Below you can find the courses taught in quartile 1.
The course was taught by Sander Dommers and is one of the mandatory courses in Year 1. It is well structured and everything is nicely organized and accessible on Canvas.
In 2021 the lectures were livestreamed on Teams. They were well-structured, but no explicit information was said. In the lectures the professor was mainly reading the text from slides and no extra information or explanations were given. Without any interaction between the students and the lecturer, the students become easily distracted and the lectures harder and harder to follow. Therefore, many students stopped watching the lectures and as they considered as more sufficient studying on their own from the uploaded slides afterwards. This led to many students slacking behind and not being able to catch up with all of the material until the examination date.
A conclusion that can be drawn from many talks with students, is that the lectures should be more interactive and engaging with the viewer. Different forms of (graded) quizzes can be added, which may also contribute to higher students’ attendance. Moreover, offline lectures will be more appropriate for this course, due to the need of direct communication between student-teacher in problem-solving cases.
The weekly online tests were a nice exercise of the material and relatively easy for most of the students. A disadvantage that they had was that they were not always accepting true answers as correct and a person had to solve a task a couple of times till the program accepts his/her answer.
However, many people considered the final exam harder and not comparable with exams from previous years that were given as an example. Similar for the midterm examination, many students were surprised of the level of difficulty, compared to the homework and the online tests, which were easier.
The homework that the students were given could be optionally sent to their tutor, but it was not graded. Hence, due to the lack of grade weight, many students were not sending their solutions for a check. However, this method of weekly test of knowledge of students proved helpful in many other courses.
The workload of the course is overall manageable. In the beginning of the course some basic information from high school is revised, which is misleading the students about the course difficulty. The material from week 3/4 till the end of the quarter gets harder and harder.
The concept of having tutor hours is very good, but for many students it do not turns out as helpful as it sounds. The reason for this is that many people do not take part in the discussions and some of the tutor does not talk about anything till they are asked a question. Maybe mandatory presence and turned on cameras would improve the effectiveness of these meetings. Moreover, there was lack of coherence between the discussed theme in the tutor hours and the deadlines of homework. In many cases, the homework was explained after it was already submitted. As most effective method of introducing new information was an explanation of the subject followed by a short example, which explains the basics.
The course was taught by Emiel van Berkum and all of the necessary information was always on canvas and easy to find.
The lectures were livestreamed on Canvas. The contents were explained quite well but there were multiple connection issues, both when watching live and when watching the recordings, due to too many people watching at once. This is mostly the university’s fault however, as they claimed that they were ready to have entire classes online when in fact they weren’t. They did however manage to fix this eventually so it shouldn’t be an issue for future courses.
While the online tests and the midterm exam were well received, most people found the final exam to be too difficult, especially compared to exams from previous years and to the exam for calculus variant 2. However the class average for the final exam (4.1) didn’t stray much from last year’s (4.2). Furthermore both the first and the last open questions were standard questions for their respective topics, while the second question should have been recognized from the homework.
Many students also found that the final exam didn’t accurately represent the course since there was a heavy focus on integration but the lecturer reminded us that integration occupied almost one third of the entire course.
We brought up providing more difficult exercises in preparation for the exam as a possible solution. The lecturer stated that that was the purpose of putting the previous exams on canvas but, since the answers were also given, it’s probable that students only understood the answers to a specific question without fully understanding how to solve it.
A common issue with the online tests was that, along with the lengthy exercises, setting up proctorio had too much of an impact on time constraints. We mentioned that it would be better if we could do it outside of the time dedicated to the exam. While this is currently being discussed by the people responsible, it is not yet possible to do on ANS at the moment. Another solution to manage time better is to allow copying and pasting with LaTeX, since this format is very much encouraged but also takes a lot of time to type out. Since copying and pasting to cheat would be picked up by Proctorio this shouldn’t be a concern and will therefore be taken into consideration for future exams.
On average the amount of time students dedicated to the course lined up with the number of credits (140 hours) and the workload was manageable and helpful for the course.
The overall structure of the course and the setup of the Canvas page received general praise.
The tutors were approachable and knowledgeable about the subject but in the end didn’t provide much help with mastering the subject. We therefore spent some time discussing how the tutor meetings should proceed. The group sessions usually worked because students would help each other but this didn’t always translate well online where many people would switch their webcams off for the duration of the meeting. The conclusion was that keeping the webcams on should be more encouraged without being pushed too much.
The course is very complete and covers all the necessary basics. The lectures overall received positive comments from the students as they were clear enough to follow and the media used (slides and working out problems on the screen) helped with the overall experience.
The feedback on the teachers and student assistants was mixed based on each individual’s experience. Considering the academic backgrounds of every student, some felt that they benefited from aids like tutor sessions while others felt that they didn’t need this help or that their tutors weren’t helpful. However, this last point can be targeted with the final course survey where students answer questions about their tutors. Nonetheless, students could easily contact responsible teachers for any serious problems or complaints, so communication was positive.
Additionally, though very complete, the course structure was odd at times, with jumping back and forth topics both in lectures and the book. However, it is understandable that the structure depends on the relevancy of the topics in relation to the other courses the students have to take in their departments. Thankfully the book offers a short explanation and overview at the beginning to help with this.
As previously mentioned, the lectures were overall easy to follow and the livestreams worked well.
Some comments received by students about the interactive clicker questions recommend spending less waiting time for the questions that could be used to solve even more problems. However, livestreams are a bit behind so the clicker questions are difficult to answer in time for those not present at the live lecture. Overall, the clicker question idea is a good way to engage with the students but there seems to be little students actually participating in them, probably due to the technical difficulties. A possible solution for the time problem is make the questions a minute long, and start it sooner, while warning students at home about the time. Another problem was that the system sometimes didn’t respond so students didn’t really use it since after a few tries without it working they thought they wouldn’t try again anymore.
There weren’t remarks about the exams. The general consensus was that the examinations were reasonable with the content that we were taught and any difficulties were mainly due to each student’s efforts and responsibility, as well as their background education (for example the students that hadn’t done calculus before and had to work harder to catch up).
There were few complaints about the workloads. It seemed like the majority of people were satisfied by the amount of work expected from them and didn’t have trouble keeping up.
During the classes that we had twice a week we covered a lot of the syllabus. Using this knowledge, we needed to complete the assignments and the online testes. Not only was a very comprehensive study guide provided but also a extra supplements (document with common errors, past papers, and extra material outside the syllabus)
A lot of people didn’t go for their tutor meeting as they taught they were ineffective.
Some of the tutors didn’t use the time effectively by going over the homework and difficult questions.
Some of the tutors gave the students all the answers to the workbook.
The online tests went well.
During the lectures the professor used a lot of slides, which he also uploaded on canvas.
The theory was followed several clicker questions. This helped us understand the theory however the questions were much easier than the online test and exams.
Not a lot of people used the clicker during class.
Providing useful exam materials such as the old midterm tests, guidelines and common errors.
Maintaining the difficulty of the midterm and final exam.
Reviewing difficult chapters before the exam.