reviews

Fall 2012

This has been an interesting and challenging semester, but all in good ways. Initially, I felt so over my head with the content and the varied aspects of what instructional design entails that I was ready to bolt. Originally, I really did believe, like so many people, that ID was all about materials creation (Development). I was clueless about the other parts: Analyze, Design, Implement, and Evaluate. I now know that instructional design is a very involved process. It's not just about creating, it's about how you create to effectively impart knowledge. There is a great deal of psychology, intentional design, and context behind every ID artifact. (instructional design)

Being in a class and trying to gain a grade had to be placed outside the box and you, Dr. Veltsos, were not a concern. I was concerned with a dual role--trainer reading the instructions and student trying to figure them out. My voice and detail had to be moderated between these two poles. Not wanting to confuse a student and not wanting to bore or insult a trainer was my goal. I believe I did land on the equator. (instructional design)

Tackling each phase of the instructional design process as independent pieces of a greater whole kept the work from becoming too overwhelming. Doing this underscores how important it is to create a schedule, set deadlines, and communicate them to the client so you can discuss his or her expectations and stay on the same page through the entire process. Now I can see myself working in an instructional design role if the opportunity ever presents itself. (instructional design)

One of the hardest lessons to learn without experience is the art of timing. I noticed some of my peers really struggled with trying to cram too many activities into a class period. In the beginning, I knew that paying attention to timelines would be an important element to making the module realistic. Overall, I really did enjoy committing my time to this module over the semester. Usability testing was probably the most useful element, but it would have been nice to see it put into action. I think that is the best way to really determine if you did a good job with your instructional design. (instructional design)

I felt like there was no structure to the course and that things were simply fly by the seat of your pants kind of learning. I think adding more assignments to check the students undertanding would help with learning a lot. (researching and writing technical reports)

I preferred the experimental design to the course.  It was a nice switch from traditional style courses and it allowed groups to operate at their own pace. In terms of revision, there were times throughout the course where students were unclear of their responsibilities.  It would be nice to establish a clear timeline so students knew what was expected from them. I believe the workload for the class was fair.  Again, sometimes it was unclear of what was expected from students.  Other than that I enjoyed the course very much and I enjoy you passion and enthusiasm as an instructor! (researching and writing technical reports)

At first, I was very uncertain about the class. I really had no idea what was going on with the feasibility report, but now, I feel very confident of where I'm going. Having an agenda really helped me figure out how to handle my work for the feasibility report. If you do continue on this route, I would suggest getting into the feasibility report earlier in the semester. Towards the end, it got kind of hectic trying to get everything done. One problem our group had was we didn't get enough surveys and interviews. If we could have done this a little sooner, we could have had a lot of great responses and would have made the feasibility report easier. (researching and writing technical reports)

The design was a fresh change to learning on the classroom. But it is a strain on the students nerves about grading. So a free flowing discussion structure works very well for this class but adding a slightly more structured activities with grades attached would be a nice addition. That way the student can see their progress and how they are doing instead of just hoping everything is going well. (researching and writing technical reports)

i feel like the whole class was a mess because it was all over the place. in the future i would like more graded stuff, i felt like a lot of the time i didnt need to attend, even though i did. the workload was light, but i would say group projects and stuff are lame because you rely on too many people. either make it individual or smaller groups (researching and writing technical reports)

I think the experiential learning design worked; the biggest problem with it was that at the beginning of the semester, the horizons are so far off as to feel abstract and unreal.  Bringing in some sort of structured format, the occasional quiz or paper, earlier in the semester would help to close that gap and get students close enough to that final horizon that it starts to feel real. Using something that will have multiple deadlines would probably help immensely.

I liked the "experiemental learning design" - it may not be the best thing for procrastinators but I enjoy working on my own pace and that was nice to have in class.  As far as suggestions for future projects, one thing I noticed was a lack of communication among the three different groups, my group had great communication within the group, but we did not have very much contact with the two other groups.  I think if once a week all groups met together as a whole and gave status updates/reports it would've been a bit more smooth. (researching and writing technical reports) 

While I did not enjoy all aspects of the data collection process, it was a great learning experience for me.  I don't think any part of the project should be changed other than the format.  I was glad that the format got changed to memo instead of formal report.  It would have been a valuable experience writing the formal report for the first time but after learning that a majority of readers would only be interested in a portion of a such a large piece, the memo seemed much more efficient. As far as improving assignments, I think most assignments were reading assignments that most people did not do.  I think you should add D2L quizzes on the chapters/articles to ensure that they are being read.  If the D2L quizzes were worth points I think more people would do the reading - other than that I do not see any areas for improvement and I enjoyed being in the course.  Thank you (researching and writing technical reports) 

I really enjoyed the less structured style of class. There were points in the semester that I was worried about grades and what we were doing, but as the semester progressed, it became easier. (researching and writing technical reports)

You should keep the experiential design.  It showed me more about the real work place than a traditional structure ever could. (researching and writing technical reports)

I feel experiential learning format is the very well suited to this course. The freedom that this format affords, really enables us to employ personal creativity while doing the research. One element that really helped me in the course are the reading materials, pod casts and other items that were provided apart from the prescribed text. I would think a short weekly or biweekly individual writing assignment (example- a memo detailing our progress) This might be an additional burden for the student but it has benefited me before usually in retrospect.  (researching and writing technical reports)

Spring 2012

I liked the m-Provise simulation. There are a few little bugs and things that may still need to be worked out, but overall it made what could have been (honestly) a boring subject a lot more enjoyable. Some students have questioned why an intern is doing all these things at a corporation, but they're just too stuck-up and literal anyway. (business communication)

[The green light grading scale] is fair, however very odd. I have never had this grading scale before so it is just different. It maybe better if you were eligible to get 1 more yellow light or not have to do an extra credit assignment to get an A. (business communication)

I like being able to see all the criteria of each light [on the grading scale] so I know exactly what I need to aim toward for the best grade. (business communication]

I liked the grading procedure because it gave us a chance to write the document and if it needed fixing we had a chance to revise it.  I think this helped me learn from my mistakes. (business communication)

I thought that it was the best way to grade this course, since it was an internship environment, you wouldn't be graded so much as having your work be up to quality and expectations. (business communication)

Spring 2011

From a student email: "I feel compelled to write to you about my experience with our research project. You told us everything we needed to know to succeed; you gave us tips and examples and even 'mini steps' in the process. I believed everything you told me. Unfortunately, I did not follow your advice and am suffering for it now." (researching & writing technical reports, spring 2011)

Spring 2010

I was surprised by how much I learned about presentations when I reviewed ours. I became aware of how I could have improved mine, information I should have included, and mistakes I made. Although I was not looking forward to the research e-conference (I was ready to be done w/school :) ), I listened/viewed some of the presentations multiple times. Great exercise. (researching & writing technical reports, spring 2010)

I wish I had the knowledge I've gained while doing [the employment] assignment a few weeks ago when I really did apply for this job. My correspondence was not written nearly as well as it could have been, but hopefully it will still make the cut! I do appreciate the feedback on all assignments, but especially this one as I continue my search for a new job. Maybe I'll have the chance to use the resignation letter. (writing for the workplace, spring 2010)

I very much enjoyed the career plan assignment, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I remembered what you said about bragging about oneself, so there is some of that in there, too. (business communication, spring 2010)

Fall 2009

Jennifer is a great teacher who really does like to help you understand this confusing and boring information. She is a great help. (researching & writing technical reports, fall 2009)

I think because this was the first time Jennifer had taught the class, it was difficult for her to konw how long certain projects would take and maybe didn't know how to use all of our in-class time, but other than that I think she did a great job. (researching & writing technical reports, fall 2009)

Needs a more firm deadline on projects. I need order or I will procrastinate.(researching & writing technical reports, fall 2009)

Very knowledgeable and approachable. Gives good timely feedback that is helpful.(researching & writing technical reports, fall 2009)

More discussion of chapters on methods and research findings would help us see a correlation among them. (researching & writing technical reports, fall 2009)

Weakness: The instructor assigned a LOT of work, and sometimes it felt
like she couldn't possibly grade every paper from every student in every section with the
detail that was expected (by some). Most students probably wouldn't care. (technical communication, fall 2009)

The only weakness was the lateness of handing back assignments, but with this
writing assignment, I understand why it would take a while to hand them back. (technical communication, fall 2009)

Strengths: Generating documents of various types at breakneck speeds. Paying attention to layout as much as content. Business cards were something I had never thought about. Letter heads I will probably use again. Methods for technical definitions I will definitely use again. All in all, this class is voted "most useful since typing 101". I definitely appreciated the extra attention she was willing to give to developing documents for other classes / obligations. (technical communication, fall 2009)

Suggestion to improve the course: A bigger warning label? This class moves fast. But to remain valuable, this is probably necessary. (technical communication, fall 2009)

The grading procedures seemed very fair to me. (technical communication, fall 2009)

Excellent. I always knew how and what I needed to do to succeed, and that is rare. (technical communication, fall 2009)

She is a very hard grader which is unnecessary since all the students that were in my
section of the class had this course as a requirement for their major, none of which were
technical communication majors. (technical communication fall 2009)

Was not always as organized as she could have been. (technical communication, fall 2009)

I've never had to put so much effort into a single course just to barely get by, which gave
me an opportunity to practice working under lots of pressure, and coping with stress. (technical communication, fall 2009)

The grading techniques were very well explained and fair. (technical communication, fall 2009)

It would have been nice to have some grades back a little faster but overall I like that she
explained why points were taken off. (technical communication, fall 2009)

Spring 2008

"Lots of work. Harsh grader." (technical communication, spring 2008)

"Tough grader. Mrs. Veltsos applies her experience from a real work environment to the material she teaches." (technical communication, spring 2008)

"Strengths: Enthusiastic, knows material.
Weaknesses: Too much work required for some projects, not always 100% clear on instructions" (technical communication, spring 2008)

Grading Procedures: "too hard but somewhat fair" (technical communication, spring 2008)

"Strength: good assignments that relate to reason for class.
Weakness: need to show examples of past assignments so we know what she wanted in the assignment" (technical communication, spring 2008)

Fall 2007

"Very knowledgeable about various types of business communication and provided many sample documents for each week's topic to supplement the reading material." (workplace communication, fall 2007)

"She knows her stuff, makes it relevant, has interesting assignments" (workplace communication, fall 2007)

"Strengths: very knowledgeable, prepared, organized" (workplace communication, fall 2007) 

Spring 2007

"The strengths of the class sessions was doing activities and working in the computer lab to help improve our writing and assignments. The weakness was not always being fully aware of requirements and expectations." (business communication, spring 2007) 

"I enjoyed some of the assignments, such as resume. It was helpful." (business communication, spring 2007) 

"Strengths: plenty of time given in class to work & ask questions. Weaknesses: a lot of assignments that weren't relevant (wiki, web portfolio. Put more emphasis on daily communication practices than large projects. Weekly memos in multiple formats would have been good." (business communication, spring 2007) 

"I feel I have grown intellectually under the direction of the instructor...I gave Jennifer a high rating among other instructors. Had to work hard to achieve a solid grade." (business communication, spring 2007)

Fall 2006

"I had always heard horror stories about this class being a lot of busy work. I felt the class always tied into things I would be using in real life. I have already been able to make use of several strategies taught in class. I especially appreciated the helpful hints with technology--real time savers." (business communication, fall 2006)

"Jennifer Veltsos presented the course material in a creative manner. The assignments of this class will benefit me in my future writing. I felt that she was one of the hardest graders I have ever had." (business communication, fall 2006)

"In comparison to other instructors, Mrs. Veltsos requires a lot from her students. I like this for it implies a general concern for our education; she actually wants us to understand and be prepared. Keep the writing workshop--that was extremely helpful!" (business communication, fall 2006)

"Unlike other English classes I have taken, this class challenged me. Although at times I didn't enjoy all the work, it was nice to be challenged by the instructor and as a result I feel my writing has vastly improved. Jennifer has been one of my favorite instructors at ISU. She displayed great knowledge for the material being taught and I would feel quite comfortable conferring with her in the future for resume and other business communication assistance." (business communication, fall 2006)

"Strengths: had to think a lot about assignments, assignments dealt with real workplace experiences. Weaknesses: too much work, assignments were vague and only distributed on the web. I believe she was knowledgeable about the subject and used a lot of good examples to illustrate what we were learning. She graded a bit harder than other teachers I believe." (business communication, fall 2006)

Spring 2006

"The teacher is strict but gives more time on assignments and they are usually easier than other professors. An overall average teacher that will definitely help if you ask too. Very simple to get a B." (first year composition II, spring 2006)

"My instructor taught me many writing basics and helped pull me out of my strict writing style and format...I needed to be more prepared at times and need to speak up more, but that's just not my personality." (first year composition II, spring 2006)

"Very good! I think that you are a very good teacher because you (1) like your job, (2) you can relate to us, (3) easy to work with, (4) strict but not too strict. Thanks!" (first year composition II, spring 2006)

"The biggest strength was we spent a lot of time on each topic so we could learn it well. That is also a weakness since we didn't cover a lot of different material...I think our instructor did a good job at getting the things we needed to know through to us well. We had tough assignments but they were still interesing enough to get us through." (first year composition II, spring 2006) 

Fall 2005

"I think I've grown intellectually because instead of reading some article, especially arguments, I now don't just take it as it is, I question it." (first year composition II, fall 2005)

"I thought our instructor liked the topic and that worked to help us all learn, but sometimes things just couldn't be made interesting by her." (first year composition II, fall 2005)

"The most valuable thing I learned was how to support a thesis." (first year composition II, fall 2005)

"She is a good teacher but a very hard grader." (first year composition II, fall 2005)

Fall 2004

"Her grading is too harsh. To get an A your paper has to be nearly perfect and that's unfair." (first year composition I, fall 2004)