The Games We Play

Course Feedback from Students

Posted on: September 7, 2009

At the conclusion of the course I solicited feedback from the students to get their impressions of what worked well and what needed improvement.  I asked structured questions to help focus their responses, but I allowed free responses as well.  The feedback was deposited into my mailbox in the main office.  Here is a summary of what they said:

Many seemed to enjoy the first assignment (games) best for its ability to structure their decision making process and reveal better concept designs for the games themselves.

The brevity of the assignments (1/week) also was viewed as a strength (“phaf at an all time low”), when supported by a clearly structured task list for the interim days of the week when students worked independently.

Students also enjoyed the amount of attention given to each others’ work and the level of critique rendered during discussions and assessment tasks.

The general thought was that there was too much content in the Monday lectures–i.e. it could have been given double the amount of time. Otherwise, the terms introduced were helpful and the time was useful for discussion.

The grading was described as something to look forward to–a fun process that everyone seemed to be involved in. It meant staying focused & helping others, and it allowed students to learn more about their own work as a consequence.

Contrary to the instructor’s expectations, the grading was described as reducing the competition that usually exists–because it was fun.

Students definitely found the syllabus helpful, even if it was revised somewhat during the course. The blog also seemed to help keep time, give feedback, and to support documentation and accessibility. Students also preferred the small group/collaborative work. The worksheet for the first assignment supported understanding and preparation. Overall course structure was good and doubts about deadlines were reduced–lowering stress.

The biggest and most common critique was that there weren’t enough visual & tactile examples and case studies. The presentation time, because it was so compact, was also deemed less successful for comprehension and additional clarity.

Some thought we diverted somewhat from the topic at hand. Other misunderstood the purpose and intent of the second assignment, instead assuming it was about creating awareness (ed. “Srishti bias perhaps?”).

Some thought that IF they got stuck in the ideation process, time became a constraint which would have otherwise allowed additional detail and refinement. Some would have also used that time for an intermediate round of feedback.

The students’ design process could have been helped by more group brainstorming and examples, clearer goals, peer review prior to submission, and prior specialized knowledge of focus topics (e.g. water issues).

Things left unresolved include:
How the exercises related to the goals of the course.
The idea of a “nudge”.
Definition of a visual artifact.

Average self-reported effort = 7.7/10
Average grade = 12.9 = B+

Make the course longer and more in-depth.
More examples.

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