Undergraduate student comments on active learning in Howard’s classes

In all my undergraduate classes, students are asked several times to fill out “comment cards” on how the class is going for them. They are asked to indicate what is going well and what they would like changed.

I have picked out some of the cards that pertain to cooperative learning (team-based work and exercises) and active learning, more generally. Of the hundreds of cards in the 1990s, and with Bob Woodberry’s help, I tried to pick the most representative and informative comments. I did not select by “positive or negative.” Critical comments are included, as well. However, you will not find many. Almost all students, under cover of anonymity, still made positive comments.

I liked the way the class was structured with teamwork, group quizzes, etc.

I like the group work. I liked the way we broke up into counties and could see more first-hand how industries were distributed.

I enjoy the way class time goes it is very productive. Working in groups and being able to work through problems is very educational.

The class is going well for me. I like working in groups and doing class activities.

I think the course is going well. It scared me to death at first, but now it is the only class that I feel is entertaining or useful. This class is finally a class that teaches me things I can actually use someday.

At first I thought it was going to be overwhelming but once things picked up, I decided it was going to be an interesting class. I like the idea of having team leaders-it adds a practical aspect-one that can be applied to the real world.

I think that the group projects are a helpful way of learning material, because you have other people’s ideas, etc. on top of your own.

The quick, unprepared team assignments help in decision making in groups, and working as a group. Helpful also in becoming a team player.

I really enjoy the group work (class interaction).

Group work is very effective- makes class more interesting.

Enjoying the class, especially group assignments and projects.

As the semester passes by, our small group is becoming stronger. It took a while for everyone to participate, but the last exercise went really well.

Group work is very interesting. Continue to keep in-class group work.

The groups are good because it lets us meet our classmates and gives some variety in ways of learning.

I get bored with classes on occasion, but in this class I haven’t. I really enjoy the activities such as the skits and making the Ram dolls. I really look forward to coming to this class.

I feel that the class participation, such as breaking down into groups on projects, is very helpful in understanding the concepts we are learning in class, plus it makes the class much more interesting.

I ’have really enjoyed the activities (group work). I feel that these are good because they are very effective at getting across points, helping us get to know others in the class, and helping us stay awake first thing in the morning!

The group exercises were very helpful and gave enough variety to the class.

The group discussions helped in understanding concepts in class because of the way the exercises were set up.

I really enjoy working in groups and having “hands on” experience of dealing with some typical work problems.

I really like breaking up into groups and discussing different subjects. I learn more when the class provides a lot of the input.

I like the way the class is broken down in to lecture, discussion, projects, activities, etc., instead of a professor who stands up in front of the class and drones on and on for an hour.

In class exercises and discussions make class more interesting.

Thus far the class has been extremely informative and the exercises have been super in fostering discussion and avoiding staleness.

The activities are really good. They keep us busy and they also help us to apply reading.

I really enjoy the structure of the class-the way we divide into groups to discuss things and I find that I understand concepts better when we do class activities like that.

The exercises are good and help me understand why things are. I really like this class on the whole and enjoy the opportunity to participate.

I enjoy splitting up into groups instead of just hearing you talk. I can readily see how each class leads into the next.

I like how you give us in class “group” exercises. This enables us to get to know one another.

I love the exercises we have done all ready in the class. Keep them going.

I like the group interactions! They make class more interesting and seem shorter than 1:15.

I think this class is great – I look forward to being here. I like the group activities –they break the monotony of class and make things more clear.

Breaking up into groups helps keep me on my toes. The class participation is interesting (I like knowing others ideas).

I really enjoy the group work. It helps me to better understand what’s going. It gives me an opportunity to get to know other people and to listen to their opinions. I also feel that it gives me the opportunity to see what it’s like to work with other people.

I like the assignments we get to do with other members of the class, but I am a lecture style learner, and because you are lecturing very little I feel I am not gaining the appropriate knowledge.

I feel this class had been very pertinent. The “activities” serve a definite purpose and make a “would/could be” dry lecture “go down” with great interest. When I read the readings I don’t always understand the main point, but with the help of an “activity” the point is received.

I really like the group activities which we do. I get a lot more out of the class by actually doing activities rather than simply taking notes from the lecture. I also like the fact that most of the lecture is centered around class discussion.

For the most part the class is very interesting and everything is going fine. One criticism would be the amount of time we seem to waste when we break down into groups. I think we could get a lot more done with simple open class discussion.

The in-class exercises, like the Ram dolls, were fun as well as a learning experience. With a class of this type, it’s easy to get lost in a lot of words and concepts and not really know what it means. The exercises help with understanding.

I really like the way we split into smaller groups to work on exercise dealing with the subjects of the day. Discussing these subjects in small groups is easier for me because I’m usually shy but in a smaller group I can be more vocal with my opinions and therefore get more out of the discussions. So far, the set-up of class has been great!

I like the fact that we are spending a lot of group time together. It helps me get more feedback from other students, in a more comfortable situation.

I really enjoy the in class exercises they help to stress important topics.

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