The Awards: 14 (part 2)

I appreciate the feedback you give, and I read all of your comments carefully and think about them deeply. Then, I have a stiff drink and write this blog post. (OK, I read a funny article about evaluations first.)

I’ve got so many comments, I had to split them up into two posts. I’ve already done part 1. Here we go with part 2, for Winter term, 2016. All three of my courses were awarded Honour Roll with Distinction (in the Department, 6 undergraduate courses were placed on the Honour Roll, and 18 on the Honour Roll with Distinction--congrats!). Thanks!

I copy-n-paste your responses from the PDF summary I get (soooo much easier than typing in all your hand-written scribbles in previous years), and I don’t correct spelling or grammar. Well, not unless someone's paying me to correct spelling or grammar. Careful: someone may have written some sarcastic replies below.

PSYCO 104:
“With the reading the whole text book, it gets very overwhelming and almost impossible”
(Well, there’s your problem. In this course, I only assigned 9 chapters (plus the appendix), not all 17. No wonder it was almost impossible.)

“Very thorough material coverage, and easy to follow. The instructor is obviously good at what he does :)”
(Thanks :-)

“U rock lopelman”
(Oh, come on! You spelled it wrong! It’s y-o-u, not U. Also, it’s L-o-e-p-e-l-m-a-n-n.)

“Kirsten was an awesome instructor! He kept me engaged with his humour, while still exhibiting his knowledge. He was born to do this job. Very impressed.”
(Thanks, I’ll pass your comments along to Kirsten.)

“This instructor does not cover much stuff in the textbook during the class notes, but his exam has 50% knowledge that comes from the book. That is unfair to some students who dont purchase the expersive textbook. Also, he does not give any practice questions for midterm and final. I have no ideas what will be on the test. Unbelievable instructor.”
(So, “unbelievable” in a bad way? Yeah, the textbook is expensive. You could buy it used. I also put a copy in the reserve reading room for you--that’s free. I actually do expect students to read the textbook; it is a “required” reading. So I can understand that, not having the textbook, you have no idea what will be on the exam.)

“The proff is good at explaining the concept and is quite hilarious sometimes but his exams are hard and you have to have a throughly understood the concept to be able to apply but if you looking for an A it might be hard to get”
(What? An ‘A’ might be hard to get? What is this university coming to?)

“The instructor was very condescending in his lectures which decreased my motivation for the class.”
(That is a pretty serious accusation. I would agree that my responses to students’ comments on this blog are condescending--duh. But in my lectures? Except perhaps when I am deconstructing pseudoscience, I do not show patronizing superiority. Instead of a vague claim, I challenge you to support that with clear and specific evidence.)

“Also the instructor looked like a comedian who was bombing for the majority of the semester as most of his jokes received silence.”
“The instructor is unbelievable funny and expands on concepts well!”
“The prof was really funny and made lectures more interesting.”
“I believe that the course was interesting and the instructor was great and funny and made re learning easy.”
“he was funny, charming, and obviously knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Psychology, and his lectures were informative and entertaining.”
“Loved the course and the Prof! The jokes and different things during lectures such as memory tests or videos in class was great!”
“I loved all of his jokes (most of which are "dad" jokes- but good ones).”
“Appreciated the enthusiasm, videos, interesting anecdotes and jokes.”
“Dr. Loepelmann was an amazing professor and made a lot of jokes to keep you interested in the material, I would highly recommend him.”
(So...the silence must mean that everyone was laughing internally. Also, I’m not a professor.)

“Posting powerpoint notes would help”
(Would help what? Help make it easier for you? Try Googling “desirable difficulty.” Oh here, just read this Psychology Today article. Now I’ve turned it into a teachable moment.)

“Please make the midterms cover all the material.”
(OK, so you want 1,000 questions on the midterms and a 10,000-question final exam? Agreed.)

“If the required reading from the textbook were made clearer that would be helpful, so we know which information is important for the exams.”
(Well, there is a list of “Required Readings” on the syllabus. Or do you mean that the textbook is unclear? If it’s the latter, I’ll just make sure they rewrite the textbook.)

“Not providing any practice exams on which students can base their expectations and tailor their studying is a cruel joke. It should be mandatory for every professor to provide at least one practice exam per test for every course. It is ridiculous to expect students to magically know how a test is going to be presented and study appropriately for it without any outside knowledge on the format, or style of potential questions, of a midterm or final exam.”
(Yes, it IS a cruel joke. I cackle all the way back to my haunted lair, and then I caper about gleefully some more. Of course, I do tell you about the format of the exam, both in the syllabus and in class. And I tell you that the clicker questions are representative of the questions on the exams. There are also those thousands of practice questions on the McGraw-Hill Connect website. And lastly, by the final exam, I hope you would have seen the two midterms, and gotten some gist of what the questions are like from that.)

“The professor seems very robotic in his teaching, as though he is reading off of a teleprompter. Sometimes it is hilarious in its rigidity, sometimes it is mindbogglingly boring. It would immensely improve the professors teaching if he introduced some spontaneity into his lectures.”
(OK, next semester, no PowerPoints! In fact, no lectures! I’m just gonna talk about whatever enters my head. Kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing. Should be high-larious. Oh, but the exams are also gonna be like that, too. Buckle up!)

“Maybe allow for questions during cl****time
* Inappropriate words were found and removed from this response.”
(Er, wow. You really don’t like clickers, do you?)

“It would be nice if you had more than 1 viewing of the exams once they were marked.”
(You can view your exam during the TA’s office hours, too.)

“Don't give me fill in the blanks online. I payed for the course and you should give me the course that I payed for, regardless if I can come to class or not. Punishing students for getting pneumonia and skipping class isn't helping me come to class, it just stressed me out.”
(Your paid for the course, so if you get pneumonia, I should come to your house and bring you soup. And lecture notes. Or maybe you should ask someone else in class--there were almost 400 other students. Or should just ask me for the lecture notes and I’ll give them to you.)

“Dr. Loepelmann's notes for the course were very informative and clear. He used information from the textbook, and I believe that his exams were fair for what he taught us. He was very interesting to listen to, and I enjoyed going to his lectures”

“I do not believe that the final should be cumulative because it seems ridiculous because we have many other exams to study for and much of the material would have already been tested on the other two midterms so I believe it's a poor choice and adds stress for students who are already stressed out enough”
(After you graduate and have become a doctor, or lawyer, or engineer, do you think that your patients, or clients, or customers won’t ask very much of you? Will your boss worry about all the stress that you’re feeling? I could make the final exam non-cumulative. Heck, I could do away with the final completely. Heck, I could do without exams altogether--no, wait, I can’t. GFC policy says so. Nevermind.)

“Prof is so great! Super funny, engaging, and keeps the matter interesting. Would love to grab a beer & converse w/him outside class (in a very very "youre interesting and I think our conversation will be interesting" kind of way)”
(That’s the only way I would want it to be. I’m a married man.)

“If this doesn't work out he should narrate Children's movies.”
(If that’s a job offer, I accept!)

PSYCO 282:
“This guy is a beauty! one of the better pysch profs I've ever had. Clear notes and engages us in class by leaving blanks to fill in. Keeps it interesting with funny videos and jokes are corny but appreciated. GIVE THIS GUY AN AWARD”
(OK, OK, tone it down. Someone is going to suspect something, mom.)

“The notes for this course weren't made available to us unless we came to class since they were filled in the blanks. And it was hard when you'd miss a class or you'd just miss a section just because you looked down for a second and by the time you realize you missed it, he turned to the next slide. I feel he should make the notes available (blanks all filled in) after each class so we have them to study for. Especially because it can be hard and causes immense anxiety having to ask someone beside you for multiple blanks.”
(As I explained in the first class, I leave time at the end of class for students to come up and get any words they missed here and there.)

“The lights being low in the class was frustrating and made it difficult to focus, read, write.”
(This was the worst thing about teaching this class. There was an almost even split between those who wanted all the lights off and those who wanted the lights on. I realize that if you’re writing notes on paper you need more light, and if you’re using a laptop you prefer less light. Turning on all lights also washes out the slides and makes them harder to read. My plan is to talk to somebody about rewiring the lights to turn off more in the first couple of rows, but leaving the rest on. Thanks for your feedback on this.)

“Overall, a pretty effective class, the couple of complaints I has is that one time when I emailed the proff, I was asking for clarification on how that first part of the selfmanagement project should be completed, and he replied back with saying he can't mark it before hand. I felt less comfortable to talk to him after that. I also wish that proff would give some type of reminder's to complete assignments during class, when classes get really busy, even when I am organized and have all my due dates written out, they can sometimes slip my mind.”
(Some students send me email with their answers to the self-management project, asking, “Is this right?” In all fairness to the other 299 students in the class, I cannot “pre-mark” your answers, telling you what’s right and what’s wrong. If I do that for you, then I’m obligated to do that for everyone else, too. Not only do I not have time for that, but everyone will just keep sending me their answers until they’re perfect, which makes the assignment meaningless. And I DO give you reminders: I set up a Google Calendar (and an eClass calendar) with all the assignments. It will send you an email or text (your choice) before it’s due. But you have to subscribe to the calendar for that to work. You’re welcome.)

“I really loved that you (Prof. Loepelmann) showed us examples of products and services that could be used to apply behaviour modification principles. I personally bought the Kitchen Safe and it has helped me immensely to decrease how often i perform certain behaviours.”
(Argh. I knew I should sell some of those Kitchen Safes in class.”

“So I waited till the end of class, to fill in this survey even though you gave us 15 minutes to do it. Just to see how it really turns out. So on Monday, which is today, the course ended with half a video, you simply turned off the projector without any thing to say, like as in "we will finish the video next class" or "see you next class". I observed that you were upset that there are people leaving class early, which might have given you the feeling that students are not interested and were disrespectful. But the fact is, people still sitting in that class till the end, either are interested in the video or is respecting you. Simply, turning it off without saying anything feels like you dont give a sh*t because the surveys are in. Just because some students disrespect you does not make it reasonable to disrespect everyone in your class. Every class would have students needing to leave early because they might have another class which starts with a quiz or a test, or some just have to leave because of personal reasons. Of course, there are some that leave because they just dont care. But as a professor, you are required to keep a better attitude. Its a part of being professional.”
(Hmm, cagey of you. Look, as soon as your surveys are done, I don’t suddenly turn into a jackass. I wanted to show as much of the video as I could, trying to fit it all in (it sucks if I have to split it up between classes). I went up to the last possible second, and then turned it off. Usually, I would say something like “We’ll stop there for today” but most of the class was already on the way out. If this bothers you so much--and makes me appear unprofessional--I’ll make it a point to have a wrap-up comment.)

“Please pick me for W.A.Y.S. Blog comments :)”
(No. Stop asking.)

“For the self management assignment, I found it difficult to figure out a good reward system to use.”
(What about a chocolate-chip cookie? Everyone likes chocolate-chip cookies.)

“Give us practice exams.”
(But in the textbook, there are over 400 practice test questions, and over 700 multiple-choice quiz questions--not to mention the 240 additional multiple-choice questions that I put up on eClass. There are only 50 multiple choice questions on each midterm and 120 on the final. You want more practice questions?)

“Dr. Loepelmann is able to take something very complicated and simplify it so that anyone can understand it and then slowly build it back up to allow you to understand it clearly even in its most complex form. His approach to teaching is obviously very finessed and professional. Everything was so organized and planned that at times it even felt like we were laughing at his jokes on cue.
The only thing I did not like is that he would take about 10 minutes from about 70% of our classes to do iClicker questions which were not worth any marks. They were pretty easy and covered material that we had just learned moments ago. This might be more effective if he asked questions about the class prior to refresh our memory rather than the current class if he insists on keeping his iClicker portion of class. Even with the time set aside for those questions, he still covered everything we needed to without rushing so it wasn't a huge deal.”
(Laughing on cue? I’d call it antecedents-behaviour-consequences. The thing about applying active learning is that it does take away from valuable class time. But if cutting down lecturing and doing something else instead helps some students learn some of the material better, I’m willing to do that.)

“The best professor I've ever had. He kept the material interesting, even the drier subjects, and he answered any questions I needed answered in a very clear and respectful manner. I would take another class with him in a heartbeat. I felt the mid-terms were fair and the self-modification assignment was beneficial for this class as well as my own life. The class reached far past merely elarning information for tests and actually helped my own health and life.”
“One of the best Psychology professors I've had over the years. Use of iClicker was very helpful and I wish more professors would use this technology so they might be able to better gauge exactly where the class is sitting in terms of understanding the course material and even more it is helpful for students to gauge exactly how well we understand the course material.”
“Keep doing what you're doing Loepelmann. It is refreshing to have an instructor who is enthusiastic in their lectures and enjoys talking about them. The iclickers are also a great way to interact with a class as large as this one and can really help clear up confusion on some of the finer details covered in the lecture. In many ways, I think a lot of other instructors should probably sit in and perhaps take a lesson from your style since it is both enjoyable and a well structured learning environment. The tests are incredibly fair as well, focusing on how to differentiate and apply the concepts we've covered in class, when and where not to use em as well as how. This is a much preferred test format (in my opinion) to straight up memorizing tiny details from various sections. Keep up the good work.”
“I took PSYCO 104 with Dr. Loepelmann and loved the class and of course, the instructor. I've decided to take PSYCO 282 with him again and it really has all the features of a great course: 1. Very interesting topics, even for students with minimum Psychology knowledge. 2. Simple content yet require a good to great understanding to score high in the exam. 3. Great assignment project - applies concepts from the course and research. 4. The textbook is very interesting with so many examples that are easy to understand. 5. integration of videos and iclicker participation to make the class less dull (mental break?) 6. Learning objectives are SO GREAT. Students know exactly what they should focus on and expect in an exam. (Unlike so many other courses) 7. THE BEST INSTRUCTOR EVER.”
“I really enjoyed this class, the professor cared about his students' success and placed an effort into simplifying the course material and making the class a fun and enjoyable class.”
“I HAD SO MUCH FUN IN THIS CLASS. I would miss it soooooo much. It's highly applicable and I literally use it in so many situations. I was able to cope well in this class even though it's a 200 level class, and I'm in my first year. The project was amazing and useful and I benefited from it. A lot. The prof explains things so clearly, and those fill in the blank notes are great, I wish all my classes could have them! He's fair in marking.”
“Dr. Loepelmann is a great professor! He was very enthusiastic and intriguing while lecturing. I enjoyed the material taught and how there were blanks missing, this made it somewhat easier to pay attention in class. Also, I believe the self-management project was a good addition to the workload because it helped me learn how to apply material learned in this class. I didn't like how the textbook readings were a requirement, but the textbook was a good resource for additional explanations and examples if there were any uncertainties.”
“Congratulations Dr. Loepelmann, you singlehandedly dethroned the current "top psych professor and class" in my books. I have no words but praise, this class provided me with learning tools in the most enjoyable and engaging manner. I have never tried to access you outside of the lecture, so I cannot really comment on your availability outside of class. Although I'm sure there would be no issues, if I did need help outside of class. It was a pleasure, I'd take more of your classes if I could. May the force be with you and your future classes.”
(Aw, you guys! Thanks! Also, I’m not a professor.)

PSYCO 494:
“This course has a greater workload compares to other 400 level psychology courses. It contains two assignments (one in-field assignment and a research paper with a min. of 12 pages), midterm, and final exam!”
“The work is hard, but it ensures that you get a full understanding of the material. As much as I disliked the way I had to study for the exams and also the amount of work the papers took, it definitely helped me learned the material in a way I have not been required to through the rest of my University education.”
(I agree with both of you.)

“The paper for the course was due on the last day of class and it's very easy to procrastinate since it seems like forever away until the day actually comes. Maybe have a midpoint deadline where you have to have half of your paper done by that date or something like that to motivate us to start it earlier.”
(Learning to avoid procrastination is an important skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life. You really need to work on that. Try Mindtools’ Beating Procrastination page. Based on your feedback--and what’s been happening--I am going to do things differently in the coming term, requiring students to formally submit their term paper topic to me halfway through the term.)

Why aren’t you studying?


Anonymous said...

Delightful. "I have trouble managing my own time and responsibilities so could you manage them for me please? Kthanks."

Love reading these.

Anastasia Kazakevich said...

Looks like you get two types of comments - ones that are nice and ones that are WRONG.

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