Physics I Mid Semester Feedback

As usual, I give a early semester feedback survey to students. I have for years now been reporting students results, so here they are. No surprises here.

What do we do in class that is helpful for your learning? Why?

Summary: Students like a variety of things, including discussion, group work, whiteboard problems, seeing examples, hearing and explain thinking. Students reasoning touch upon a lot of important notions, such as active engagement, self-assessment, coaching, peer learning, self-explanation, etc. A few students mention ideas that are more focused on test prep.

My Response: Help them to see that there are a variety of things that people like. It is useful for them to know that their opinion is not necessarily “the opinion of the class”. If I have time, I might tell them about a few educational things.

It’s helpful that you provide visual examples and explain what is happening and why it is happening. It helps put into perspective.

Whiteboard problems are helpful. It allows me to think for myself and how to solve the problem.

Clicker questions and whiteboard problems. Help me to think on my own and discuss with my group why and how I got my answer. Whiteboards because it makes it easier to know if I really understand it or not.

The interactive stuff like the position vs time graphing with the motion detector, and the small group stuff.

Whiteboard problems and examples

When we do whiteboard problems, it allows me to practice while helping others or get the help from others that I need.

Making us explain concepts to each other. I tend to grasp concepts better when I am explaining it, like with the clicker questions.

When you walk through a problem step-by-step and have us immediately solve a similar problem. This allows us to understand what we are looking for without just giving us the answers.

I like the group work, I feel like I understand better from […] especially.

Being able to see a problem being done (or even just set up), and then working problems together in our groups, because I can see where I need to work on.

Practice problems on the whiteboards. Questions and discussions as a group.

Examples, because it let’s me see what kind of problems to expect on a test.

Clicker questions, because we discuss we each other. Sample problems and then letting us practice on our own.

Practice problems. The extra lecturing on learning strategies and techniques help with problem solving as well. Having students engage and interact in activities (like the one with the graphs). The quizzes keep me up to date on the reading.

I love the group work. I love having to figure out of problem in groups. I love the whiteboard work in groups.

Going over and practicing many different types of problems.

Solving problems on whiteboards in groups.

Whiteboard problems, because we work together to answer questions.

You breaking down everything is helpful, even though it is annoying.

Going over and working problems that are similar to exam problems. It helps because many times reading the lectures is confusing, so going over it in class helps to clarify.

Individual discussion among tables for explanation can be helpful for cementing a concept and help retain it,

I really like the example problems we do in class.

Practicing questions together.

Whiteboard problems together, because we can ask what we did wrong when we are in class.

The whiteboard problems help because writing it out and working on them with other people helps me when I make a mistake.

I like the quizzes. I find it helpful to focus my reading. And going over problems.

The practice questions that we work out in class is very helpful, because it helps me see the process, step-by-step.

Working with groups. It helps because if I get confused, I can ask my group for help.

When other students explain how they got their choices to the whole class. Even though you explain things well, some professor just don’t.

When the instructor does a problem and give us a problem that is similar. We team up to do it and on own, and it this helps me learn the material more effectively.

What is unhelpful for your learning and why?

Summary: Reading quizzes are stressful as is the idea of changing group.

My response: I will re-explain the purposes that the quizzes serve (getting students on time and them reading means we can “make the most” of our time together). I will change the grading so that showing up for the reading quizzes gets you 5/10, the five questions will be worth the remaining 5 points. For group stress, students will be able to request one person to work with and one person not to work with. When we change groups I will also structure an activity where they reflect and and discuss what worked and didn’t work well with their last group, and get them to form a plan/ norms for working well together.


I like group work, but sometimes it is more helpful to do things on your own.

Spending time on problems, when I feel like most of the class gets it.

The quizzes stress me out, and even though I’ve done well on them, I feel that they haven’t been as helpful to my learning as they are supposed to be.

Changing groups won’t be helpful, because now I have to relearn people and become comfortable with them, when I could just stay with my group and focus on learning, and how the awkwardness of meeting new people.

The reading quizzes don’t help me because I read the reading and study and still can’t seem to do well.

I’m sometimes confused about lab… [they are not unhelpful] they don’t always make sense, especially the questions in the back of the lab.

Doing practices that are not going to be on the test.

Nothing. The class is eclectic in all its phases.

The limited ability to go beyond the current situation, whether the lab or the topic.

Nothing is unhelpful, but working on whiteboards is the least helpful. I still think it is valuable.



I don’t have any complaints.

Switching groups. I connected with my group on the first day, which is very unusual. No one is looking down on anyone base on whatever question they had. Every single one of us literally have something to offer to the rest of the group.

Nothing, this lab is very helpful and is much more interesting than I thought it would be.

I don’t find the reading quizzes helpful. They add anxiety and stress towards coming to class. and they take away from the excitement of being here.

Everything we do is helpful.

Can’t think of anything.

Nothing is unhelpful. It might not help me, but it doesn’t hurt.

Everything we do so far seems to have a purpose.

Everything seems helpful, but the least helpful is making us explain our answers to each other when sometimes we all have the same answer at our group.


Reading quizzes. Either way I’m going to read the lecture.

Too many whiteboard problems, maybe try doing some individually. That way we actually test if we can do it ourselves, and not just one person in the group.


Can’t think of anything.


Most things seem optimized to help us learn as well as we can.


What else do you want to tell me?

Summary: Students want more problems to practice problems.

My Response: I will guide / remind them in how to effectively work out problems at home. Give class time at end of the day to “deciding with their group” what problems they might like to try before next time, and making a plan for when you get stuck (email/call a friend, sign up for office hours, go to tutoring, etc).


I would like more test review. On the test, I had a hard time reading the questions and understanding them. There are so many different ways they can be worded.

I just wanted to say thank you. I was really nervous about this class, but you have made us feel comfortable and make it easy to ask questions.


More practice questions.

Labs are fun, but I wish we had more time to work on labs

Please don’t make us change groups. I am actually comfortable with my group.

I know its early in the semester, but when doing practice problems, everyone once and a while I’d like be given a problem that really makes everyone think outside the box.

It’s too bad Gene Wilder passed away. Really enjoyed his career even thought he hasn’t bee in a  film for quite some time.

I just wish we had more problems to work. Maybe do a practice exam in class that is timed?

I know reading quizzes are helpful, but quizzes everyday are a drag.

I’m very appreciative of this class. Thank you.

This is my favorite class this semester.

I wish we did more whiteboard problems it really helps you prep.

I feel this class is working out well.

So far so good, the only thing is I took physics in high school, and its been boring and frustrating at times to have to go over material I already know.

For my first physics class at MTSU, I have no complaints. Keep Rocking!

I wish we worked more whiteboard problems.

We need more breaks, to help with transitioning between things.

Can we practice more problems?

I love class discussions.

So far this class has been better than my high school physics class.

I would like to do more problem-solving in class.




























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