Assessing and Reflecting Upon Teaching

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Teaching Reviews from Professional Workshops
I carry out both pre & post workshop evaluations for all professional development workshops that I host to help me to cater my teaching towards specific needs and to facilitate revision and marketing of future workshops. Here are some examples (full set of reviews found here):

This a rare opportunity to get ahead of the curve in learning about commonly used bioinformatics tools without having a strong bioinformatics background. The instructor was incredibly knowledgeable and charismatic, and the course was very enjoyable.

This 3 day Bioinformatics workshop provides a great introduction and very practical tips for efficiently navigating different tools to answer a variety of biological questions. The complementarity of the different approaches was covered well. Joanne is an excellent instructor explaining things very clearly and a great listener to the student’s questions.

2010 Workshop Participants describe the workshop, May 2010

Feedback from our Science Outreach Programs:
Launched in 2009, I designed and implemented a detailed survey to monitor effectiveness of our NSERC funded outreach program aimed at provided new field trip opportunities for Grade 9 students. As part of this evaluation, we monitored the number of students participating in the program as well as attitudes towards sciences and engineering. An abridged version of this survey was also extended to capture feedback from our other existing outreach programs.

Here’s some data about the field trip program aimed at Grade 9 students:

Year 1
# participants overall 1655
# participants in NSERC funded program 303
# teacher participants in NSERC funded progam 18
# schools visted 13
% of participants indicating increased interest in science and engineering 74%
% of participants motivated to pursue their studies in science and engineering 49%
% of participants considering careers in science and engineering 46%

Feedback from Grade 9 Students
If you were to recommend this field trip program to your friends for next year, “What
would you say?”

“You learn lots, it’s like connecting the dots you’re missing from what you learn in school” “It was an amazing field trip that helped me learn by the visualizing activities and I really understood the content after it was taught.” “It is a really cool experience of University & Science labs. It’s a lot of fun and you can get to see some of your own DNA and work in a real lab.” “I am more interested about Science.” “It was an awesome eye-opening experience, that taught me to look more into DNA and genes and just how complicated it is.” “It was so much fun with unique and creative learning activities, gets you excited for University” “You will learn about how science still has some unanswered questions. Also, this field trip highlights the fact that we are the generation where we make change in science!”

2009 Feedback from Teachers
If you were to recommend this field trip program to your colleagues for next year, “What
would you say?

“This is the best field trip I have ever taken students to in my 9 years of teaching” “I would strongly recommend (hope I can secure a date). Your students will be engaged with hands-on activities and a multimedia presentation that provides real-word connections + analogies to the learning outcomes.” “Students are engaged, thinking, asking questions!” “Excellent for Grade 9 life science curriculum. Absolutely relevant to prescribed learning outcomes” “It was awesome! Jam packed + interactive fun that kept grade 9s engaged for the
whole day! I’m on the wait list for next semester!”

Undergraduate Teaching Evaluations

In my mind, it’s important to capture feedback midway through a student’s term or through participation in a workshop, so that we can respond to any needs identified and/or implement student ideas. I regularly use online survey tools and paper forms to capture student comments in my classrooms. Sometimes I find that it’s hard to access the “official” student evaluations carried out at UBC. Hopefully, this will all change with new online system. I’m looking forward to electronic versions of teaching evaluations that can be easily accessed and shared. In the meantime, here’s a hodge-podge of student evaluations of that I’ve managed to collect from my teaching for the purposes of my own ongoing self-evaluation.

Undergraduate Student Evaluations of teaching

Micb405 Fall2008 Mid-Course Evaluation
MICB405 2005W Evaluations
MICB405 2007W Evaluations- Online
MICB405 2007W Evaluations – Scantron

Undergraduate Student Evaluations of course content


Continuing Education courses – participant evaluations


Professional Workshops – Teaching Evaluations by participants

This figure represents the average Instructor Evaluation score given by participants to all instructors involved in the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop series from 2003-2006. This score is based on an in-depth survey carried out at the end of each workshop. My score is shown with respect to the average across the list of faculty involved in delivering these workshops.

Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops - Instructor Evaluations

Student Initiated Feedback

Email received Dec 1st, 2005, from student in MICB405: Bioinformatics, 4th year course in Microbiology and Immunology, Fall 2005

Hi Joanne,I wanted to say thanks for a wonderful semester. Before this, I did not think that bioinformatics would be a field that I would consider going into but now I think I will be re-visiting the idea!

Email received Sept. 24, 2005 re: your bioinformatics articles on the website. I post this here mostly because the part about “being unlucky enough to be assigned a topic regarding bioinformatics” starts me smiling. By the time, I reach the “You guys are GENIUSES,” I’m totally chuckling.

I’m a biotechnology 1st year undergraduate studying in Monash University Malaysia. A few weeks ago, i was unlucky enough to be assigned a topic regarding bioinformatics…
Being the ignorant 1st year that i was, ieven begin to really graspwhat bioinformatics was all about, what more being able to write an essay about it…
Searching through various website, journals and articles, i found many literature regarding bioinformatics… but most of the articles written were very technical and very difficult to understand…
After chancing upon your website, i have learnt so much more by reading any one of your articles than i had searching through the web for the past weeks…
Geniuses are people who make things seem very simple…
You guys are GENUISES~!
Keep up the good work!

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