Instagram account: uhhh_mari_socy
1. What did you most like about this course? What will you most remember from this course?
One thing that I truly loved about this course is that instead of having us read information straight from the textbook, you took the time to have us read meaningful and very informative articles focused on the topic that we were working on that week. I really felt like I learned a lot more doing that than if we just had to read out of a vague and not very informative textbook. I will definitely always remember the statistics that you had us read about housing inequality and the myths about crime and immigration, as I found these to be my favorite and most important topics throughout the semester.
2. What could make the course better? Anything goes here. What could I do as a professor to make your experience better? Anything goes here, too. Please remember that I really value honesty and I am genuinely open to and grateful for all feedback you provide.
There was nothing that I disliked about this course, I think as a professor you did such a great job in assigning us work that is valuable. I truly enjoyed this course, even though it was entirely online.
3. This is a 15 week course and there are sooooooo many things to cover. With the parameters of a 15 week course in mind, what are other topic you wish we had been able to cover?
One thing that I wished we did was have a week where we focused just on Richmond. What is a social issue that is happening around Richmond? Why are these issues important to us, even if most of us are only here for our college years? It would’ve been very interesting to dive into some local issues because just like many major cities, Richmond has its problems as well.
4. Are there any topics within the course that you found especially interesting? Particularly boring? Things you might suggest leaving out next semester? Doing more of?
Although I truly loved the topics that we covered before the midterm, I thought that they were a little boring. I liked reading about the history of the city because I felt that it was important to the class understanding how a city was built and how the city life began, but I felt that maybe something could’ve been done to make it more interesting. Maybe expanding on the history of the city by making it into a small project or even something that future students may post on Instagram about in greater detail?
5. What did you like/not like about the cities of focus approach? For me, I don’t think I’ll do both San Francisco/Oakland next semester as a combination. I would like to hear what you liked/didn’t like as well as any ideas of other cities that you wish we had chosen (like Richmond, for example).
I liked the cities of focus used for this class, but I do feel like Richmond could’ve been one of them, mainly because this could’ve been a great opportunity to explore the problems within the City of Richmond and why they are important, as I mentioned earlier. I do like the possibility of not using San Francisco and Oakland as a combination. Another good city in California to possibly use for future classes is Los Angeles in my opinion. I say Los Angeles because it has a multitude of issues such as education and housing inequality, education inequality being the main reason that my mom moved us out to Virginia (if you ever want to talk about this in greater detail, let me know!).
6. What was your experience using Instagram? What did you like/not like about it? What would make it even more amazing/useful? Side note: When I was a student and professors would assign “comment on 3 other discussion posts” I sorta really hated it. Because of that, I don’t make commenting on other students’ posts a requirement in my classes. Other ideas of integrating Instagram outside of that kind of approach would be really helpful.
I love very much that you use social media for class topics and such. My only issue is that although I am on social media, I am one of the few millennials that is TERRIBLE at using and/or posting on social media (sorry in advance for when you look at my Instagram posts :/). I think that it would be really cool to continue using social media for your future classes because a lot of my issue for using Instagram for this class was personal accountability so I do apologize about that.
I very much agree that asking students to comment on each others’ work is kind of pointless, as you would typically just get everyone saying “I agree with….”.
7. Talk to me about the exams. Mostly tell me your ideas of things we could do *other* than an exam that would measure your knowledge and engagement with course topics. Or tell me that you love exams and to leave them alone.
I do like your exams and not having to know specific facts. Your exams were also very informative, helping me in re-learning the information as I am taking the exams. If you were to decide to do anything other than an exam, I would say a semester-long project would be pretty cool to do. For example, maybe a semester-long individual or group project about a city of focus? I know that you can likely run into problems with accountability though so I’m sure you’d use this idea at your own risk.
8. What else would you like to say as your end your very last blog post?
First, thank you for reading all of this! I know that it must get tiring or repetitive reading through all of these posts every week, especially if you’re just reading feedback from students. This was absolutely one of my favorites classes at VCU and I have learned more than you would ever think from you, even without ever doing anything class-related in person or on campus. I truly have enjoyed taking this class and I hope that you have enjoyed teaching it. Also, thank you for even caring about student feedback. I know that professors say that they care, but it seems like most don’t, so I appreciate how genuine and open you are about receiving feedback from students. Thank you for a great semester Dr. Boutwell, it was wonderful to end my undergraduate career at VCU with such a amazing class!