Earlier today, Derek Bruff (@derekbruff) tweeted a link to a Wordle done by graduate student Jessica Riviere. Jessica blogged about her Wordle, so check out this link for what she had to say. Her Wordle contained data from her teaching evaluations and what her students had commented. This was clever and fun and it inspired me to make one as well.
I used my course evaluations done by College of Charleston students during the last academic year (Fall 2011 through Summer 2012). Altogether I have data from eight courses (covering several sections of Elementary Statistics, Pre-Calculus, and Linear Algebra) for a total of 114 evaluations. To make the data collection easier, I restricted my focus just to the “Comments on Instructor” and “Comments on Teaching” prompts. This meant ignoring data from sections called comments on “Organization,” “Assignments,” “Grading,” “Learning,” and “Course.”
The most frequently used words were: and, the, to, I, is, she, a, class, was, of, her, Owens, with, Dr. Several of these were removed by Wordle since I had chosen to “Remove common English words.” I also removed my first name and corrected some misspellings (ex: “explaiend” to “explained”). I enjoyed the following word counts: awesome, 6; funny, 5; humor, 5; and enthusiastic, 9.
Glad I could pass along some inspiration, Kate! What I like about this representation of one’s course evaluations is that it helps show patterns in those evaluations. It’s often the case that we instructors focus (obsess) over one or two negative student comments. Creating a word cloud of one’s comments is a quick and easy way to identify patterns and ignore outliers.
And because of that, it’s a safe way to share one’s evaluations online, a practice I like in principle but isn’t always comfortable in practice.
Thanks for sharing!