Formative Evaluation #1, January 30, 1996
From Prof. Morrison:|
You are encouraged to send your comments and concerns about the course at
any time through
Patches, the Horizon Dog. You may send such comments anonymously by not
telling Patches your
e-mail address. I will respond to such comments on this page. In
addition, periodically I will ask
you at the end of class for anonymous comments about your concerns and
questions. This page
includes a summary of such comments with my response.
Below is a summary of your concerns and my response. There
were a number of comments that helped my feel good quotient (e.g., I am
very excited about the class; This class is very enjoyable and
informative; I am excited about learning new things). The purpose of the
exercise, however, was to surface your concerns and address them
directly. We will conduct this exercise every two weeks or so to help me
keep on track and respond to anxieties created by a different
I look forward to seeing you in class Monday. We are off to a good start.
- It appears that the assumption is that students are more
proficient than many really are. We need a beginner class. We need more
lab time. We need more "step by step" demonstration in the lab (e.g., how
to download email messages to our word processing program). A lot of what
you say goes over my head. It would be good to have OIT sheets that would
help us navigate the Web.
There is a range of technological proficiency in the class. I suspect
that as you get more experience in using email and search engines,
anxiety will dissipate. Working in teams and using the lab (with a lab
instructor) will also help you up the hill. Take advantage of the OIT
classes. They are first rate. I have taken some 10-13 classes over the
past 12 months. Remind me on Monday to have everyone stand and take the
following oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will ask a question if anyone
in the class says something that I do not understand. So help me God."
Remember, there are no stupid questions. You must help me communicate
better. BTW, I will take some time at the end of class Monday to
demonstrate how to download email messages. After class, go to the lab
(or home) and try it. Post any questions to edsp287 list. Note: I did not
schedule every class in the lab because every class does not require your
hands-on effort (e.g., last Monday and this coming Monday).
- I am not absolutely positive about the objectives or your
expectations of the class.
I intend to abide by those stated in the syllabus. I will ask you for
anonymous feedback every two weeks or so; let me know if I am off track.
- We may be focusing too much on technology issues and not enough on
Technology is a major driving force; other issues are also important. We
will select the ones for the issue analysis papers this coming Monday.
You and your team will select the specific issue; I (and other colleagues
in the class) will help define the issue for each team.
- I cannot invest more than two hours per day, and I am not efficient
my time using search engines. I am concerned about the amount of time the
project will take. You give us so much valuable, useful information that
I just can't catch it all.
The reason for three person teams for one issue analysis paper is to
share resources and to lessen writing time, for I realize that you may
need additional time to become comfortable and proficient with email and
with the Web (and, later, with PowerPoint). It is important to "catch it
all." That is why we must have the oath publically said and adhered to.
- Do we need to keep all of the messages you send us?
I would save all directions that affect assignments. You probably should
have a folder for email between you and team colleagues on your project
and one or more folders that relate to your project.
- I am wondering what your focus will be next fall in the
I will send my draft syllabus to EDSP287 list. I would appreciate your
comment and critique of the syllabus, which will be discussed this Friday
in the faculty meeting.
- I am concerned that we REALLY haven't addressed the social
leadrship. I feel that there is a lot of inside info I am not getting.
We are addressing six issues challenging education. Within each issue
analysis paper there is a section on the issue background. This section,
plus the section on driving forces, constitutes and analysis of the
social context of the issue. An important component of leadership is
skill in analyzing an important issue, including its context and its
implications, and formulating action plans.
- Thank you for being so flexible with regards to due dates. It is
You are welcome. The objective is to do first rate work. Sometimes this
takes more time that initially projected.
- The critiques are helpful, but it's difficult to "digest" them
all. I don't always agree with my teammates' ideas, and that makes it
hard to edit/rewrite.
You do not have to agree with the critique. But you should think about
it, and review your work to see if you should change it. This is your
- I had problems evaluation other people's work and receiving a
grade. I don't think
that this form of critique is beneficial and I hope that you will
consider not doing this
next year. Critiques are helpful but I don't feel that 20% of my grade
be awareded on how well I critique.
I require critiques because (a) critiques are helpful to your colleagues
in their review of their draft and (b) writing a critique is a useful
professional skill, one that can distinguish you as you move up the
professional latter. Just as the role of teacher is changing to guide and
critic, the role of administrator is changing to incorporate mentor,
which includes guiding and critiquing.
Below are three comments that were posted to Patches after Monday's
class. Underlying the comments is a sense of anger and frustration that I
would have been completely unaware of without the vehicle of anonyous
notes via Patches. I appreciate the time and energy that the commenters
put into sending these notes; I hope that my responses to them (which
must be shared with other members of the class since I cannot respond to
the commenters directly) make sense. Note that in some instances I need
more information to understand the comment.
- I enjoyed the presentations yesterday. they were very professional. I was
very dismayed at how Wildean was singled out in her group. It is quite
apparent that you favor some students over others. This is not necessary
in a college setting. I will not go as far as to say that it was racial
but some outside observer may construed it as such. I looked at the paper
that was supposed to be an example of a good paper and they did not even
have APA style correct. You\ need to be careful when you hold other
students work up as an example. I was by the end of this class mad and
filled with anxiety. I hope that this is not indicative of the fall class.
I need your help to understand the comment about my singling out Wiladean
in conjunction with the statement that I favor some students over others.
Please send me a note via Patches as to my specific behavior that
prompted your concern.
With respect to my comment that the paper that Wiladean, Holly, and
Melanie wrote as being an exemplar paper, I can only say that it was
excellent. The references were in APA style; more importantly, the
writing was crisp, to the point, and effective. I see nothing
inappropriate about making this statement. And I don't understand why
this comment made you angry and anxious. If you (or anyone) can help me
understant the sentiment underlying the comment, please send me a note
either directly or through Patches. [Note: I did make some comments for
revision on their paper, which I trust they will do and send the
revisions to KC or Adam. But the revisons are mostly cosmetic; this is an
I resent getting feedback on the abstracts so late in the semester. I also
resent working so hard on the issue analysis paper and not getting a good
grade. This has made what could have been a meaningful experience one
that I resent. You should not wait to the last class to give grades and
expect revisions. We do have other classes besides yours. Some people
got no feedback at all. The way this was handled was sloppy and
I understand your unhappiness at getting feedback on the abstracts so
late in the semester. This was not my initial intention; I was engaged in
critiquing the abstracts when I had the heart attack (let me quickly say
that this was not a cause and effect situation!). By the time I had
recuperated sufficiently to resume working, you and your colleagues were
well into developing the issue analysis papers; the abstracts were not
critical to this work. I allowed the press of other work that had built
up during the severe part of my illness to take precedence over
critiquing the abstracts. But I realize that this has resulted in
additional work at the end of the semester (if you elect(ed) to revise in
light of my critique). Moreover, I can also see where having no feedback
on a requirement in the early part of the semester could have made you
anxious vis-a-vis how your work was going.
(BTW, the purpose of allowing you to make revisions in your work is in
keeping with the notion that revision is a learning activity that will
assist you in developing your writing skills. However, as stated above
and in previous posts, although revision is encouraged, it is optional.)
I don't understand the comment about some students not getting feedback,
unless this refers to my not returning on Monday some abstracts and issue
analysis paper critiques. I sent notes to the authors of missing
abstracts and critiques requesting that they resend them to me via email;
I lost the abstracts somewhere between the fileserver and the Web page
and some critiques did not have the author's name either on the written
critique or on the paper itself. This is being sorted out.
Finally, with respect to grades, the lowest grade on any activity this
semester is P-. P is defined by the graduate school as an evaluation that
the work is that normally expected of graduate students. H is for
exceptional work. Therefore, no one has received a "bad grade" this
semester. Revisions provide an opportunity to improve your work to the
exceptional category; however, making the revison is no guarantee that
you will receive a higher grade. The guarantee is that I will reevaluate
At the beginning of the semester, you asked students in edsp287 to
delay leaving class early in order to critique a presentation that had no
connection to the class syllabus. Due to inclement weather, several
students requested to leave class early for safety reasons. You requested
an exact time for the early departures to have critiques to you. Students
honored your request for immediate feedback. This courtesy has not been
returned to the class all semester. Your initial request for a critique,
set a tone of "this course is for the professor, not the students". That
tone has permeated throughout the entire semester. Additionally, if you
are going to have a technology component to your class, you need to be
aware (working knowledge) of both the Apple and the IBM systems. You have
been very adamant regarding the use of technology over paper; however, at
the last moment, you placed a paper copy of a document (that could have
been helpful) in the student's boxes, then you seemed shocked that
students had not read it. MIXED SIGNALS!
The reason that I gave the presentation (which was a rehearsal for a
speech that I was to give to undergraduate students at a Georgia college)
was that it focused on the future of work in the US (with implications
for college student career development). It was an environmental scan of
the driving forces that would affect how we would live and work in the
21st century and was therefore consonent with our work at that time (you
were engaged in writing scanning abstracts). Moreover, it allowed me to
demonstrate the use of PowerPoint in making presentations, making the
point that this is what you would be doing at the conclusion of the
semester. I frankly had no idea that making the presentation and
requesting your critique would set a tone that this course is for the
professor, not the students. Do you advise that I not give such
presentations in the future (i.e., presentations that I am scheduled to
I don't understand the comment that I need to have a working knowledge of
both Apple and IBM if I am going to have a technology component to my
classes. (I do, incidently, have a IBM 386 on my desk; KC and Adam have
the Mac on their desk. However, I work a lot at their desk, and my own
machine is a Mac.) My interpretation of the implications of this comment
is that I should schedule a formal session with students who have IBM
compatible machines on how to use Smallwood Lab machines in their work.
BTW, by having Microsoft Office on the Smallwood Lab machines, the
translation between IBM Microsoft and Mac Microsoft is a nonproblem. (Of
course, if students using IBM compatibles do not have Microsoft Office,
we will need to conduct the IBM-to-Mac-to-IBM translation training.)
With respect to the handout on making presentations, I was not shocked
when I found out that you had not read it; I did not get the handout in
mailboxes until the previous Friday. Perhaps I should have given out only
the one-page evaluation check-sheet for the benefit of critics. (Or,
better, have remembered to give out the package a week or so earlier.)
Maybe the lesson to be learned here is not to give out material unless it
can be used well in advance of the activity it is designed for.
Continue to send me notes via Patches of your concerns; I will respond.
- I must say that this has been an unusual semester for me. I really must
say that the class intent was great but i didn't get as much as I had
hoped from the class. This wasn't your fault of course. It's just that
being computer or technologically weak, I had to struggle . I really
wanted to learn how to do power point but I'm afraid I didn't get much of
an opportunity to do that. Yes, my gfroup and I worked on it together but
with the rush to get everything together I didn't get a chance to perfect
it. I do hope thogh that the lab will be open during the summer so I can
come and play around with it.
There were times when I felt that the instructor or the person(s) in
charge of the class made some real deep assumptiions about where people
were in their technology. Sadly to say, it took away the interest to some
of us who didn't have the backgroud knowledge or software to keep up .
The idea to pair us with someone who knew more was a good idea but even
then they didn't really have the time to show us what they were doing or
explain why they were doing it. Like I said before, it's no one's error
but my own. Maybe i should have been more assertive and demanded to know
the what, why, and how of computer technology but with the paste of the class, i did all that I could just to stay up. But anyway, Have a great
summer and I hope you recuperate fully this summer.
Many thanks for your comment. You, of course, were not alone in not being
equipped beforehand with knowing how to use e-mail, Internet search
engines, or PowerPoint. Few students came into the class skilled in these
tools. And, of course, we are not born with them; they are learned.
My interpretation of your comment is that you had little time given a
pretty heavily academic load to learn new tools and to keep up with your
substantive assignments. This is a pressure on you that I can do little
to control. I suspect, however, that you are far more competent with the
productivity tools that you expressed above. If you are in the MSA
program, you will continue to develop your command of these tools in the
technology module. Note in the course description that in this module
students will not be in teams for project presentations, but will be
responsible for individual projects: design, implementation, and
presentation (paper, Web, and PowerPoint formats). Your idea to use the
lab over the summer is a good one. The more you use the tools, the more
command you will have with them, and the more productive you will be.