Adventures in online lecturing mathematics to biochemists. Part 3.

In this post, I’ll describe the feedback I got from my students on my Quantitative Biochemistry course. It was delivered during October and November 2020 and comprised a dozen lectures and a series of seven examples classes, each led by a class tutor and containing 6-9 students. See here and here for the previous two posts about this course.

Rather than rely on the departmental feedback, which often not many students complete, I find asking the students some simple questions about the course at the end of the final lecture works well. It is fresh in their mind and often they are feeling pleased at completing the course so are motivated to answer some questions. This time, of course, it was a quiz at the end of the Panopto recording of the fourth part of the twelfth lecture! Even so,  a bit over half the course (63 students) completed the questions which was encouraging in itself. 

Here are the results:

The blues are students agreeing with the statements, so given they are positive statements, the feedback is broadly positive. For example, only one student didn’t enjoy the course and 3 were neutral; the remaining 94% (59/63) did.

What can we conclude?

  • the warm-up exercises and problem sheets helped the students, the weekly challenges perhaps less so
  • they seemed happy with the lectures themselves and preferred having each lecture split into smaller recordings, as recommended by the Department of Biochemistry Teaching Office.
  • the students wanted quizzes during the lectures to test their understanding.
  • whilst the problem sheets were appreciated, the questions about the examples classes attracted the most negative feedback, with 22% of students not agreeing that the examples classes were helpful and a valuable use of their time.

Some nice comments from the students as well.

I thought it was done well thank you

I really liked the format of this course, wouldn’t change

The sort of light hearted nature of the lesson, e.g. with Curtis or the cat, aids a lot in learning I think, and concentration over longer periods of time

And so useful constructive feedback

I think the introduction of small quizzes during the lectures would be good for consolidation.

I think having short quizzes in the lectures would be helpful or examples I could work through myself first. I would also like to go through more examples in the classes especially on questions that I found hard instead of just working through the problem sheet

It is was obviously a difficult time, especially for the students.

Honestly unsure as this year was so strange

By Philip Fowler

Philip W Fowler is a computational biophysicist studying antimicrobial resistance working at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

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