End-of-Semester Last Step - Review

Dear Faculty,

Congratulations!  You’ve survived another semester … the students have now seen their grades and your course’s materials are filed away in preparation for a relaxing summer.  But there is one last step that you really should consider … writing a note to your future self about the course while the challenges and successes are still fresh in your mind.   This really just requires making a few notes for the next time you teach the course, or maybe for the next instructor.  For example, you might be thinking:

  • How could students have bombed that question on the final so badly?  Was this just a less than stellar exam question, or do the students need more practice on the topic?
  • I’m starting to understand this concept of learning outcomes.  Maybe I should write some specific ones now before I forget what is important for them to learn?
  • How can I avoid the most common student complaints, concerns, and issues in the future?
  • What questions or topics came up the most in office hours? 
  • How did I end up having to cover 3 weeks of the course in the last two lectures?
  • Why are we still teaching about vacuum tube circuits in this course?
  • I had really great fun teaching X, but both the students and I fell asleep covering Y.

The problem with these ideas is that they are usually forgotten by the time you next teach the course, and we often find ourselves facing the same issues over and over.  A Post Course Review, nothing more than writing these thoughts down now, can give you a real advantage next year.

Attached is a template of one possible Post Course Review, along with an annotated version giving a sense of the detail and tone.  Changes you suggest aren’t binding, but it is easier to capture ideas now for future consideration.  This is primarily a document to your future self, but can also be shared with your department curriculum committee to enhance the overall curriculum.

Have a great summer after you complete your Post Course Review.