Course: Electrical Fundamentals and Applications (required core course)
Students: 42 | Sophomores and juniors | non-engineering majors
Interest level: minimum
• Email- announcements and deadlines
• Shared Google Drive- course material
• Typewritten skeleton notes + document camera + chalkboard
• Grades were sent manually to students 3 times throughout the semester. They can request their grade at any time.
• Continued using entry/exit slips
• Continued using in-class practice problems
Official mid-semester student feedback/reaction (selected)
• "Sometimes we are rushed through in-class calculations."
• "Keep walking around and having us struggle through some of the problems on our own."
- EE301 is a very dense and fast-paced course that only allows for little time for in-class calculations. The new skeleton notes included in-class practice problems with boxed final answers. Occasionally, we don't get to spend as much time as needed on these problems but students were encouraged to keep working on them after class. Filled notes were frequently uploaded to the Shared Google Drive for students to check their work.
• "[I suggest] a brief review of each lesson to get our minds on the subject matter."
- This proved to be a very valuable feedback. I started adding a review space at the top of the skeleton notes. After reviewing the HW assignments, students were asked to use the review space to write down questions or to doodle/scribble one thing they remember from the previous lesson. I would spend 2-5 minutes answering questions and briefly reviewing the previous lesson.
• "The [skeleton] notes are done in a way that I can stay engaged yet also pay attention to more than writing down notes."
Official end-of-semester student feedback (selected)
• "[stop] mixing [skeleton notes] with homework."
- For short lessons I included the HW assignments at the end of the skeleton notes to allow us to work on them in class. Mixing the skeleton notes with the HW problems seems to confuse at least one student. I started separating them as two different handouts starting Fall 2015.
• "Wait a little bit longer when [instructor] asks a question."
- I'm aware of this problem and actively working on it. It's a mix between fear of not finishing the lesson on time and inability to recognize the time needed for most students to finish a specific problem. I understand the importance of in-class practice problems for such a technical problem-based course and will continue to improve how I implement that.
Personal end-of-semester questionnaire
It was given to the students during the very last class while we were working on a course-review problem set. It was in the form of an exit slip and students were asked whether they liked, disliked, or had neutral feelings about (1) the skeleton notes, (2) having a weekly quiz, and (3) using Google Drive for course material. The statistical pie charts are on this page.
• Same-department colleague #1:
- "I like the handouts. The class seems well-engaged and willing to ask questions and participate."
- "After you ask a question, sometimes it feels like you are moving on before giving them the chance to answer."
- "You appear to have good rapport with your class."
• Same-department colleague #2:
- "Suggest an outline on the board about what will be covered in class."
- "Suggest showing the circuits on [skeleton notes] on [document camera] instead of just talking about it."
- The skeleton notes are here to stay. I plan on using them in core classes of minimum interest levels.
- I believe I managed to provide a good structure for this course. I wanted the students to clearly understand the learning objectives and the expectations. Future offerings of this course will include informal questionnaires instead of the official mid-semester evaluations.
- Google Drive was OK but I am still seeking a better option for online access of course material. I will start using this website + Google Sheets next fall.
The good stuff
"By far the best teacher I have ever had. I recommend he continue doing what he has been doing."
"He is the best professor I have ever had at the academy by far."
"Instructor made it my favorite class this semester."
"Most well-taught technical course. Actually understandable."
"I really like the handouts. They help keep my notes organized and make it easier to study."
"Everything was well laid out in both the notes and homework. I always knew the expectations and what I was supposed to learn."
"Continue dressing snazzy."