Friday, 7 November 2008

Reflections on the first presentation

'quiet I'm thinking' by Grant MacDonaldOn balance, the first presentation of the course went really well. We had a bunch of great students from a diverse range of countries and occupations, some terrific tutors, and better-than-average course results.

There were hiccups, of course. Firstly, I was off sick for many months, which meant that the course team had to collectively pick up the many crucial tasks of the course chair. My deep thanks to them.

Secondly we had some really bad luck that led to unfortunate chopping and changing of tutor groups for some students. My apologies to them. But everyone pulled together, ably supported by our experienced tutors, and some really interesting projects were produced.

We've also learned a great deal from our students, through the forums, blogs and the end-of-course survey. And thanks to them we've been able to cut down substantially on the reading required, we've made the assessment more straightforward, and we're re-balancing how the various online discussion tools are used. The 2009 cohort will see the direct benefits of this excellent feedback.

I know it's probably really bad form in a blog to blow your own trumpet too much, but when you're creating an innovative course like H809, you never quite know how it's going to work out. And we know, in any case, that research courses are hard work for students. So we were delighted that so many of our students had such positive experiences...
"What I really needed was THIS course. A very innovative course in methods and contents, truly inspiring, full of ideas, new solutions, readings from all over the field and the world, and so on. I am very happy indeed that this course was opened!"

"... a key ingredient, having started the course feeling like others apprehensive and intimidated, way out of my comfort zone, what has enabled me to face my fears much better is the positive and supportive environment that is evident in this course."

"I enjoyed it very much. It's a great course, great staff and great students, too."