Sample Course Evaluations

The following comments represent a small sample of narrative course evaluations written by students at the conclusion of a course taken with me. To highlight how these comments provide evidence of my teaching effectiveness, I have organized them according to a set of representative teaching strengths. Farther down, I have also listed and responded to student comments that suggest areas for improvement.


1.) Developing Critical and Curious Thinkers

“My experience with this course has been extremely positive. Dr. Colvin was an amazing professor with an extremely evident amount of passion and intelligence. This course was a large catalyst in a new perspective and outlook that I have developed this semester. I was surprised at how much of the class was relevant to current events and…race relations.”
-Introduction to literary studies student, Fall 2015

“I admire Dr. Colvin’s appreciation of creativity and flexibility with projects and papers in terms of ideas–she helps her students come up with incredible topics for papers and presentations. She is so open-minded–our final presentation was arguing for an aspect of American literature to be studied in the classroom that she had left off of the syllabus. Her respect for students is phenomenal, she has helped me become a better reader, writer, critical thinker, and person in general.”
Literature survey student, Spring 2015

“This class has been really intriguing and challenging both for me as a student but also a human being and member of society. Before this class, I was very indifferent to the issue of climate change and global warming. I didn’t know what to believe and held no opinion on the matter. However, after many class discussions I can say I am no longer ignorant nor uninformed. Because of this class, I feel like I can contribute to change. I can make more informed decisions and share what I have learned with others.”
-Advanced interdisciplinary seminar student, Fall 2014

2.) Engaging Student Learners with Enthusiasm and Interest

“Dr. Colvin is one of the most enthusiastic and passionate professors in the Eng. Dept. She cares immensely for students and is always willing to go out of her way to promote the well-being of the class. She has a rare sensibility about her that makes the class educational and enjoyable.”
-Literature survey student, Spring 2015

“Probably my favorite professor so far at Emory. She is incredibly smart and seems to love the subject matter which makes class enjoyable. I would 100% tell other English majors to take her classes.”
-Introduction to literary studies student, Fall 2014

“You have done an incredible job this semester. I have greatly enjoyed your class and would highly recommend it to many of my friends and peers. I have to admit, this is one of the few classes I’ve taken in college that I have read every word of the reading that’s been assigned. I have to attribute that to your choice of literature and enthusiasm of [sic] the material. The Blackboard posts help me to focus from the week’s reading and the class discussions helped to tie everything back into the topic of the class. You always seemed extremely confident and ready every class.”
-Interdisciplinary seminar student, Fall 2012

3.) Building Writing Skills and Confidence

“Overall, I learned so much and have definitely become a better writer and will use what I’ve learned in class to shape my behavior in the outside world. Dr. Colvin has a positive attitude, is approachable, enthusiastic, willing to help her students, encouraging, and truly concerned with students taking away greater knowledge from her class. Her feedback is so helpful and she does a great job at pushing her students to reach their full potential.”
-Advanced interdisciplinary seminar, Fall 2014

“I truly enjoyed this class. In high school, I thought about my writing as something separate from myself. I didn’t really embrace the opportunity writing gives to express one’s opinions. In this class, I really cared about my responses to questions/prompts and therefore enjoyed writing so much more. Thanks for being a great professor!”
-First-year writing student, Fall 2010

4.) Teaching Interdisciplinarily / Teaching Across the Disciplines

“As an economics student who does not enjoy writing, I can confidently say that this is and will be one of my favorite classes of my college experience and I attribute almost all of that our instructor, Dr. Colvin. Not only is she one of the most enthusiastic and engaging professors I have ever had but she had the confidence and abilities to let the students take such a large role in their own learning. Dr. Colvin was never scared to offer genuine and influential and thoughtful input on assignments in progress and those already turned in, as well as engage in inside and outside the classroom discussions. This teacher is the best. Do not ever let her leave.”
-Introduction to literary studies student, Fall 2015

“Simply stated, Dr. Colvin and her course impacted me greatly and changed my perception of the humanities as an academic discipline…I hope the prior statement is powerful and indicative of how great Dr. Colvin has been in not only helping me to appreciate and come to really like poetry but also develop as a more clear, concise writer. Dr. Colvin has helped me appreciate and desire a more holistic, liberal arts education.”
-Introduction to literary studies student, Fall 2014

“I can say without a doubt that this class has been one of the best and most interesting classes I have ever taken. More importantly, for the first time I actually enjoyed reading and participating in an English class. I remember all too well in high school that my English teachers did not like me as a student because I did not have the same interpretations or conclusions about certain texts that my teachers had…Professor Colvin was the exact opposite. She welcomed different interpretations as long as you could support your claim. She enjoyed and wanted people to critically analyze and assess literature…If anyone can make a science-oriented person appreciate and love an English class, that person deserves to be an educator.”
-Interdisciplinary seminar student, Fall 2012

5.) Teaching with Technology

“As a visual learner, I very much appreciated her use of technology in the class in conjunction to discussing the readings. I think its one of the most progressive lit courses I’ve ever taken between the somewhat unknown readings and way of instruction. I feel like my writing has not only improved by my mind is more open.”
-Literature survey student, Spring 2015

“Dr. Colvin strives to incorporate our modern day society into a traditional classroom setting through creative, yet concise, “Multimodal” assignments…[They] allowed me to relate to our readings in a way other than text–something rarely seen in English class settings.”
-First-year writing student, Spring 2015

6.) Establishing and Maintaining an Inclusive and Collaborative Learning Space

The course “was structured so that no matter what kind of learner you are, as a student there would be one aspect/assignment which you could be comfortable/succeed in…Honestly, at first I really did not think I was going to enjoy this course because I thought it would be too concentrated on one subject, but because we involved all differing types of mediums the course was not only kept interesting, but most importantly, it was kept fair!”
–First-year writing student, Spring 2015

“Ms. Colvin is without doubt one of the best teachers I’ve had at Emory. Her class is structured very well and incorporates various methods of student engagement such as papers, presentations, and blog posts, not to mention stimulating class discussion. Two things strike me in my evaluation of Ms. Colvin. First, Ms. Colvin is very interested in what the students have to say, so much that the students are incentivized and encouraged to participate. Second, Ms. Colvin has a clear passion for teaching and the subject matter involved in the class. Ms. Colvin, more than most other teachers I’ve had at Emory, knows how to relate to her students and encourage them to pursue their unique interests within the context of the class.”
-Interdisciplinary seminar student, Fall 2012


1.) Student comment: “I found that this course had an unsettling vagueness of the grading criteria, however, was very manageable in the amount of work it required.”
-Literature survey student, Spring 2015
C. Colvin response: Since reading and considering this student’s comment as well as other comments that request clarity in terms of grading criteria, I have modified my courses in two concrete ways. First, when responding to student writing, I reference the course grading rubric’s categories of evaluation and specific language. In this way, students see the connection between the grades they receive and the vocabulary of the rubric, minimizing the ambiguity of grading criteria. Second, I make my expectations for assignments explicit by connecting each assignment to a Course Learning Outcome: students then see how each assignment helps them reach a particular Outcome or Outcomes. I help students see the connections between assignments and Outcomes through descriptions on syllabi, verbal explanations, assignment sheets, and official class emails. Further, because I design scaffolded, sequential assignments aimed to help students develop as confident and independent critical thinkers and problem solvers, my grading criteria must be capable of accounting for the range of choices students can make in response to the demands of a given assignment. As a result, I exercise grading criteria that are flexible yet attentive to students’ desire for clarity, a balance I strive to achieve so as to fairly and consistently assess varied, frequently multimodal student compositions.

2.) Student comment: “I was not the biggest fan of the blog entries, but I understand that we needed some sort of weekly assignment. I would have preferred a different one, if possible.”
-First-year writing student, Spring 2012
C. Colvin’s response: I have found that students are often divided on the topic of blog entries: many of them enjoy and appreciate a weekly, consistent informal writing assignment; others find the constraints of a weekly blog entry challenging to maintain thoughtful investment in. In response, I still design my courses to ask students to write every week, but recently I have begun to vary the genre of writing I ask students to produce on a week-to-week basis. For example, at least once a week students write either a draft of a paragraph, a multimodal analysis of a website or commercial using screen-capture software, a response to a peer’s composition, and/or summaries of academic or popular articles. During other weeks, students develop or revise a formal essay. In this way, students write a minimum of 350 words every week, and they do so while gaining a familiarity with a range of modes, genres, and rhetorical situations.

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