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University of Pittsburgh

Office of Measurement and Evaluation of
Teaching

Dear Professor Benjamin Miller:

Student Opinion of Teaching Questionnaire Results

This form contains survey results for WRITING WITH STYLE(ENGCMP-1510)-1090.

Attached is a report in PDF format containing your Student Opinion of Teaching Survey results from last
term. The report is best viewed and/or printed in color.

The evaluation results are broken down into three distinct categories. The first part of the report shows a
breakdown of student responses to the quantitative questions. For each item, the number of students (n)
who responded, the average or mean (av.) and standard deviation (dev.) are displayed next to a chart or
histogram that shows the percentage of the class who responded to each option for that question. The
percentages are above the number on the rating scale which increases from left to right, i.e. the number
1 equals the least favorable rating and the number 4 or 5 (depending on the scale) equals the most
favorable rating. The sum of percentages will equal 100%. A red mark is displayed on the chart where
the average or mean is located. To calculate how many students responded to each option, multiply the
number of students who answered the question by the percentage for that option. For example, if 14
students answered the question and 50% responded to option 3 then 7 students marked option 3 for that
item (14 x .50 = 7). The standard deviation is a common measure of dispersion around the mean that
may be useful in interpreting the results.

The second part displays individual comments to each question in the open-ended section of the
evaluation. All the responses to the first question will be listed together after the first question and then
the responses to the next question will be listed together after the next question, and so on.

The final part gives you a profile of the student responses to the quantitative section of the evaluation.
This is a chart listing all of the means for the scaled items with a dashed red line connecting the means.

If the number of respondents for any of the scaled items is fewer than seven, please be cautious in
interpreting the quantitative results.

Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET)
Professor Benjamin Miller, WRITING WITH STYLE(ENGCMP-1510)-1090

Professor Benjamin Miller
WRITING WITH STYLE(ENGCMP-1510)-10902164_UPITT_ENGCMP_1510_SEC1090
Spring 2016
14 RESPONDENTS = 82.35% OF NUMBER REGISTERED

1. SELF RATINGS

1.1) 0% 7.1% 50% 42.9% 0%
Compared to other courses at the same level, the Much less Much more n=14
av.=3.36
amount of work I did was: dev.=0.63

1 2 3 4 5

1.2) 7.1% 7.1% 0% 57.1% 28.6%
In this course I have learned: Much less Much more n=14
av.=3.93
dev.=1.14

1 2 3 4 5

1.3)
The grade I expect in this course is:
n=13
A 76.9%

B 23.1%

C 0%

D 0%

F 0%

Other 0%

2. TEACHING EVALUATION

2.1) 0% 0% 0% 35.7% 64.3%
The instructor presented the course in an organized Hardly at all To a very high degree n=14
av.=4.64
manner. dev.=0.5

1 2 3 4 5

2.2) 0% 7.1% 7.1% 42.9% 42.9%
The instructor stimulated my thinking. Hardly at all To a very high degree n=14
av.=4.21
dev.=0.89

1 2 3 4 5

2.3) 0% 0% 0% 35.7% 64.3%
The instructor evaluated my work fairly. Hardly at all To a very high degree n=14
av.=4.64
dev.=0.5

1 2 3 4 5

2.4) 0% 0% 0% 42.9% 57.1%
The instructor made good use of examples to clarify Hardly at all To a very high degree n=14
av.=4.57
concepts. dev.=0.51

1 2 3 4 5

2.5) 0% 0% 0% 21.4% 78.6%
The instructor maintained a good learning Hardly at all To a very high degree n=14
av.=4.79
environment. dev.=0.43

1 2 3 4 5

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2.6) 0% 0% 0% 14.3% 85.7%
The instructor was accessible to students. (Do not Hardly at all To a very high degree n=14
av.=4.86
answer if no basis to judge) dev.=0.36

1 2 3 4 5

2.7) 0% 7.1% 0% 35.7% 57.1%
Express your judgment of the instructor's overall Ineffective Excellent n=14
av.=4.43
teaching effectiveness: dev.=0.85

1 2 3 4 5

2.8)
Would you recommend this course to other students?
n=14
Definitely not 7.1%

Probably not 7.1%

Probably yes 28.6%

Definitely yes 57.1%

2.9)
Would you recommend this instructor to other students?
n=14
Probably not 7.1%

Probably yes 21.4%

Definitely yes 71.4%

3. ENGLISH COMPOSITION AND WRITING ADDITIONAL ITEMS

3.1)
Were the instructor's comments on your written work helpful in enabling you to improve your writing?
n=14
Not at all 7.1%

To a small degree 7.1%

To a moderate degree 21.4%

To a considerable degree 35.7%

Very much 28.6%

3.2)
Were the class discussions helpful to you in enabling you to write your papers?
n=14
Not at all 7.1%

To a small degree 0%

To a moderate degree 42.9%

To a considerable degree 28.6%

Very much 21.4%

3.3)
Did the course enable you to see the importance of writing to you as a student at a university?
n=14
Not at all 0%

To a small degree 14.3%

To a moderate degree 7.1%

To a considerable degree 21.4%

Very much 57.1%

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3.4)
Was your instructor available to meet with you on an individual basis?
(Do not answer if you did not seek help.)
n=11
Never 0%

Seldom 0%

About half the time 0%

Usually 18.2%

Always 81.8%

3.5)
In general, has this course made you aware of what to do to improve as a writer?
n=14
Not at all 0%

To a small degree 7.1%

To a moderate degree 7.1%

To a considerable degree 42.9%

Very much 42.9%

4. TEACHING COMMENTS

4.1)
What were the instructor's major strengths?

Ben did a great job at keeping us engaged and interested in the related course material. I accomplished a lot in this course and am happy
with the material that I learned.

Ben was always in a happy joking mood and kept the classroom environment lively. He was also always available to meet and really had
a passion for teaching this course.

Enthusiastic!
Casual to the point of relatability; comfortable for me to talk to him
Knowledgeable and answers 99.99% of spontaneous questions adequately
Super engaging and has interesting stories/analogies (to some people like me)
Super organized on how he sets up the class (wikidot) and updates that regularly and timely; great/effective use of technology
Allows us to write freely and isn't judgemental of what we choose to write, inviting us to have open minds
I appreciate the puns and bringing science into this writing class

Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, accessible, organized

He maintains a fun and friendly attitude during class, making us all feel welcome to speak or voice our opinions.

+20 against poor sentence structure

Organization. Assigning a steady, manageable amount of work. Giving supplementary material. Keeping class room environment
engaging.

Organized and efficiently uses class time. Engaging and clearly interested in what his students are saying and writing.

I would not complain if Ben taught every class I ever took.

Positive environment, fair work evaluation, easy to talk to.

Professor Miller excells at clarifying conundrums by illustrating a solution with an example, emphasizing the choices one can make as a
writer, and encouraging students to apply the lessons in class to whatever kind of writing they please.

Set very clear expectations at beginning of semester
Wiki site was a great way of keeping up with assignments and seeing what other people were working on

TECHNOLOGY!
Great supplementary materials as well as the text book
Class organization

The vast amount of examples and exercises was and will continue to be extremely helpful. Also, the class was run very smoothly/had a

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very comfortable feel to it.

easy to get along with. Did not talk down to students as many writing instructors do.

4.2)
What were the instructor's major weaknesses?

Hmm... I don't think there are any MAJOR weaknesses. Honestly, I just think Ben could have been a bit harder on us, feedback-wise.
Maybe he could have pushed us a bit more.

I don't think he personally had any weaknesses as a teacher, but this was also my first writing class in a few years.

None come to mind.

Nothing I can think of

except -10 against fire, as are we all.

Perhaps relied on the one textbook too much, at the expense of some of the other, more interesting readings and handouts.

Sometimes the class exercises were boring and tedious and nitpicky

Sometimes we didn't get feedback in a timely manner.

The instructor did not incorporate broad examples of "stylistic writing" into the course and instead singularly used the how-to book by
Bacon called "Writing with Style." He never wrote on the board, and rarely attempted to teach a lesson that had not already been
presented in the book. I could have learned the exact same amount of information (assuming that I learned anything useful at all) by sitting
at home and reading the book from the comfort of my couch. Although his wiki website and daily class plan looks sophisticated, the
instructor did not impress me at all. The class merely consisted of reading the book, doing the activities for homework, and "workshopping"
whatever sort of writing piece we chose to bring in, whether it was something students threw together at the last minute or had written for
another course. There were no stakes to the class, and I felt no growth as a writer. Coming from a English Writing major, I found this class
useless.

at one point could not keep up with the influx of awesome writing coming in, and before that there was increasing delay in when we get our
feedback back, and when we did I wish it was more in depth, though I realize that I have unrealistically high standards and what I imagine
is not very feasible for a professor to do for with 20 kids in his class... so this comment represents MY ideal, but not the practical.

5. COURSE COMMENTS

5.1)
What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

It is sometimes good to be aware of one's use of grammar and the grammatical structure of one's writing. Becoming more aware of
grammar itself has been my biggest positive takeaway.

Learning how to diversify my writing through revision and practice exercises

Not only did my written language improve but I feel like my spoken language has improved as well. I feel like I think in writing and when I
speak it's just reading what's written in my brain. Kinda cool I guess.

Also, not sure if this is causation or correlation but the number of job interviews I've received has increased and I feel as though it's on
account of better cover letters.

Now I have a SWEET reference book for writing with *style*. Also, this course was beneficial in helping push me out of my punctuation
comfort zone.

Practice through writing exercises, workshop groups, and the text of the course were all helpful to me as a writer.

The examples and exercises! The text book was great, too.

The readings were easy to grasp and the exercises helped solidify the readings. Though the small groups after spring break helped
encourage more creative writing. Thanks to the books the writings have come across as more interesting, sentence wise.

There were a few moves in my writing that I wanted to improve or wasn't sure how to incorporate into my work that this class solved for
me. It also gave me an opportunity to dig into my imagination and write anything I wanted.

Understanding the importance of writing well and with style, and being able to recognize when something is weak. (Though I think now I
have turned into one of those peer editors that entirely tries to turn their work into my own style)

Good balance of revision and learning technical skills

Weekly writing assignments, workshop, and Ben's willingness to always assist when needed.

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Whole-class workshops! Getting feedback from twenty people simultaneously is such a great opportunity.

Also, while the wiki page took a little getting used to, it's so much more helpful than Courseweb.

5.2)
What suggestions do you have to improve the course?

Don't go changing.

Full-class workshops don't bring out as much substantial and valuable critique as small-group workshop. Maybe split the class in half for
the larger workshops? Also, on some non-workshop days, we spend way too much time on one aspect of sentences and/or grammar

Hmm... maybe focus more on dissecting sentences as a group? And put a heavier focus on what stylistic choices do for emphasis. Bacon
talked about that, and the class would bring it up, but I think I would have liked to explore that a bit more.

I think that "Writing with Style" is a misnomer for the course title, and needs to be modified if the content is to remain the same. I assumed
that I would learn how to stylistically enhance my writing through observing the style of different writers and analyzing their use of word
choice, voice, theme and yes, grammar. This course focused only on the need for grammar, and made me almost feel like I was
regressing as a writer, as I was re-learning things from middle school. As an advanced writing course, I expected to learn how to make my
writing better overall, not to zoom to the point of talking about a single sentence for an entire hour. Thus, my suggestion is to 1) rename the
course to indicate that it is grammar-based OR 2) change the course so that it teaches students to "write with style" in a way that is more
than just grammar-obsessed. I would have loved to compare the styles of different famous writers and to learn about what they do
differently and how they have created their own stylistic voice.

I think the quizzes work better as oral class activities where everyone can weigh in with different opinions at the same time.

While the small group workshops were extremely helpful, I think they might have gone on a week or so too long. At some point the
workshopping got a little stagnant toward the end because we kept bringing in the same three pieces that we were going to submit in the
final portfolio.

I would have liked to do one more workshop with the whole class, though I'm not sure it would be time permitting.

Maybe change the platform for sharing work... I understand the thought process behind wiki dot but it really wasn't super accessible to
someone like me who isn't particularly internet savvy; not to mention the formatting restrictions :P

None come to mind. Most of the course activities were well-balanced across the term.

The only thing that caught me off guard was having HW due twice a week. I know it wasn't much, but for all my course HW is usually due
once a week. I found myself stressing over these assignments quite often.

none-- great already

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Profile
Subunit: A&S-ENGLISH UPPER LEVEL
Name of the instructor: Professor Benjamin Miller,
Name of the course: WRITING WITH STYLE(ENGCMP-1510)-1090
(Name of the survey)

Values used in the profile line: Mean

1. SELF RATINGS

1.1) Compared to other courses at the same level, Much less Much more
the amount of work I did was: n=14 av.=3.36 md=3.00 dev.=0.63

1.2) In this course I have learned: Much less Much more
n=14 av.=3.93 md=4.00 dev.=1.14

2. TEACHING EVALUATION

2.1) The instructor presented the course in an Hardly at all To a very high
organized manner. degree n=14 av.=4.64 md=5.00 dev.=0.50

2.2) The instructor stimulated my thinking. Hardly at all To a very high
degree n=14 av.=4.21 md=4.00 dev.=0.89

2.3) The instructor evaluated my work fairly. Hardly at all To a very high
degree n=14 av.=4.64 md=5.00 dev.=0.50

2.4) The instructor made good use of examples to Hardly at all To a very high
clarify concepts. degree n=14 av.=4.57 md=5.00 dev.=0.51

2.5) The instructor maintained a good learning Hardly at all To a very high
environment. degree n=14 av.=4.79 md=5.00 dev.=0.43

2.6) The instructor was accessible to students. (Do Hardly at all To a very high
not answer if no basis to judge) degree n=14 av.=4.86 md=5.00 dev.=0.36

2.7) Express your judgment of the instructor's Ineffective Excellent
overall teaching effectiveness: n=14 av.=4.43 md=5.00 dev.=0.85

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