Spring 2013 course evaluation comments

These are all written comments received on the S13 course evaluations.  I’m posting these publicly for several reasons:
  • To reassure students that I actually do read them.
  • To remind myself of things I might want to consider doing differently.
  • To allow students see the range of reactions of other students to the same course.
  • To allow next year’s students to anticipate some of the issues that might have bothered last year’s students.

Comments on instruction

“I feel like time is wasted waiting for students to try to respond to simple questions in class, especially when the answer is clearly written in the text.  This makes the material as a whole more rushed.  Also, I feel like the derivations done in class are useless when they are clearly written out in the text.  The real world examples and relations to equations are much more useful during class time.” “Lectures were extremely clear and well organized.  Occasionally you seemed to rush through the material.  Overall, though, you presented the material exceptionally well.” “Instructor was good about being vocal and thorough.  Unfortunate only chalkboard (and sometimes overhead) were used. Would prefer more technology use, i.e., PowerPoint.” “I felt that the grading of the midterm exam was a little harsh.  Other than that, no problems.” “This class gives very thorough understanding of the atmospheric radiation.” “Too much detail makes it hard to catch the big picture at the get go. Very prompt. Speaks very clear. Grateful for taking this class.” “Good lectures, sometimes difficult to follow topic changes but reading book clarifies.” “Lectures were useful but it was necessary to read the textbook to fill in the gaps.” “Could have used more visual aids (satellite images to dissect?), sometimes trailed off + was hard to hear.” “Professor generally was on top of the subject.  Occasionally difficult to contact out of class but was always prompt with email so not an issue.” “Lecture instruction rarely differs from the book, would be nice to see more than the one explanation. Few opportunities to check progress in student learning until exams. Knew material well, occasionally too well and over-assumed student understanding.” “Dr. Petty is a very effective teacher.  His lectures are always well-organized and relevant.  I’ve learned a good deal in this class.  My only quibble is with the use of leading questions to stimulate thought during lecture.  Our class was very quiet and most questions led to awkward silence.”

Comments on the course

“While the projects offer a good insight as to the material covered in the course, the amount that they count toward the grade is more appropriate for a course on python than a course in radiation.” “Projects are very useful as we learning python.  LaTeX is glitchy for first time users and takes up too much time.  I would suggest shortening # of experiments per project or let students make their own, as this was overkill (Streamer especially).” “About HWs.  I think they are more mathematics especially in the second part of the textbook while I prefer combine math with physics or principles learned in the course.For projects.  They are really good for us.  But I think the most valuable part is to think about ideas ourselves (kind of difficult) then write codes rather than just coding by your instruction.” “Not a lot of time was given to complete a couple of the homework assignments. I loved the projects.” “Homework grading seemed arbitrary. Exam too short.  Projects were very helpful in learning material/applications.  Book was good. Grading weight seemed okay.” “It would be helpful if homework problems were reflected in exam questions.” “Excellent text book. Excellent lectures overall.” “Book is very helpful.” “The workload was reasonable. 2/3 projects was reasonable. The textbook was extremely helpful.  The exams were tricky and the grading seemed a little harsh.” “Significant amount of work (more than I was expecting). Homeworks were long.  Projects were difficult (learning three new programs along the way didn’t help). Maybe 1 out of 3 projects for the future?” “Any complaints I have about this course essentially boil down to another course taking all my time and not giving me enough to focus on this course as much as I’d have liked.” “Problems from book were often less than relevant to instruction, either too simple or too difficult.” “Workload is about what I might expect for this course. I wish the projects were worth slightly less than they are, but that’s not a strong preference.”

Other comments

“First half of semester seemed to be rushed.  Helpful to integrate computer visual aids, presentations in lectures.” “Don’t give students who want to turn in projects after the final exam a break – it realy makes it unfair to those of us who got it in on/before the final.” “Great course w/ important material.  Useful projects dealing w/ python and LaTeX.  Difficult exams.” “First time in grad school I’ve felt left behind.  Not sure if this is from material or instructor.”