Monday, May 5, 2008

Some Feedback on the Sustainability Mini

Yes- I need to update (especially about India and Jordan!) and I'm thankful that Blogger now incorporates the ability to schedule future posts. That will be especially helpful while traveling.

I'm sorting through the piles of '51-276 Examining Sustainability in the Gulf Region' self-evaluations I requested of the students. I originally did not plan to request these self-evaluations but I was curious how they would rate themselves (and I was also unsure how to grade the students).

In going through the evaluations- I noticed a few interesting observations:

1) One student commented and wondered if anyone would honestly give themselves lower than an 'A' ? Actually, yes- some did. And interestingly enough, they were all non-Arab students.
2) One student (Palestinian) informed me that 'doing such evaluations is very hard for us. Our culture is more of community based rather than individualistic, so we tend to underestimate our work to favor community.' I'm going to email the student and hopefully get more of an explanation about this statement.

(On a related note- I've heard that it's hard to student groups to have true club elections- for students won't run against each other for fear of shaming the other person by beating them. I've also heard it's been hard to have a debate club on campus- for students don't want to shame the other person by pointing out the faults or errors in the other's arguments. Interesting.)

[Breaking News Alert- freak rain shower in progress here at 3 pm in May!]

Regarding the course, I received some positive feedback.
"I enjoyed this course very much. I learned about many solutions and systems that I have never heard about before. ...I would like to thank you for every thing you have done for us. Your feedbacks were very helpful and valuable to me. I hope to see you the next semesters."

"Thanks for the course again :) was fun thinking about the environment and not code design. If the same amount of smartness and work is put by students into environmental sustainability, there surely can be a change."

"I hope this course will continue and more students take it as its very interesting and fun learning at the same time. I found out very fascinating facts from the book we read and from class discussions."

"I really enjoyed the class and enjoyed doing the project"

"Thank you for the course , it was really [sic] benefical. "

"Thanks for a great mini course!!"

"I’d like to add that I really enjoyed the content and idea of this course, and wish it would have been a full semester course as that would have given us plenty more time to work on the final project. Thanks a lot for this course!"

I'll give my own assessment of the course when I have a little more time to think about it- but overall I think I achieved the original goal of having the students begin to recognize the importance and prevalence of systems in our everyday world.

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