honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

Simple end-of-term activity supplies data to improve future classes

I use 10 minutes of the last class to collect data that can make the next class better from the students' perspectives.

To critically assess the most effective parts of the course
To determine student preferences
To solicit new learning activities that students themselves develop with incoming students as a target audience

Brightly colored copy paper
In this activity I bring paper in a bright fun color to clearly set this activity apart from the final exam and assessment sequence.

I ask students to fold the paper into 4 equal parts and number each section 1-4.
I ask students to write in each section answering these questions:

  1. What was most valuable about the class?

  2. What was least valuable about the class?

  3. What was most fun about the class?

  4. Submit a game or activity you'd like to see included in the class for the next set of students.

Here are the responses from one of my Observational Drawing classes.
Observational drawing student recommendations Winter 2013

Most valuable

  • Individual coaching on things to look for when drawing the technique for the day

  • Vocabulary and professional guidance

  • Light logic

  • Vocabulary technique and practice

  • Demonstrations of how to use the different types of colors, shading, and contrast in pictures

  • Applying professional terms

  • Going outside drawing

  • Working with pastels on black paper

  • Demonstrations of technique by doc

  • Learning to create the illusion of space between objects learning about new mediums and applying them

Least valuable

  • Drawing the hand because we didn't try again at the end of the term. It would've been fun to compare and contrast your first work with the exact same thing in the end

  • Positive and negative space. I still don't find it important enough to draw attention to this.

  • Job definitions

  • Natural talent, skill, and bad attitude

Most fun

  • Figure drawing I wish there could've been more

  • Learning to draw glass and fabrics

  • Critiques -- I enjoy hearing what everyone thinks of all the drawings and interpretations of the subjects

  • Drawing with pirate music

  • Drawing metal and glass

  • Getting the chance to use different mediums plus fun drawing different pictures

  • Not talking, just drawing

  • Drawing outside

  • 20-minute drawings

Game and Activity Suggestions

  • Incorporate food into still lifes of food that everyone brings would be a fun experience and tasty too

  • Have a vocabulary list and pretend to be in a gallery. Have each person group up with someone and have them act like they are at an art museum and discussing the work displayed.

  • Pictionary type of game but using the art vocabulary activity

  • Take a picture of your focal point and see if it adds to the composition

  • More textured objects such a stuff with fur and scales paragraph some vocabulary term games to help us remember the terms better

  • Drawing actual people

  • Drawing charades they should be descriptions of a scene that has to be drawn and guessed.

Teacher Reflections
This 4-fold activity takes students back to a simpler time in their education when they worked with folded paper.  The bright color of the paper also eases the stress of the final exam time.  Making recommendations in this playful way opens students to looking back upon the class and making a simple critical assessment of their learning experience.  They are empowered to help design the next class for the next crop of students.  This activity models how students will be using their education upon graduation into the design profession.  I try to connect every aspect of the class to students' specific future in their chosen creative career.

I analyze and apply what I gain from this simple survey to examine course content and see where I can make the course more student centered. For example, I look for adjusting popular topics to sequence earlier in the term to motivate students early.  My take away from this set of data and from others collected is that students want to practice drawing people.  Another piece of actionable information is that many students find that drawing on black paper is almost EASY compared to drawing on white paper.  Finally I will have students draw the hand on the first day and on the last day to compare the change over time.

In summary, this simple survey provides actionable information that can easily improve student experience of this curriculum through minor changes in the existing schedule, still life objects, outside drawing and drawing from the model.   The next class will benefit.
Tags: student comments, teaching

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