December 23, 2020

Freedom: What Students Say

I didn't write anything at this blog during Fall semester, but I wanted to add a new post now! In the past, I've collected comments from students evaluations about grading and about creative work... and I decided to go back through past course evals collecting all comments related to FREEDOM. You can see the results below! (These comments go back to Fall 2010, which is when my school went digital on course evals.)

The numbers refer to these prompts in the evaluation form:
1. What were the strong points of the course?
2. What were the weak points of the course?
3. What should the instructor do to improve their teaching?
4. What is your overall opinion of this course?

As you'll see, the students have remarks both about freedom TO (freedom to work at their own pace, to write in their own way, to choose the readings, etc.), and also freedom FROM (stress-free, free course materials, etc.). My recommendation: design for freedom in every way you can; your students will thank you for it.

Here are the comments I found searching for free* in the evaluation archive:

cat holding felt-tip pen. text: Freedom to write.

1. I love the freedom and the creativity that was allowed in this course.

1. Freedom for independent thinking: We were never put into a pen. I have taken classes (both online and in-person) where the professor would say what information each paragraph should consist of in our writing. By doing this, those classes have always felt like I was supposed to be checking boxes rather than learning. However, Laura has given us the opportunity to be creative in our work.

1. I really enjoyed the creative freedom in this class. I was able to write stories that I was interested in and got great feedback from both the teacher and the other students.

1. The pace of the course and freedom in writing and the readings

1. Freedom to do what I want!

1. great, easy class; prof was awesome and encouraged free thinking.

1. Loved the format of the course and that she offered free options for the reading material.

1. Giving your students (mostly) free reign of the class structure, exploring cultural and mythological backgrounds for inspiration, affable instructor personality, student and instructor feedback on stories

1. I really liked how we had so much freedom in this class to write whatever we wanted. I also felt that I became a stronger writer through this class.

1. The class really encouraged creativity and gave students the freedom to express themselves through their assignments. 

1. I loved the variety of reading options that were available. The stories were interesting, and the course work allowed me to freely choose about what I wanted to read or write about. I also love the fact that there were no specific deadlines for work to fit anyone and everyone's schedules.  

1. Gibbs encouraged critical thinking, free thinking, and writing. Writing about the lessons was a fantastic way to learn!

1. huge amount of creative freedom that made the class very fun

1. I loved the freedom. I truly felt like my success was facilitated at every turn.

1. The self-grading was definitely a nice feature. Also the ability to work at your own pace and the freedom to choose your own readings. This class afforded me freedoms that I was not granted in any other class. I felt like I was being treated like an adult for once. 

4. It was a lot of work, but it is probably one of the best courses I have taken at OU simply because of the freedom that I was afforded.

1. Students had the freedom to work far in advance on their assignments and to turn in extra credit in order to make up for missed assignments.

1. The allowing of students to write about what interested them. I appreciated the freedom we were provided in this class.

1. The course is online, which offers the instructor freedom to the chance to give interesting and original assignments that coincide perfectly with the material being covered.

1. I liked the freedom to work ahead. Access to most of the coursework allows students hold students accountable for their own grade. I enjoyed diversity of the material and the quality of the content.

1. Professor Gibbs, the interesting assignments, and the always appreciated feedback on our work all made this class incredibly strong! Additionally, being offered the freedom of taking the course online as well as the freedom to be creative added to the course, and Professor Gibbs was so very organized that it was a very well run class!

1. This course is probably the best I have ever taken at OU. Wow! It required a lot of work, effort, and time, but I learned SO MUCH. The subject matter was interesting, and the assignments were worthwhile, but not too difficult, and ensured our understanding of the material. The entire course was so flexible, which was AWESOME! I could work ahead, take a break, or just move at my own pace. I loved the freedom I had, but also the accountability. 

1. Laura encourages independent thinking and ownership over the work by giving us the freedom to choose topics for our projects and allowing us our own creative liberties. There was structure, but not too much, and she was so personable and helpful via email. 

1. I was so impressed with everything. I enjoyed this class so much! The course load sometimes felt a little heavy, but there was the freedom to skip things or get ahead if we wanted.

1. I liked that we are able to create a schedule for ourselves at the start of the semester to fit around other classes and work. I also liked that we can pick out our own readings and have so much free reign in terms of writing stories.

1. The amount of freedom we had! I loved seeing how each and every one of us got to pick topics that we each found interesting. Reading other people's blogs also helped me broaden away from my interests through seeing someone else's passion for that topic. 

1. personal freedom and creativity allowed.

1. I cannot say enough positive things about this course!!! I learned so much about a culture that I am completely unfamiliar with. Dr. Gibbs stimulated my free thinking, writing ability, and enjoyment of learning! I think this course improved my writing ability more than any other and gave me the confidence to write more. 

1. I loved the creativity that I could use throughout the class. I loved the fact that I was given a lot of free-will to go about and write what I wanted to write.

1. I love that this course is self-paced and allows students the freedom to explore topics they are interested in. Laura has done an amazing job of collecting stories and formatting this course in a way that is accessible and fun!

1. Completion based grading really helped give freedom for students to try new things in their writing without worrying about how it will effect their grade think the different types of opportunities were helpful and the freedom to choose alternative assignments was nice

1. The freedom to complete the course at your own pace.

1. The creative freedom

1. Fun assignments, minimal costs for materials, lots of freedom and flexibility

4. This is the best course I've taken at OU, and I wish I could take it over and over again!  Laura was a delight to work with and provided great feedback on our assignments, and she's done a fantastic job of creating an online course free of frustration or tedium.

1. She encourages a lot of creative freedom and positive reinforcement to help keep her students on track, interested, but also developing. I loved that I was never worried about making an A or a B because I was more focused on getting my work up to par so that everyone in class was excited to see it! It's a motivation I didn't realize I had until the class was near the end.

1. This class allows a lot of creative freedom which I love!

1. I enjoyed the freedom to read from other cultures. My story book project was a lot of fun and my favorite part of the course. I enjoyed the blog set up of the assignments, and the extra credit assignments. These provided nice alternative assignments for when I did not want to complete a specific assignment.

1. I loved the freedom to choose what we got to read and write! There was a lot of room to grow and explore throughout the course and that was really great.

1. I enjoyed having the freedom to work ahead, self-grade and get the course done early, as well as the freedom to choose the readings and the direction of the stories.

1. Professor Gibbs provided an optimal learning environment that was stress-free and comfortable. She gave excellent detailed feedback with lots of resources. This course allowed students to work at their own pace. 

1. Having the option to do what we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted. I think that she was very encouraging, and that she was very good at nudging us in the right direction. I also think that the free reign on our creativity in the class was very cool. It was a nice break from writing classes that want a regurgitated form of the rhetoric they expect.

1. Lots of freedom! I haven't felt so in control while taking a course before.

1. I liked that you can work ahead to finish assignments. This gave me more freedom to complete the workload when I had the time.

1. Freedom of structure and self-determination, a wide range of reading materials available.

1. Freedom to write, not writing for a grade but just to write, so many opportunities for extra credit

4. It was very fun and I learned a lot! I really liked that I had the freedom to write just to write rather than for a grade

1. Love all of the readings and actually being able to pick which ones I wanted! Really love all of the freedom available from being able to pick a portfolio or a storybook to choosing which readings to focus on.

1. Loved the freedom and that it was online

1. I loved this course so much! I loved that I was able to pick the readings I wanted to do and didn't have to just read what I was told to read. There was a lot of academic freedom in this course, which I really appreciated.

1. Laura is great. She really allows you to think freely and write in creative ways.

1. The Internet setup and the ability to freely voice our opinions and not be criticized for our creativity.

1. There was a lot of freedom in this course, allowing each student to cater to their own interest.

1. The freedom to be creative and put our own perspective into the stories was amazing. I've never taken a class like this before, and I loved every minute of it. The blog format was easy to use and fun to be able to have my own website and documentation of my progress of the course. The extra credit was also pretty fantastic; I loved the grading system.

1. Having a weekly schedule made sure I was still active with the class, but it still offered the usual freedom that online classes give. I was able to work ahead if I wanted to, which helped me fit the assignments around my other school work. I also liked that we focused on a wide range of cultures and that many of them were fairly unknown to me.

2. I wasn't the biggest fan of the blog posts but we had a lot of freedom to choose what we wanted to write about.

1. It provided some freedom to do the assignments at your own pace, as online classes tend to.

1. FREEDOM TO WRITE. I thought it was so awesome that we could write about a certain topic however we wanted. I haven't written this much since high school, and I actually enjoyed it.

1. I was able to work at my own pace, within a specific time frame; the assignments encouraged creative thinking and helped keep my writing skills sharp

1. The freedom we had in the course was great. We were able to work at our own pace and everything was spelled out for us. Nothing was confusing and Laura made it very easy for us to keep up with deadlines.

4. I thought this course was awesome because it gave us so much freedom to do the work whenever we wanted to. It was also good because as long as we did the readings and the writings we would get a good grade. This was new for me because usually everything in previous classes was graded hard. This took the pressure off worring about getting an A or B and actually learning the material. 

1. We got to choose our own topics and gain a personalized understanding of the material. The online format was set up amazingly well and really facilitated the learning experience. I love how writing-oriented this was and how much freedom we had to get the best experience possible out of it.  

1. I think this might be the first class I have ever taken that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject matter going into the class. Because I never got lost or overwhelmed I was able to stay engaged with the class all the way. I really enjoyed everything we learned and I was also able to have the freedom to delve into specific topics within the class that interested me.  

4. I really enjoyed this class. It is a great way to gain exposure to classic literature, and since all the literature is free online, there are no textbook costs.

1. Allowing the student creative freedom.

1. If you did the assignment, then you got the points which I like. You are free to work ahead which is good. Assignments were simple which was good. The instructor provided feedback and interacted with students which was really cool.

4. I really liked the structure of this course. You were free to work ahead if you wanted.  There was also no assigned books and everything was provided at the course webpage which was awesome.