Princeton Alumni Weekly
Notebook - March 24, 1999
On course evaluations
by Princeton Professor of economics Harvey S. Rosen [homepage]
Course evaluations provide a useful way for instructors to find out how
effective their teaching is.
While the promise of anonymity encourages honest and frank feedback from the evaluators, I am sometimes frustrated by not being able to respond to their critiques. I therefore appreciate this opportunity to reply publicly to some of the comments I received on the recent evaluations of my course, Economics 102.
Student 1: "Rosen rocks. His lectures are the best."
Response: Occasionally, I hear faculty colleagues criticizing the Admissions Office for admitting a lot of dim undergraduates. But I've always thought that Prince-ton's students are very smart -- and discerning.
Student 2: "Lectures were boring and sucked."
Response: On the other hand, some dolts do manage to squeeze in through the cracks.
Student 3: "Rosen is over-advertised. Bring caffeine."
Response: I'm delighted to hear that no illegal substances are required to get through the lectures.
Student 4: "Too much information too fast, especially for an introductory course."
Response: I'll try to slow down if I teach the course again.
Student 5: "The lectures were often slow-paced."
Response: I'll try to go faster if I teach the course again.
Student 6: "The class was well paced."
Response: I'll do it just the same way if I teach the course again.
Student 7: "Too many graphs."
Response: Sorry, but teaching economics requires a few equations and graphs now and then.
Student 8: "We didn't use calculus."
Response: Sorry, but teaching economics requires a few words of English now and then.
Student 9: The book "was especially clear and interesting."
Student 10: "Reading was bad."
Response: Did both of you buy the same book?
Student 11: "Fairly given, and fairly graded."
Response: Actually, I now think that the exam may have been a tad hard. I'm glad that you didn't mind.
Student 12: "Midterm was insanely difficult."
Student 13: "Too simple."
Response: What can I say?
Student 14: "Too many stupid people voicing up in precept rather than attending office hours."
Response: I'm always impressed by the sense of community among the undergraduates.
Student 15: "H. Rosens (sic) public speaking skills are atrocious the (sic) fluidity of the lecture is quite often screechingly halted by him (sic) standing at the podium collecting his thoughts saying ah, uh, ah, uh for 30 seconds."
Response: I'm really glad that my job around here is teaching micro-economics and not writing. In any case, this was my 15-year-old son's second favorite response (right after student 2's observation that I sucked).
Student 16: "Blinder is very funny and very clear."
Response: When you've seen one economist, you've seen them all, I guess.
This essay appeared in the February 9 issue of The Daily Princetonian.
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