minutia press.
Course Evaluations

Did I mention I am an academic? Did I indicate I would try to hide that? Well I will shortly, but meanwhile you (whoever "you" are) might find this amusing.

One thing we academics take almost daily is judgement by our peers, colleagues, students, editors, funders, dept chairs, deans---it never ends and it is an eternal fount of joy and redemption.

One venue for judgement is the "course evaluation" form that is filled out by students at the end of each semester. Now we take these comments seriously.

How seriously, you ask?

Two years ago, my CS 101 students wrote "Nice Sweaters" appended with a happy face. Because I am color-coordination-impaired (a condition that will gain official recognition someday) and because I loathe shopping (even more than my wife does), one student took pity on me when I related this comment to him and agreed to go shopping with me, and I bought some new clothes. If that's not taking course evaluation comments serously, then maybe they should do away with the evaluations.

I just took possession of my CS 431 evaluations, and below are exceprts that I found worthy of publication, at least in Minutia Press. My comments are bracketed.

  • Subtle geek hunor ... funny stuff [who said compilers are boring?]
  • David Warner and Chris Hill rock [Chris does play in a band; I'm not sure about David.]
  • Never read it [when asked about the textbook -- is this imperative?]
  • Fun with compilers [when asked to describe the course]
  • If you like logical things you would like this course
  • You have never stuttetered [sic] [when asked what was liked most about this course and professor]
  • I cannot recommend this course too highly [ok, that is from a previous semester, but I really like the ambiguity]

Most of the comments were very kind. Modesty prohibits posting those, but I was glad to see absolutely no complaints about my sweaters.