Single Course-Instructor Report
     

Student Survey Responses - Unofficial Report

Term: Fall 2005
Survey: 20
Subject: INTA 6003 S - Empirical Research Meth
CRN: 81825
Class Size: 21
Instructor: Dion, Michelle Lynn

report run @05/12/2006 03:01 PM

Core Questions
 
Item
(5)Strongly Agree
Agree
Partly Agree & Partly Disagree
Partly Disagree
(1)Disagree
N/A
No.of Resp.
Interpolated Median
1. Course Seemed Well Planned And Organized
2
7
6
2
1
0
18
3.5
2. Good Job Covering Course Objectives/Content
3
6
5
2
2
0
18
3.5
3. Explained Complex Material Clearly
1
5
7
3
2
0
18
3.1
4. Was Approachable And Willing To Assist
9
2
5
0
2
0
18
4.5
5. Encouraged Students To Consult With Him/Her
8
5
2
0
2
0
17
4.4
6. Class Attendance Important In Promoting Learning Of Material
7
6
2
2
1
0
18
4.2
7. Number Of Course Assignments Was Appropriate.
2
6
7
1
2
0
18
3.4
8. Exams Covered Course Content/Objectives
2
7
5
2
2
0
18
3.5
9. Exams And Quizzes Were Of Appropriate Difficulty.
3
9
1
3
2
0
18
3.8
10. The Instructor Was An Effective Teacher
5
7
2
2
2
0
18
3.9

Student Comments about individual question

(no any comments)

Student Comments about the Class or Instructor

I think Dr. Dion had a couple of issues. One of them out of her control. 1. The class has weird objectives. It was almost like we were taking two classes at once. A stats class and a paper-writing class. So often it felt like we were doing one thing in class and another outside that didn''t feel like they were on the same track. 2. Dr. Dion seemed to be really overloaded. And this led to stress which led to sometimes to discomfort for the class. However, she made an effort to be available online and sometimes in her office. I just think that her stress mixed with the stress of the class trying to write their first quanitative research paper sometimes clashed. I like her though, I just hate the stuff she covered.

It seems as if we covered too much material in this course. I felt very rushed. I do not think we were able to give adequate attention to all of the information. The quizzes were too easy. I was able to get a 5 on all of them and I never knew what the hell I was talking about. I understand that they really only serve to make sure we read, but I think they were actually a disservice in that they provided a false sense of security. Because I did well on the quizzes I thought I understood enough of the material, but when it came to actually applying the information in our projects I was lost. You should consider only making this course requisite for students on a PHD track.

I would recommend focusing on quant methods and not wasting time at the start of the semester with qual method reading. Introduce mathmatical concepts gradually and focus on specific quant tools and how to use them. Don''t waste class time on the derivation and intricate details of the mathematical equations. Encourage students to read the background material on thier own. Instead focus on practical applications with multiple specific examples. Even though this a graduate course, it is easy for it to become overwhelming when students do not have an extensive math background.

Wonderful person, however, her teaching methods did not suit me. She assumed that I had had statistics before and rushed through the material, meanwhile, I could not keep it up. I had to rely on classmates to tell me the bare minimum so I could complete my work. We learned lots of stats formulas, however our main course work, the computer did all the formulas for us, so while she could have been teaching us more appropriate things she chose to teach more on formulas. Too many things we had to spread our focus on. We have a huge project to do w/ big assignments to do each week, but at the same time she wants us to read and understand 3 chapters in a complicated stats book and come in class prepared to take a quiz. She made it seem like she was available but really she had very minimal office hours and i felt like i was bothering her if i stopped by to ask questions.

I''ve been stumbling through this course from the beginning, along with many other students, never knowing if what I''m doing (on class assignments) is even in the right ball park and don''t find out until after I receive back my graded work. Therefore, I find myself only learning from my mistakes, which is increasingly frustrating as deadlines approach. I often felt that I was on two completely different tracks (1) class readings and homeworks, (2) the research project, neither of which seemed to coincide. The course should be primarily focused on the research project from the very first class and learning the statistics as we go. We should spend more class time on the hands on work associated with empirical research. For example, doing class exercises on how to find data sets in the real world and pick apart the various types of data sets that you come across in research. Also, we must spend MUCH more class time on SPSS doing various exercises and building student confidence and know-how with the software from the beginning. In addition, the course MUST pick a version of SPSS and stick to it. The student version and the class room version (in the hab-lab) are not compatible and have many subtle and sometimes less subtle differences that can be very confusing during the learning process or when working on homework assignments. Students should be instructed to NOT purchase the student SPSS version if the in class instruction of SPSS and assignments are based on the class room version. Perhaps a TA should conduct SPSS workshops outside of class if there isn''t enough time in the semester to spend class time on the practical learning of empirical research. However, in my opinion there should be two different courses...the first being the required core class with a more straight forward ''how to'' approach on empirical research and the other course being the more advanced and statistical course for students who have a more in depth interest in empirical research. My frustrations and disappointments with this course focus entirely on the structure and format of the course, not Dr. Dion. I feel strongly that Dr. Dion gave her best effort throughout the semester and often went above and beyond in helping individual students. Although, it was obvious at times that she was equally frustrated with us as we were with the class.

The material involved in learning empirical methodolgy is inherently complex and dry--though certainly important; it is not easily of a lively nature, such as courses on, say, policy or globalization or power relationships, etc. But Dr. Dion provided a coherent, challenging and fair instruction of qualitative and quantitative design. Additionally, she was, as much of any of the four teachers I have now had, accessible and extremely helpful during office hours and in the lab. The course for me was by far the most difficult, time-consuming and colorless--but I''ve read the texts, and that''s the nature of the stuff. Dr. Dion did it with fluency and understanding. She did her job well.

This course was excellently taught for the situation. Empirical research methods requires teaching a new method of thought and teaching mathematics to students who have often completely forgotten all but the simplest algebra. This course would be better taught as a twice per week 1.5 hour class, perhaps with a mandatory lab to allow for practicing the practical computer applications. Dr. Dion did the best with the time allotted since the 3-hour seminar format is not ideal for teaching this material. The homework assignments were generally appropriate and not too long or difficult. The final project was the highlight of the course. It forced us to use the tools learned over the semester and construct our first major research paper. Given the chance, I would like to see more methodology or social science statistics courses available through the Sam Nunn School''s masters program. I would certainly enroll in more classes were they available.

Dr. Dion was most helpful in a one-on-one setting. She often stayed late after class to help me work through my project. Recommendations for the course in the future: The course should start with statistics and move back toward qualitative analysis at the end. I felt as if we were too rushed to process important concepts in the weeks before our project. I would rather have jumped into the statistics earlier, so that we would have had more time to apply them to our regression analyses. Content such as ANOVA should either be incorporated into the project or eliminated from the syllabus.

Dr.Dion is a very good teacher, she is always helping us. She spend lots of time in office hours to help us how to do our project. She also use email much offen to answer our questions.

I believe the course was well organized and taught effectively. Most changes to the course were discussed during the last lecture, and certainly should be addressed. Ultimately, there was just too much crammed in, especially with the emphasis on the final project. Really have to decide which information is most important to cover given the limited amount of time.

as stated in our in-class reviews, I think it might have been a little better if the order of quantatative and qualitative were reversed. The real problem for me was by the time we started working on our papers, I had become so overwhelmed by the topic that my brain quit working. I just couldn''t absorb what we were doing. Or, perhaps if the order were not reversed, if there is a way to teach concepts, such as data collection, etc, as both quantitative and qualitative at the same time. What I mean is that instead of the class being organized as to what type of method we''re using, perhaps it should be organized into what stage in the analytical process we''re learning. The other issue in this course is the tension between what we''re theoritically doing and how to physically do it in SPSS. I did buy a copy of the Pollock book, without which I would have been totally lost. It would have been helpful to work on SPSS in class a little more.

I really got a lot out of the Empirical Methods class this fall. Thanks for all the help that you offered to students, and thank you for answering my (numerous) questions. For future classes (of 6003), I think it would be very helpful to students if you could find ways to spend more time going over the homework or discussing problem areas in homework assignments. While I found the homework assignments this semester very helpful, I felt at times like we were moving from one homework assignment to the next with minimal feedback or discussion on each assignment. At times, it was difficult for me to see and understand a purpose in our homework. So, I would suggest that you take care to communicate or underscore the big-picture purpose in all the assingments- don''t assume that we/future students will automatically ''just get it''. Overall, thank you for putting so much time, effort, and hard work into the class throughout the semester, and thank you for being available for help and questions. Again, I got a lot out of it, and I think I developed some very key skills in the class.

 


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