Open, honest communication and constant dialogue with my students is a priority in my courses. I achieve this consistently every semester by offering my students an anonymous way to voice their concerns, opinions, and needs about the course.
I emphasize to my students that this is their opportunity to participate in shaping the course, and that I consider us collaborators and co-learners.
At the beginning, mid-point, and near the end of the semester I encourage my students to complete an anonymous survey through Blackboard, D2L Brightspace, Qualtrics or whichever university platform is suitable.
The Beginning of the Semester Survey allows students to shape the course; I use this feedback to modify assignments, deadlines, or course material to encourage students’ existing topical interests, accommodate students’ desired modes of expression and learning, and — most importantly – accommodate students who have been less academically, financially, or otherwise privileged. (I have typically taught at institutions where students are adult returnees to college, or are working part of full time to pay tuition and expenses, or have low GPAs.)
Below is some of the feedback I have received.
There were so many [AHA! moments]!!! I found myself stopping in the middle of readings or documentaries to call my boyfriend or message my friends because I was just so stunned by certain things in history and found it to be so interesting. The documentary on eugenics really shocked me, that was a history I had no knowledge of before this class. And the American Indian boarding schools, I had NO idea that ever went on. Overall, LOVED this course!! Seriously changed my entire perspective on history and I learned many new things in this class. – History Student, Summer 2018
I cannot thank you enough for bending over backwards for me. It truly means the world to me. I appreciate your kindness and your advice. I know that at the next level I will have to be on my P’s and Q’s if I am going to survive…I truly cannot accurately express my level of gratitude in words. Sometimes it feels like you never get a break until you get one. – History Student, May 2017
I am really enjoying this course!! I have a new found love for history and I can honestly say I enjoy reading the text and watching the videos. I really love this course. I used to think I did not like history but I have been proven wrong. – History Student, Summer 2018
“I have been able to take much away from this course. To start I can walk away with confidence, this was one of my first two courses I have taken getting back into college after a decade out of school and I must say I was extremely nervous to start back. Not only was I out of school for so long but I chose two courses that I had absolutely no background in, Introduction to Anthropology and World Regional Geography. I feel great about the experience I had in this course, I learned so much about something completely foreign to me and have done well.” – Anthropology Student, Fall 2018
I really enjoyed this course because it gave me a deep appreciation for history. I thoroughly enjoyed all the readings and documentaries, they were all very enjoyable and interesting. I liked the way the course was set up and I thought it was not too hard to be successful in this course if you put the work in. I thought the material you provided was interesting and a lot of it surprised me, I learned a lot this course. I really liked that because I enjoyed the material I learned it and remembered it very well. I think I have learned more and retained more knowledge in this course than I have in my previous courses. – History Student, Summer 2018
“This course is very interactive, and not at all in a stressful way. The classmates actually get to know each other rather than just getting to know the material. The classroom becomes very friendly and open by the second week of class. Everyone seems to understand that there are differing opinions and sharing those opinions becomes almost natural and fun to do. We learn more about people in general while also learning about the people around us, and that makes the class very interesting. This class also gives you a lot to think about. There are topics for interview questions that I have never even considered before and it was fun thinking of my own responses, learning about myself and creating new opinions, and also learning about the person next to me and how he or she differs from myself. There is never a dull moment in this class because everyone participates in discussions and the instructor is very open and energetic. Overall, there is a fun but educational feeling to this class. I have never had a class that has taught me just as much scholarly material as it has taught me about myself.” – Anthropology Student, Fall 2018
I really enjoyed the teaching style and the topics we discussed. It was also extremely nice to have a class that I didn’t have to stress excessively about because I know that you are understanding of other class work and accommodating. I also really enjoyed the final project. I had a lot of fun and I was able to use a lot of my creativity with it. – History Student, Fall 2018
“I was lucky enough to take [ANT 120] with Professor JoAnn LoSavio who’s philosophy of teaching made the class worth it. The course covers a variety periods covering human existence, culture, our ancestors, and much more from ancient beings to present day. This course allowed me to think outside of the box, worth on assignments at my own pace, and it truly opened up my imagination. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in social sciences, or Anthropology itself.” – Anthropology Student, Fall 2018
I liked how you explained everything into depth and gave examples when explaining certain things that were hard to understand. – History Student, Fall 2018
“I have taken a lot away from this course [ANT 120]. I have learned that my culture isn’t “right” and what other people do isn’t “wrong”. I wish more people knew this specifically. I have also learned that there’s a special mindset of openness that comes along with being an anthropologist, where instead of casting judgement right away you try to understand the reason why a person or group of people do something. That’s a really cool way of looking at things, and I hope I can carry that into the rest of my life.” – Anthropology Student, Fall 2018
I think the biggest moment for me was when a direct connection between the lasting effects of colonization and the world today was stated. Before then, while I was very well aware of what colonization was, I always wrongly assumed that once colonization had officially ended, that that was the end of that. However, the connection between the colonization and the idea that it had lasting effects was a “A-Ha!” moment for me. – History Student, Fall 2018