This is the first instance of what I expect to be a continuing practice: being transparent with course evaluations, as well as publicly reflecting on what went well and poorly in a given course. Thankfully, the students were gentle with me this time:
Summary Course Evaluation Numbers (13 out of 15 responded)
Overall Course Content: 7 rated Excellent; 5 rated Good; 1 rated Satisfactory
Overall Instructor: 11 rated Excellent; 2 rated Good
Student Course Evaluation Comments (Uncensored)
|What did you like about the course and/or instructor? Please give examples.||What aspects of the course and/or the instructor’s instructional methods should be improved? Please give examples.||Please list additional comments and/or suggestions.|
|I liked the way he always had solutions to our questions/problems or he gave us new information that caused us to think. He made this class pleasant and it wasn’t a constant bore. The course material could be somewhat challenging to grasp (at least for me) but the subject matter was definitely at the level that it needed to be.|
|The topics for the major assignments were very broad as to allow students to pick their own field of interest to write about. This resulted in intellectual fervor and natural critical thought. I also enjoyed sitting down with the instructor, one-on-one to discuss my pieces.|
|I really loved that Professor Bedsole interacted with his students and genuinely cared about how they were doing both academically and personally. He taught the course material very well.||I did not notice anything that I genuinely struggled with in the class. I enjoyed basically everything.||This was a great class.|
|Professor Bedsole is a nice man and a great teacher.|
|The instructor was extremely experienced in the subject having written several published articles. He went over everything in class several times to make sure concepts were learned by students.||Grading major works could be a little less strict.||Great experience.|
|The course and instructor taught me valuable writing skills that I will use from now on in my essays/research papers.||Great class! I instructor taught me how to incorporate different aspects into my writing like the audience.|
|I liked how he made a schedule for the entire term so we knew when things are due and are assigned.||I think we went off topic a few times not leaving us enough time to work on what we said we were going to.|
|My instructor was very approachable and it made it easier to ask him questions when I had. I liked how he would do 1 on 1 meetings before turning in essays.||Nothing|
|I really appreciate the way that he gave each student feedback after he’d grade our papers. It showed how much he cares and wants us to better for the next time.||There aren’t many things, but maybe he could make the reading quizzes a little harder to better weed out the students who refused to do it.|
|He always explains material and assignment expectations well. I am never confused about what to do. He makes the class interactive where the students are able to talk and voice opinions.||N/A||Very good teacher to have for one of first college classes. The course was challenging but I felt comfortable and not overwhelmed|
|This course forced me to do a LOT of writing, but it gave me good practice. It also taught me the significance of multiple drafts in the writing process. Overall, I enjoyed having the class.||Some of the classroom exercises felt a little redundant.|
|Mr. Bedsole is a great teacher/person and I have recommended him to all my friends who need to take ENC 1102. I like how he clearly shows and teaches you exactly what you need to learn, and then makes it VERY clear what he is looking for you to accomplish for the major assignments. Furthermore, even though he has certain criteria for assignments, he still manages to provide a lot of leeway for creativity for the student.||Less 40-50 page readings in one night, please.|
|Mr. Bedsole seemed to show mastery of the subject, he answered any question the students had without any hesitation. He listened to us and respected our opinions, like our scoring guide for assignments was based off both what we expected and what he expected.||The only thing I didn’t like is that I had to pay almost $200 for books I hardly opened.|
This was the second time I taught this strand of ENC 1102; the first time was in Spring, 2013. This was the first time I had taught it in a six-week intensive format, however, so I simplified it somewhat, removing assignments I thought were redundant, and shortening the reading list. This is the second half of the required first-year writing sequence at FSU, and many of the students had not taken ENC 1101, so this was their first initiation into the writing program, and in some cases, into the university at large. Though many of the students were unsure what their major would be, I was not aware that any of them planned to major in English or EWM (Editing, Writing, and Media, within the English department). These students, in short, were fulfilling a requirement.
It was a small, very quiet class. Though there were only fifteen students (computer writing classrooms cap at 20), students seemed very reluctant to talk in large discussion scenarios–more reluctant, even, than what is typical in FYC courses. I was fortunate to have Amanda Brooks, a first-year TA and intern, helping us for a good portion of the course (She was younger, and perhaps more relatable. The first day of class, I invited students to call me by my first name, and got a lot of blank looks. So I told them to call me Mr. Bedsole if it seemed less weird–and they all did!) They seemed to open up to her a bit more easily at times.
The work they did was smart, though. They easily picked up the rhetorical situation language, and did nice work with the second research essay in terms of incorporating sources. Their work with the third multimodal project was solid, for the most part, as well. This is a difficult project in some ways, because it sometimes requires them to invent a rhetorical situation instead of responding to one, which is somewhat artificial. They seem to like working with different modes, however.
I always enjoy the fourth essay in which they reflect on writing. This time, though, Amanda and I worked together to give them some creative options for their responses, in hopes of avoiding the tired old metanoia narratives, which often seem custom built to inflate my ego for the sake of a grade: “In the olden days, I hated writing. However, this class showed me the light…”
I experimented with drafting, responding, and revising in collaborative writing environments for this first time in this course. I had kind of hoped students would try platforms like Draft, but all of them, to a student, chose Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). It gave the writing process a recursive feel, which I think is true to real life, though it did not, I think, encourage a lot of page formatting. I think students were also confused, at times, about who could see what–for instance, that I could see all comments on a draft when I was added to it. One poor student said something about “BS-ing” the first part of an essay, which she probably would not have done had she known I was reading.
Overall, the course went smoothly. I feel pretty good about the work I did here, with one major exception: I did not do a good job of showcasing their work during and after the course. I intended to add their essays to a page on the website (with their permission) but it proved too time-consuming, since most of them submitted their work via Google Drive, and I would have had to get individual permission for each project in order to link to it. But I do not like telling students I will do something, and then failing to do it. I will continue to try, in the future, to generate, or at least mimic, real-life writing situations so that they can see the real work their writing does in the world.