Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What college students like - and hate - about classes

I passed out surveys to many of my students on the first day of class to ask what they like - and hate - about college classes.
I should have done this at the end of the fall semester, but the idea just occurred to me. So I plunged ahead.
Below is what some students said they hate most about classes:
The pressure that you are always being graded.
Deadlines. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to get used to them in this field.
Lectures that aren't interactive.
Hand cramps and writers bumps! Oh, and super long lectures read from a PowerPoint.
...teachers who don't attempt to link what they teach to practical examples.
Pop quizzes and assigned readings.
Boring lectures.
Busy work.
Busy work and time wasted.
Structure is great, but less about teaching and more about practical experience is preferred.
THE BUREAUCRACY OF IT ALL.
When teachers expect you to know everything.
That was from students in an intermediate class called News & Feature Reporting.

Trying to keep students from snoozing in Introduction to Mass Communication class.

Here's what students in a class called International Communication said they hated most:
Monotone lectures that drag on and on.
Having to do group projects and having a bad group.
Exams.
I do not like that we are not given a lot of freedom on assignments.
The reading that is mindless. To read a chapter just to get tested on is pointless because it is then forgotten.
I hate classes that are only lecture-based. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and apply the information I learn outside of the classroom.
Tests.
Routine.
I hate when your grades are only based on exams.
One obnoxious person talking and answering all the questions.
I hate dry, boring lectures that are hard to relate to.
Stressful exams and group projects.
Group projects.
Tests and large group projects.
Waking up in the morning!
Busy work.
Boringness, tests that suck. Useless facts, forced to learn. Teachers who just teach to teach - uninterested.
Tests. I like more hands-on stuff.
Attending class.
There's nothing I can do about that last complaint, but I do listen to students. And while ripping apart and redoing the syllabi for all the classes I teach this semester, I incorporated some of what students told me in the surveys.

Here are the four classes and one independent study I teach this semester (click for syllabi):
Introduction to Mass Communication
Magazine Writing
News & Feature Reporting
International Communication
Advanced Photojournalism (independent study)

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