Survey -- February 12, 2001

Thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey, I especially appreciate the comments many of you wrote. Most of you seem happy with the class, overall. Here are some of my thoughts.

  1. Grading. Most people indicated the exam was fair and not too unlike what had been taught. If you feel the grading is unfair, you are welcome to come discuss specific cases with me. For the people who felt the test was not related to what was taught in class, I am not sure what I can say about that as I feel the exam was similar to the homework and the concept questions were similar to those discussed in class. One person commented that I hadn't made it clear Gauss's Law as relates to flux could be on the exam, which I apologize for not making clearer.
  2. Lectures: Most people feel the speed of the lectures is just right, with about 1/8th of the class feeling they are too fast and 1/8th feeling they are too slow. If you're feeling it's too fast, please try to catch me during an office hour to go over whatever is confusing. About a third of you feel the focus of lectures is too skewed towards concepts; I will definitely take this into consideration, but I do feel the discussion section / office hours are more appropriate places to spend time going over problems.
  3. Homework: Most people indicated that the homework was too much. My motivation for assigning the homework is of course because I think it's helpful for you to learn the material. However, I am willing to cut back on the quantity. Also, while I still plan to assign homework the week of the test, I will try harder to make sure it's not long and not getting in the way of studying for the test. In particular HW #3 was harder than I had planned.
  4. Concept questions: The class is split evenly between those who are neutral, those who love them, and those who hate them. For those of you planning to take the MCATs, I think understanding the concepts is crucial to doing well on the MCATs, even more so than being able to work complicated math problems. For those of you who won't be taking the MCATs, or in fact for the whole class, I think these types of questions are the ones I most hope you can answer long after the class is over. I hope years from now you can look at a lightning bolt and realize in some ways it's similar to sparks, and that in both cases the air is temporarily becoming a conductor. So, love 'em or hate 'em, the concept questions are here to stay. If you are finding them confusing, please, do let me know. I am happy to spend office hour time going over concept questions.
Some of your other comments (and my responses in italics)

Please let me know if you have additional comments or questions.