The Awards: 17

I am once again honoured to have been awarded Teaching Honour Roll with Distinction for all three of my Winter, 2017 term courses, alongside 16 of my colleagues. Thank you to the students in my classes who took the time to offer their feedback--good, bad, or ugly. Aside from clicking in answer to the questions, what does the feedback I get look like? Below are some actual statements, concerns, and critiques from actual students. Warning! If you are allergic to sarcastic responses from instructors, turn back now, or you’ll puff up like a balloon and have to take large doses of antihistamines.

PSYCO 104: Basic Psychological Proceses

Note: As a pilot project in this course, I assigned an Open Educational Resource (i.e., free) textbook. I asked explicitly for detailed feedback on this OER.

the online text book is not fair. it's so contradicting to lecture notes which is very annoying
(Hmm, do I go with “life is not fair”? I tried to point out the contradictions as much as I could, and I asked you to let me know if you found more, so that I could explain them to you. If you are annoyed by the fact that psychologists don’t agree on everything, well, are YOU going to be disappointed with every PSYCO course you take in the future.)

The textbook was very useful and provided alternate research to what was taught in class which helped solidify concepts.
The textbook explains concepts in a way that is extremely similar to the class notes... this isn't a bad thing, but I think that it would be helpful if we had a textbook that explained concepts from a different approach/perspective than the class notes.
The textbook was good and correlated with the lectures well.
The textbook was really good. The free version available online was not an inconvenience at all, no discrepancies between the course material learned during the lectures and the readings in the book.
(Okay, now you’re just messing with me, right? Do you see what I have to deal with? The textbook is simultaneously very dissimilar/dissimilar enough/not dissimilar enough. Were you all reading the same textbook?)

Vis a vis the textbook, although I prefer printed text to online resources, I think it was very appropriate and a huge relief to my budget. It was helpful for studying for exams, even though it was not the best written textbook.
(I agree with you about the quality of the textbook; I will not be using it again unless it improves substantially.)

The textbook was great! Free things are always good things
(I dunno. I can think of some free things I wouldn’t like. Chlamydia. Hailstones. All-you-can-eat free lobster. I don’t like lobster.)

Very enthusiastic which I appreciated. Almost a little too animated for a university course at times.
(Too animated? I’ll have you know I was designed and animated by the creative geniuses at Pixar!)

This instructor was absolutely fantastic. I meant every bubble I filled in, he has done a tremendous job.
This instructor is great, no lie. Made me be excited about coming to his classes to listen to him. He clearly is enthusiastic and wants us to succeed.
(Thanks, and thanks.)

The prof was at times annoying
(What did I do that was annoying? Was it making this sound?)

The free online textbook was a huge bonus. Made taking notes, which were also online, easy. Really accessible. The Professor made the class interesting and fun. His jokes made the class enjoyable and he related it to the course material.
The course was a bit boring. I enjoyed learning about all the previous research that was conducted to learn more about psychology. Loepelmann is sweet
(Again, I’m a bit confused: the course is boring, but I’m sweet?)

Text book was mediocre, the fact that the professor doesn't provide any practice midterms or finals or makes his notes available makes one question if he is the right individual to teach a first year course.
(Hee! Let me try now: The fact that you need practice midterms or finals makes one question if you are the right individual to be taking a university course. (Side note: no practice exams are available for any introductory psychology courses.) And what do you mean, I don’t make my notes available? They were on my website, like they always are.)

If anyone is overqualified for teaching an intro undergrad psych course, it's Dr. Loepelmann. One of the most organised, prepared, and enthusiastic profs I've ever had.
I wont need to take any more courses with this professor but i will be going out of my way to take more classes with him. He's the best Prof ive ever had the pleasure of having
 (Thanks, and thanks!)

Testing half out of the textbook is unfair as there was a lot of information in the text that was not covered in class and it made it confusing as to what was going to be on the test. The readings in the textbook should accompany and further what was learned in class rather than force the student to learn completely new material on their own. I know for other classes there was a lot more practice questions available and could be accessed through a code from the textbook. This would be a great aid in learning the material, while there were clicker questions for the class just having like 30 questions for the entire material was not enough.
I enjoyed the way he structured the course. It was fair to split the tests 50/50 amongst lecture and textbook. Looking at the textbook and being able to draw connections from what we learned connection better my understanding.
(You two should get together--you have a lot to discuss vis a vis “fairness.” I will be using a commercial textbook again that has several hundred practice questions available. No one better complain about that.)

Taking this course with Dr. Loepelmann was delightful. He is one of the best professors that I have been taught by in my university career so far. He showed up to class everyday on time and well prepared, he went out of his way to joke with us and show us funny videos to help lighten the mood of the dry course content and keep us engaged and he is overall a very well put together professor that knows what he is doing. This is very hard to find so it I can appreciate it. I would also like to say that so far I am not doing as well in this course as I would like but he is still very much deserving of this review. Great professor, I hope to see him here for a long time.
(Thanks for the kind words. I hope I was able to help you succeed in the course.)

Psychology was interesting but Loepelman seems to be regarded as a great professor but honestly I didn't see the draw, I had friends telling me that he had content in his class that wasn't covered in other classes until the 200 level. He didn't have a lot of things to engage the students, videos or examples, instead he had fill in the blank notes, which isn't a very engaging method. It seemed he liked to hear himself talk during the lectures.

The testing material was unnecessarily hard for the midterms, it covered all content from the notes as well as the entire textbook and included questions I believe were unfair. All in all he made the course load more than I thought was appropriate and wasn't helpful in discerning important information from irrelevant information. When I emailed him about what info from the textbook that would be a complimentary to the note he pretty much responded to know it all, the entire textbook. I believe that is unfair.

I enjoyed the content and hope to take more psych courses in the future however I will avoid Loepelman if given the chances, I sleep enough away from school don't need more in his class as well.
(Ouch--and you spelled my name wrong twice. So, asking students to know material from the textbook is “unfair”? Honestly, what do they do in other courses? Tell you to skip every other chapter?)

Very informative, and a good overview of the subject. I'm actually going to pursue a degree in Psych now as a result of it! (I was originally only taking it for personal interest with no plans to study psych further).
Karsten, you are a beauty. I ended up switching from specialized science into general science with a Psych minor partly because of this class.
(This is what happened to me: Took an intro psych course as an option, and fell in love with it.)

I like to use hard copies of textbooks and would have preferred if the instructor used a textbook that could be found used rather than the new one we had to buy which was quite expensive for what it included.
I found the textbook was great. I bought the physical copy and I found it was a very reasonable price when compared to other textbooks.
(The hardcover was $55.45 at the Bookstore. Or you could have printed it out from the free PDFs. Either way, it was not “quite expensive,” it was “very reasonable.”)

In some instances, the notes simply posed a question related to the concept. For example the notes would say something like: Cognitive neuroscience: What is the brain's role in cognition? Or something like that. Not only does it fail to explain what cognitive neuroscience is, but it can also confuse students between cognitive neuroscience and similar concepts such as biopsychology. Some concepts in this course are similar, so the notes should specifically outline the differences and define each concept clearly. The notes were also boring to look at (they were just black and white with the occasional picture), I don't know what can be done about that. One thing that really annoyed myself and other students was the fact that the exams were 50% from the textbook and 50% from the lecture notes. This form of testing sounds good in theory, but it really just ends up wasting the time of the students. For example, I spent 3 days for each midterm just looking through the textbook and taking notes. There was tons of overlap and it felt like the only reason the textbook was a component of the course was to make it more difficult to study. The few concepts in the textbook that were not from the notes could have easily been added with an additional page of lecture notes. But instead, why not force students to read through a textbook to make the course seem harder.
(1. I will strive to do a better job explaining concepts. Although definitions for things like cognitive neuroscience are not in the lecture notes, I do say a little bit about them in the lecture. Remember: the online notes are not a substitute for the actual lecture, they are a supplement to it.
2. I do not add needless decoration to my notes. Do you want clip art in the online notes? I view that as an unnecessary distraction, and likely a waste of ink.
3. Do you want to know why the exam questions are split 50/50 between textbook and lecture? Because students demanded it. Go back and read some of the student feedback I’ve posted on this blog and you’ll see. Asking you to read a textbook is wasting your time? I think you’re a bit too old to be spoon-fed.)

- Super strange comment, but it always threw me off when the professor didn't acknowledge that it was a new class (i.e take a moment to say where we left off)
(If I’m returning to a something where I left off in the middle last class, I do try to say, “Last time...” as a bit of a bridge. Sorry if not doing that confused you.)

(To be fair, I’ve heard that Einstein was pretty good, too.)

PSYCO 282: Behaviour Modification

Well-structured lectures, with a variety of videos and clicker questions to break up the powerpoints. Overall, it was a real pleasure to attend this class.
The course itself is quite barren and simple, it could use some changes.
(Our next Jeopardy category, “You Can’t Please Everyone.”)

This course proved to be very practical in real life and I'll continue to use the principals I learned in the future. Additionally, you have earned my seal of approval (which is no easy achievement).
(I know, right?)

The self management project was fun, the iclicker questions helped involve us in the class material plus review it in a reinforcing way.  Finally the teacher was enthusiastic, inviting, lnowledgeable and very approachable.
(I see what you did there.)

The instructor was really good with explaining the course material. Since the material was pretty dry the instructor made it very informational by providing extra videos in class and also by making the class entertaining by telling jokes.

The instructor was honestly one of the most boring people ever. There was no need to ever attend class and he never said anything important that was not in the notes, however you needed to to fill in the blanks.

The note-taking arrangement in this class as well as the instructor's well-organized and understandable powerpoints made this course one of the most enjoyable and understood courses in my 4 years at the U of A. Questions on exams were fair and pulled from the pertinent information in the course; these questions tested whether you understood the material rather than if you memorized the textbook. It was a no-nonsense kind of course that I have recommended and will continue to recommend to my peers.
(If you recommend this course, be sure to tell them how boring I am--one of the most boring people ever! Sad!)

Loepelmann is one of the reasons why my major is Psychology. It's unreal the UofA has a prof like him, he is without a doubt one of the best teachers I have had, let alone professors. He makes my scary student loan worth it, well at least almost worth it. Oh and his fill in the blanks notes are the best, it may not work for everyone, but **** for me they seem to really click.
* Inappropriate words were found and removed from this response.
(Well, that’s ******* great!)

Loepelmann you da bes
(Points deducted for spelling errors.)

Instructor specifically seemed inaccessible. To add however I did not attempt to contact because they seemed inaccessible.
(Er, what? I answer over 95% of email within 24 hours. I have a regularly scheduled office hour every week (which is NOT well attended). I will make an appointment with you if you cannot make it to my office hour. But I “seemed” inaccessible. WTF?)

I'm not the greatest student in the world, but this class captivated me and I'm so glad I took it! He is the most amazing professor and taught me so much that I absorbed. I struggle in school and his style of teaching was so helpful for me. I wish there were more classes that were tailored like this after 282 in the curriculum with him teaching. I will take any class he teaches. Also, love the way he does lecture material. It actually makes you focus more on what he is saying rather than getting every word down. Thank you so much for an amazing semester!
(Thanks for taking the course! Otherwise, I’d be a lonely man in an empty room.)

I would want to take all the rest of my Psych courses with Dr. Loepelmann if I could. All of the examples from research, products, and videos he presented in class helped me understand the concepts 10 000 times better. Amazing prof.
(I would want to teach all the other Psych courses. No, scratch that. There’s only one of me...)

I would have liked a more definitive rubric for the Self-Management assignment, as the marking scale was a bit unclear. IE, what constitute -1 mar, -2 marks, etc.
(I am spending my summer rewriting the rubric. However, keep in mind that it’s not a checklist.)

I was torn between loving and hating that we end early on so many days. Love it because, well, who doesn't want to go early sometimes?! Hate it because when it happens so often I start to think we lose a lot of classtime over the course of a semester. I was embarrassed to ask Dr. Loepelmann after class for the missing word(s) because I don't want him to think I'm not paying attention.
(Not every course fits exactly into the standard template of a 3* 1-term course. In fact, one of the reasons I stop a bit early is because some students miss fill-in words here or there. I am happy to provide them at the end of class. Often, it’s the same students at the end asking for missed fill-in words. It does not upset me if you ask for them. I’d rather you get them from me that not have them. No judgment!)

The way he teaches feels more like watching an engaging theatre show than sitting in a classroom being lectured at. He can hold your attention, and everything he says seems very calculated, carefully worded and rehearsed (maybe because he's done it so much?).

At first I though, oh god, he PLANNED that joke, how lame... but soon it didn't matter and I started enjoying it even more because it was planned.

Also, I dig the batman tie :)

For the TAs: It would be EXTREMELY helpful if you had a copy of the answer key at exam viewings so that the correct answer could be determined
(My apologies about the lack of answer keys. Here’s what happened. The TA who was scheduled to run the exam viewing was away at a conference and due to inclement weather was stranded out of town. She contacted me and, instead of cancelling the exam viewing at the last minute, we arranged for another TA to cover. Unfortunately, she neglected to ask for the answer keys. I assumed they were with the exam booklets, but they were not. My apologies for the inconvenience. We’ll try to do better.)

Whilst the 'fill in the blank' notes system is not popular among students, I found that it worked well to keep attendance high. This did turn into a problem later on in the course though, where a lot of the students around me would be off topic and not paying attention, only waiting for the blanks to appear on screen. These individuals can be very distracting to the learning process.
(I’d like to get feedback on how you think I could deal with the problem. Anyone?)

I liked the project, and how it made us tie concepts to a real life behavioural change.

I found the class very interesting and I even tried some of the behavior modification techniques on my Grandma's cat!
(Ethically, make sure you get the cat’s consent first.)

Having the notes on a separate website from eclass was frustrating because I could not download the PDF's onto my iPad from there.
(The note’s aren’t in PDF format, they’re in HTML. Putting them on eClass would make no difference. If you go to my blanks FAQ <>, there are instructions on how to load my notes into a text editor. iPads are, unfortunately, more difficult to work with.)

Great prof and definitely deserves all his teaching awards. He is always very prepared and loves what he teaches. I am not personally interested in this material but I am happy this prof makes it more manageable.

Great prof, great hair, great ties, great attitude, great smile.
(Wait, what? You like my hair? Seriously?)

Fantastic instructor and an engaging course overall that is applicable to life. However, sometimes that instructor did not speak loud enough and seems mumbled.
(Telling me that you can’t hear me after the class is over makes it really hard to help you. Please tell me while the course is actually underway!)

Extremely awesome professor with highly interesting course content. First day of classes when he opened with a Star Wars introduction, I knew he was already awesome. The iclickers and textbook were useful for the course. The additional videos showed in class were helpful in consolidating material. I really enjoyed this class and would recommend this Prof to all students.
Excellent professor and course. The course content was very interesting, insightful and applicable to real life. It is a bit provoking to think that human behaviour can be so malleable and so liable to so many different circumstances, this is the takeaway I got from this class. It kind of makes you want to create your own theories on other factors human behaviour may be susceptible to. The professor was extremely organized, enthusiastic, funny and open to discussion. I literally have nothing negative to say about the course, you even get your own chance to modify your behaviour for the better. I'd recommend it to anyone, even if just to take it for the awesome professor alone :)
Dr. Loepellman is a gem in your department NEVER LET HIM GO

I just want to get on the W.A.Y.S. blog

PSYCO 494: Human Factors & Ergonomics

You can tell his jokes are planned and he likes to talk about himself a lot.
(Yeah, yeah. Blah blah blah. Enough about you, people come here to read about ME!)

This course has given me insight into what I may want to do as a career.

The instructor was the only reason I took this god-forsaken course. He makes anything more interesting, even ergonomics which is pretty boring by itself but Loepelmann is the best
(It would help if you could tell me exactly what you didn’t like about the course. No need for future students to suffer.)

Karsten is a nice guy, very enthusiastic, well organized and spoken. He always answers questions and was polite. But as for his class I have so many regrets. I found the exams to brutal and it's frustrating having a term paper AND a final. I don't think the class is structured well to do well on tests because you have to literally memorize everything. I'm used to working hard in classes and don't mind hard work, but I really dislike unfair classes and I feel this entire class was unfair. I would not recommend this to anyone unless you want To be miserable and question your existence
(Well, you know what they say. I have compared my course to other 400-level PSYCO courses, and it’s not out of line. In fact, many of them have a much longer and more difficult list of required readings. A 12-page term paper and final exam is appropriate for a course of this level.)

I really like Dr. Lopelmann's teaching style! The only thing I think needs improvement are the slides. They're text heavy in the format accessible to the students and the sections/bullet points aren't clearly separated so studying different sections can get confusing. Sometimes I am unsure which point belongs under which heading or subheading.
(That can happen if you cut-and-paste from the notes webpage, which loses all of the formatting. And you spelling my name wrong.)

I love your classes. They're easy to understand, easy to follow, and it is always clear exactly what you want from us. I love the hands-on project. It really helped understand the material we were learning in class. One point of criticism would be to update your research. A lot of the studies you're drawing from are from the 90s and that's almost twenty years ago. It would be nice to see how much human factors has changed since then.
(I am constantly reading the literature for potential updates to the course. I don’t like change for the sake of change. But I will see what I can do to give you a better picture of contemporary HFE.

Dr. L. was a fantastic lecturer who really has a good grip on the classic "dad jokes" and masterful presentation and delivery of both course material and humour. It has been a pleasure to be in this class and the cherry on top were all the accents he did.
(You may not realize it, but all of these comments were made in a funny accent!)

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