Our first year biological science undergraduate students are given electronic voting handsets in return for a £10 deposit to use throughout the year with us. One of the first courses that they use the voting handsets in is BS1020 Study and Communication skills.
I’ve done a quick comparison of three years worth of data we have gathered from the first lecture in the series. Here is the module is introduced and the students asked a few simple questions to get used to using the handsets. the data comes from 2007, 2009 and 2010 (we had a bad year in 2008, don’t ask!). The data are presented as percentages for ease of comparison. We always find that number of students voting increases as the lecture continues, either because they are still trying to find their handsets, or perhaps their confidence grows once they realise that nothing bad is going to happen if they get it wrong.
We have had around 100 students in these lectures, but this year we have around 130. The actual maximum number that voted for each year in this lecture is:
- 2007: 63
- 2009: 76
- 2010: 99
As you can see very few students have used these handsets before:
After this first (is this thing on?) type question, we get onto more serious stuff:
This gets more votes than the question before and usual raises a laugh even on a Monday morning. Good to see that this year’s students are more responsible fewer have had nothing for breakfast!
We are very aware that our main method of in-course assessment is the essay, the likes of which students are unlikely to have written at A-Level, so we introduced a question to see whether this was something that was new to them.
I had tweeted that I thought that this year a high proportion of students had written essays this year than last year, but actually I was way of the mark, as the results are not that dissimilar. We do still find essay writing a problem, so perhaps it is the nature and structure of the essay that is different from A-level as Becca suggested:
The course is about skills development, so we ask them what they would like to improve upon, which is perhaps the most interesting of the questions:
Looks as though our current students think they are a lot more organised than in previous years!