Student Perspective: Tanya Shum, 4th year International Relations and French

This blog post was written by a student who has participated in MEoTs. Feel free to leave any comments in response. To share your own experiences as an instructor or student, submit an entry of your own!

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Hi, my name is Tanya and I am an International Relations and French major in the Faculty of Arts. I have done some MEoTs in a couple of my classes, and I have found that they are quite a valuable learning tool in the classroom.

How did having your instructor conduct a MEoT positively impact your experiences of your course?

In one of my courses I did a MEoT that I found particularly beneficial. The professor distributed a set of questions, with a comments box at the bottom of the page, collected them at the end of class, and discussed them for about 15 minutes the following class. One feedback point given was a student requesting that the professor give us a few discussion topics to think about prior to each lecture. Before each lecture we had around 60 pages of reading, and were expected to come to class prepared to discuss the passage. Before this, we would read the passage required for the day almost blindly, and be expected to have meaningful discussions on the themes and various important elements. As a class we discussed the possibility of having questions to guide our reading beforehand, and why we thought this would be beneficial. Many students expressed that preparing for each lecture without discussion questions was difficult. The professor then incorporated this feedback, and for the rest of the semester, she gave us three questions via email a few days before each lecture. We found that we were able to focus our readings and keep in mind the questions as we read the passage. This allowed us to be better prepared for class, and we found later that the discussion flowed a lot more smoothly, and we were able to really go into the subject without having to recap what the particular chapter was about. This was a big time saver.

This was just one example the things my professor tweaked for the term due to our MEoT. There were also some suggestions that the students put forth, but that the professor did not incorporate. What was positive about her response to these, though, was that she even mentioned these concerns but explained why she could not address them or why she could not change what she was currently doing. I think this was quite positive as she provided good rationales for why she did not change something, and, when appropriate, she figured out a compromise.

How could your experience with the MEoT have been improved?

For the particular example I mentioned above, I think the MEoT could have been improved if my professor had mentioned that she would be doing a MEoT midway through the course right at the start. My professor just mentioned it to us on the day of, which did not give us much time to think and reflect upon how the course could improve for the second half. If we had known since the beginning of term, we might have been able to give fuller answers. I have also heard of some professors who invite feedback all throughout the term, and encourage students to voice their concerns at any point during the semester. I think this ongoing dialogue would be very positive for the students’ classroom experiences.

Was there anything that surprised you about the process of participating in a MEoT?

Overall, I think what surprised me about the MEoT was the fact that the quality of lectures and discussions greatly improved based on the MEoT results. Students felt more prepared for class, the atmosphere of the class subsequently lightened, and readings did not always seem as burdensome.

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