I have taught at UMass Boston since 2004 and I have to say that this has been one of the best semesters ever. I know that this sounds strange especially since we are still teaching remotely due to Covid-19, but I had the most amazing students this time around. They worked a lot, did not complain (mostly), were up for whatever activities and/or assignments they had to complete for the week. I am amazed that my courses just flowed so well that the semester felt effortlessly. I am not saying that my students and I didn’t work, but everything seemed to go so much better than previous semesters. I did not teach differently, nor was the amount of work less than other semesters. Yet my students were eager to complete each week’s work.
As I finish reading their last blog reflection, in which they need to tell me what they liked and didn’t like about the course. I am taken aback at how positive they are. Here are a couple of my students’ comments:
“I really enjoyed the material that was covered in the class and appreciate the effort put into it. Even though this is an online course, but there never was any confusion on an assignment which is always a plus.”
“Overall, I appreciated the structure and layout of the course. Comparing this experience with many other online courses using blackboard, I feel like the extra effort put in to setting up weekly sessions made for a smooth experience each week. Some classes don’t utilize the format used in this course and I think those that do not could benefit from trying it.”
“I had a great semester in this class. From the get-go the instructor was fully transparent with students of what to expect in this course. The world was going to a tough time, but the instructor made it easy for us to have enough time to complete assignments and she also went beyond to find a quick way to communicate with students. I’ve learned a lot in this course, from how to write a professional email to how to write a short report or business report. Didn’t find anything challenging, just I had to make sure to manage my time wisely so that I can have time to do my assignments. I guess that’s a surplus this course has brought to my life. Overall great semester and now hopping to pass the final exam.”
Usually, their comments are not this encouraging or positive as they always find something to complain about as students tend to do. I am not saying that everything was perfect or that I am flawless teacher as I have my moments, but my students’ comments did make me feel like I was doing something right.
To be honest I am not used to getting so much sanguine feedback from them, so I am wondering if after a year of remote classes, have the students come to appreciate a well-organized online course as they had to take so many of them lately and understand what makes one better than another. Or it might have more to do with the fact that there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel rather than how well I design, create, and teach my courses. If that is the case, I have no doubt that they will be back to normal by the end of fall semester. Or maybe not, time will tell.
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