responses to get a rough estimate of the areas in the course I need to focus on. Next I carefully read the student comments and separate each comment into:
- things I am doing right in class,
- things I am doing wrong in class, and
- things that are not important.
I keep a list of the key topics from 1) and 2) to review before I prepare another course so I can make sure I continue to utilize my effective traits as well as improve in as many other areas as I can.
Below is a list of my class evaluations so far. Clicking on the links under Course will lead you to the full student comments for that course. Clicking on the Instructor Effectiveness links will lead you to a more detailed review of questions the students responded to.
|# of Students
|Instructor Effectiveness (out of 5)
|EC 205 (Lab) Fundamentals of Economics Fall 09
|EC 205 (Lab) Fundamentals of Economics Spring 10
|EC 202 Principles of Macroeconomics Fall 10
|EC 202 Principles of Macroeconomics Spring 11
|EC 202 Principles of Macroeconomics Fall 11
|EC 202 Principles of Macroeconomics Spring 12
|EC 202 Principles of Macroeconomics Fall 12
|EC 495 Sports Economics Fall 12
|EC 351 Intro to Econometrics Spring 13
|EC Intro to Econometrics Summer I 14
Here are a few of the comments from students that I feel highlight my strengths as a teacher. I have added bold for emphasis:
“Robert has to be one of the most patient teachers I know and never displays anger towards the class even when they occasionally talk over him. He does a pretty good job of making examples relevant to college students and not just straight out of the text book. As for the weaknesses, I can’t think of any. Also, one of the coolest things about Robert is that he asks the class when a quiz should be due and what time is best for us. This really does show that he does try to help the students out.”
“Robert Dinterman was an amazing course instructor. He had a great sense of humor and always wanted us to understand the material in the most clear and concise manner. He was always willing to help students after class and any other time that a student had a question. His lab outlines were fantastic and were a great study aid when in preparation for the Exams. He always was willing to go over questions for as long as students needed until they fully grasped the concept. He was also extremely prompt in returning e-mails. I got sick a couple of times throughout the semester and he always wrote me back immediately and sent the lab outline so I never felt behind at all. Robert has no weaknesses in his teaching methods.”
“I liked the fact that Robert was very straight-forward about everything in the class. It may have made him sound worse than he really is, but he was real with the class and stuck by what he said, you do not get much of that with teachers here and I really respect him for that.”
“I really like him. He is a good young guy that uses analogies that are familiar to the students. He is a real cool guy and very nice. Having said that he does have trouble explaining things sometimes and it takes a couple of times for us to understand. Partly that can be because I’m not a economics major and had to take this for my minor so I wouldn’t get it right off hand. But I think with more experience he will be an amazing professor, because he already has the personality that makes him someone you WANT to listen to, just in time he will find better ways to explain harder subjects.”
I have also been reviewed by NC State faculty members in the department of Economics for my teaching performance. This give me the perspective of an experienced teacher. I have found faculty observations to be another great way to get input on how I can improve my teaching performance. Any problems that I may encounter in the classroom have been seen before by a faculty member and getting their input has been extremely beneficial to my development as a teacher so far.
- EC 205 Lab Observation on September 30, 2009.
- EC 205 Lab Observation on March 12, 2010 (second file here).