I Hate It When This Happens

Okay, so maybe I was wrong about the good folks at Texas A&M. Maybe I can convince the powers that be here at Mason that we need to implement the A&M reward system retroactive to last semester. If so, the result of my student evaluations for Lying About the Past would almost certainly pay for my summer vacation. Why did I write that last post?

On a more serious note, given the minor controversy that has swirled around my hoax course, I thought that posting a few of the student comments on the end of semester evaluations might be worthwhile. And, for the record, that course recorded my first 5.0 rating on a 5 point scale in 13 years of undergraduate teaching. Here’s what the students who wrote comments had to say:

  • I learned a lot from the class because of how hands-on it was. The research was all relevant and the end product was all self-determined. Mills directed our activity in that he guided us instead of dictating as in most classes, and our ability to make our own decisions otherwise was great.
  • The course pushed me, which is always good. I learned to think critically about the impact of media past and present on our daily lives and views.
  • The creation of the hoax was the most effective tool for learning because it let us have fun with something we do on a regular basis.
  • You really taught us to look at sources and give them a serious eye. Without this class I wouldn’t have learned how to blog or look at every source for credibility.
  • Best class I ever took here.
  • Having to research really helped me learn history and also having to invent every aspect of the project was great.
  • This course was so fun–wonderfully hands-on and a great learning opportunity. It was so hard creating history instead of just studying and it really helped me figure out how hoaxes are created.
  • This was the best class I’ve ever taken. The readings were great. The project turned out to be a lot of fun, regardless of the amount of stress it created.
  • The analytical approach to studying history and various sources has helped me in other classes. Studying how not to go about it was extremely helpful.

5 thoughts on “I Hate It When This Happens

  1. Sterling Fluharty

    Could the A&M reward system be adapted? What if it functioned as merit pay? Could the influence of grading inflation be eliminated by limiting the reward eligibility to instructors of freshmen surveys who graded with a set bell curve?

  2. Mills Post author

    I think there are definitely ways to reward good teaching. As I hope I made plain in my earlier post, I just don’t think they are susceptible to a metric derived from the end of semester evaluations alone as A&M has done.

  3. Misha

    If you ask me from a students point of view, and from what my friends told me about the class. It is activities like this that allow students to become more intrested in the topic. Not to mention if the class is enjoyable students will be more willing to do the work. And if its out of the ordinary, then its a class that students will remember and recommend to others. And if that feeling is not good enough for professors, knowing that their class sparked a massive student interest … well then I question why they are teaching in the first place.

  4. Pingback: Things like that really, really, really annoy me « Collaborative Learning

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