Sunday 30 January 2011

Responses to Student Feedback - Pox and Plague (Noelle Gallagher)

Response to feedback for English 31051

Dear all,

I’ve now had a chance to look at your EAS student feedback forms for English 31051, and am pleased to have the opportunity to offer a few words in response.

I was pleased to discover that you unanimously found the feedback you received—both in my written responses to your presentations and essays, and in our one-on-one post-essay meetings—to be helpful and constructive. I was also happy to learn that many of you felt that the course challenged your reading skills; many of you also found the presentations and the seminar discussion materials useful, and I will pass on to Michael Powell your compliments on our class visit to Chetham’s Library.

The thorn, alas, in all of our sides this term was Blackboard: many of you expressed the view that—to quote one responded—“Blackboard was rubbish”—and I assure you, I share your frustrations!  I am considering other possible ways of disseminating study materials in the event of similar “technical difficulties” next year.

In regards to other possibilities for change and improvement, several of you expressed a desire for more background in Restoration and eighteenth-century cultural history.  This is a terrific point, and I plan to address it next year by assigning some historical background reading for the first week of the module.  A number of you also suggested weighting the reading more evenly between weeks: this too is a very good idea, and I’ll keep it in mind when I am putting together next year’s syllabus.

I’ve not reflected here on feedback that seemed to reflect the views of only one person—but many of these individual comments, too, were valid, and I’m grateful to you all for taking such time and care to fill out these forms.  They really are enormously useful in developing the course, and in improving my pedagogy.

Best of luck to you all in your final semester at Manchester, and in the future,

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