Surveying Perspectives

Sample graph

As the semester winds down, I have been thinking about my students’ responses to my course topic. Death and dying are universal facts, but our various responses to them are far from universal. This week I asked them to complete a short, anonymous survey that summarized their individual responses to the different topics we covered and conversations we had.

To Poll or Not to Poll

Screenshot of a sample poll from the website SurveyMonkey

*The final unit of my RHE 309K: Rhetoric of Animal Rights course features an oral presentation based around a multimedia advocacy project that each student must design. As the major part of the evaluation, I create and use online polls (using tools such as SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics) that the students complete in real time after every presentation. Each poll asks four trait-centered questions, followed by a holistic evaluation, allowing for a variety of data combinations to see how students respond to each other’s work.

Mid-Term Survey on Instructor Performance

Screenshot of a survey from the website Survey Monkey

Teaching is an art and teachers, like other artists, run the risk of valuing their performance too highly and overlooking their faults and mistakes. But as the true artist must ever abhor complacency, and tirelessly seek new angles on his or her work to spot frailities that can be avoided or improved in future, so the true teacher must resist the allure of self-sufficiency. 


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