Informal Course Evaluations

I often see questions about course recommendations. Thankfully, I have been told that the course evaluations should be back up and running by September. Until then I thought I would share some insights into courses that I have loved, struggled through, and bumped my GPA.

The course that I wish I had taken earlier in my program is English 353: Intermediate Composition. I initially hesitated because I needed a high mark as a prerequisite for my future courses. I found this course to be extremely enjoyable. It let me refine my writing without worrying too much about essay content. This course was not only a big GPA booster, but also a confidence booster. And I would highly recommend it to anyone who is going to be writing a lot of essays.

I took English 395: Nineteenth Century Literature at, probably, the worst time. I enjoyed the course immensely and found a new love of Nineteenth Century literature, but trying to read Vanity Fair in the summer with so many other activities proved to be difficult. The course itself was enjoyable, and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the readings, however I wish I had taken it in the winter rather than the summer months. Summer activities made it take much longer to complete this course than I had intended.

Most of the courses I have enrolled in I would take again, each taught be something about myself outside of the actual course material. I took EDUC 201: Profession of Teaching to test the waters of what teaching would be like. In my gut I knew teaching was not in my nature. However, I took this course to see if, perhaps, I was wrong. I was not. The course itself was a great introduction to what teaching would be like, I would recommend it to anyone considering teaching, or who is unsure of their path: it unwaveringly answered any doubt I had. But I did enjoy the readings and most the assignments, and it was a relatively easy course.

If you were to pose a question about course recommendations on the Athabasca University Facebook page I guarantee you someone will answer with Women and Gender Studies 333: Goddess Mythology, this will be followed by several people agreeing with the recommendations or exclaiming that they were “beat to recommending it.” I took this course and loved it. It is a great introduction to Women’s Studies and takes a unique look at history. I learned lots about the origins of religion and certain traditions. I thoroughly enjoyed all the readings and assignments. If I could I would take this course again and again.

As an English major, those six required science credits loomed over me. Luckily I had transferred in with three credits, and only needed one more course. I waited, hoping I would discover a course that would fit into my degree. Or perhaps I was just really hoping for a science credit without having to consider molecules, elements, or math. My English major prayers were answered with Computer Science 230: Storyboard Design/Development. This course was fantastic. It was a bonus that it fulfilled my science credit void. I was able to use my Fine Arts background to sketch out storyboards, I learned about telling an effective story, and did not have to do any math! This course also proved to be a great GPA booster.

There is one course, Philosophy 231: East Meets West, that I have a love/hate relationship with. The readings, while interesting, tormented me. It proved to increase my caffeine dependency as I would brew pots of coffee to keep my eyes open while reading the material. This worked fine until the excess caffeine made me jittery and I could no longer hold the book still?or maybe it was my eyes vibrating in my head? Either way, I enjoyed the assignments for the course, and found them thought provoking. I was proud of the work I wrote in this course and I do recommend it to others, though I warn that the readings can be dry. Despite the caffeine jitters and subsequent addiction, it did inspire me to seek further Philosophy courses and I am currently taking Philosophy 333: Professional Ethics.

It can be hard to recommend a course to someone when you do not know what they enjoy. An easy course for some may not be for others; it all depends on what you excel at. For a quick GPA boost I would recommend some of the junior level courses mentioned here. For a senior level course one that was recommended to me is Women and Gender Studies 422: Violence against Women. This course comes with a disclaimer to seek professional help if needed in dealing with some of the information presented. I found this course to be educational, but both disturbing and inspiring. I found myself entranced by the material, but at the end of some readings I would feel numb, even sick, and have to walk away for a while. However, it was incredibly inspiring, and I plan to continue research along these lines in some future studies. This course was also a great GPA boost?though it may have been my intense interest in it.

A course I thought I would enjoy, and struggled through, was English 433: Post-Colonial Literature. I thoroughly enjoyed all the assigned readings, it was one of the best reading lists I have had so far. But I struggled with some of the key concepts early in the course. My tutor was fantastic and pushed me to gain a better understanding. While I wanted to pull my hair out in the beginning, I ended the course on a high note.

Each person’s experience with a course is unique. Whether it is the subject matter someone loves or struggles with will affect the enjoyment. A course can have a great reading list and frustrating assignments, or great assignments and a reading list that leaves you with a caffeine addiction. Regardless, each course teaches us something, something about what we like, or what we don’t like; something we excel in that, perhaps, is unexpected, or something we thought we would breeze through and instead struggle from start to finish.

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature