OpenLab #2 Survey RESULTS

Thanks to everyone for completing the survey.  I want to share the results and make some observations.  I’ll follow up with another post discussing possible responses.

Questions 1-8, rate the usefulness of various activities.

Data. I converted the ratings into a numerical scale from 4 = Extremely Helpful to 0 = Not At All Helpful.  I calculated the average “usefulness rating” for each question – the results are presented below, with the questions listed in order according to their rating.

(Extremely Helpful = 4,
Not at all = 0,
Don’t Know = not counted)
3. Professor answering questions in class 3.94
5. Email contact with Professor 3.65
1. Lecture 3.60
6. WeBWorK assignments 3.20
4. Office Hours 3.08
2. Group work in class 3.03
8. Working with peers (friends, classmates, other students) outside of class. 2.91
7. Tutoring at CityTech 1.33

Observations. I think it’s telling that the top two items are both about me responding to your questions, either in class or by email – it’s clear that this is important to you (although the one-on-one face-to-face contact provided by office hours is not quite so important, or at least is less convenient).  Group work was generally thought to be useful, but not quite as useful as other activities.  I was surprised to find that outside-of-class resources rated very low, both formal (tutoring) and informal (working with peers).

QUESTIONS 9 and 10

These questions were short answer, but in each case most of the responses fell into just a few different categories.  I summarized these for each question.

Q9. What is your biggest challenge in this course?  
Top Categories Number of Responses
Prior knowledge (calculus, algebra, trigonometry) 7
Distinguishing between different types of problems 6
Understanding concepts 4
Remembering steps 3
WeBWorK 3
Organizing your work 2

Observations.  As I suspected, mastery of prior material (both of Calculus and other, earlier topics) is a significant challenge in this class.  Quite a few people talked about the difficulty in determining “which kind of question is which” – books usually focus on one kind of problem at a time, but there is a real need to stop periodically and look at an overview of all the different problem types.  Remembering the steps and keeping your work organized (combined) represent a fairly significant portion, comparable to challenges in conceptual understanding.  I know WeBWorK can be a challenge for everyone, and I’m pleased to see that only three of you listed it as the “biggest challenge”!


Q10. What could be done to improve your experience of this course?  
Top Categories Number of Responses
More examples 9
More practice 8
More class time 7
Improve WeBWorK 2

Observations.  The responses here were quite clear and fairly uniform – you need to see more examples, you need more practice, and you need more class time!

I’ll think about what changes we might make in response to this data — look for more information in a followup post.

Prof. Reitz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *