ENGL/AMER 10171 Academic Development, Semester 1, 2010-11
This module featured a substantially revamped lecture series for the first time this year, and it is evident from student feedback that some further work needs to be done on the shape of the lectures. Much of this feedback was inaccurate - one complaint that lectures were not relevant to single honours students as the majority of lecturers were from American Studies was very wide of the mark, for example (three lecturers were from American Studies). Nevertheless, some of the student suggestions have given a good idea of the way to go in tailoring the lectures for next year's running of the module.
However, if responses to the lectures were occasionally disappointed, and disappointing, the response to seminars was overwhelmingly very favourable. One student writes, "I think I have become better at carrying out a closer analysis of a text. I find myself thinking more deeply and making more links..." Another says that a positive thing was: "Having my seminar led by an engaging and interesting person who has pushed me to think," while another says "My seminar leader's insight was often inspiring." Still another (from a different group) remarks: "The seminars were great to open up to different readings." On feedback to written work, one student writes, "I found the feedback excellent; constructive and helpful." These selected remarks are typical of dozens of responses across the whole cohort, reflecting a widespread sense of satisfaction with the seminars and all the seminar leaders. This has translated into a general satisfaction with the course. "The course has tested my way of interpreting texts," one student writes, "as I have encountered the views of others and their approaches to reading, which has forced me to assess my own responses." Another student referred to "A complete overhaul of my attitudes of possible prejudices towards reading."
It is clear, in other words, that the module is not simply pleasing students by confirming them in their attitudes on arrival at the University of Manchester, but opening them up to new ways of thinking, which, in the majority of cases, is greatly appreciated.
Overall, this feedback provides a strong basis on which to remodel the module, in some quite straightforward ways, for its next running in 2011-12.
- David Matthews
Course Unit Director