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Week 6B: Midterm Course Evaluation

Anne Dalke's picture
meredyd's picture

So far, this class has been

So far, this class has been very different from any I've ever taken - it's more shaped by the students and less by the professors, more collaborative and less set in stone. Sometimes that annoys me, and other times I think it works really well. I like that everyone has a chance to voice an opinion, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that we're encouraged to use unconventional (and often visual!) means of expression in our assignments. I think the fact that the class is online too, and there's often discussions going on there while different discussions go on in "real life" sometimes makes it seem like there are two different classes happening. I think our readings have gotten progressively more interesting as we've gone on. I think we sometimes spend too much time talking about how we're going to do things and not enough time actually doing them, but we're getting better.

w0m_n's picture

Midterm Evaluation...

I'm really enjoying this class where it has gone and where it is going. It has been engaging and challenging, and most of all it is raising questions about gender and sexuality that don't necessarily have answers. It is refreshing to delve into a course subject without the assumption that there is a definite answer if only we looked to scholarly journals for the answer. Instead it has been more of a journey that as a class we are taking together and exploring it's space. Moreover, I'm all kinds of excited for the disability unit we're doing. It brings a whole new world of questions and exploring that I didn't anticipate.

rae's picture

syllaship. heehee.

actually, i don't really have anything to say about our syllabus/syllaship; i just still get a kick out of the word.

moving on, though, i've really liked this class. i've had to readjust my expectations a bit (and recognize that i'm probably not going to learn something completely new and life-changing), but it's been really great having people (and especially this forum) to talk with/to about gen/sex stuff. i remember coming to college, especially right after Tri-Co (the summer diversity one), and being all excited about having deep conversations about random stuff and important issues....and then being really disappointed when that didn't really happen that much. and i really like the forum and the ability to share thoughts, and hear other people's thoughts, in a more organic sort of way (maybe organic isn't the right word, but not in the form of "we are here discussing an article in class" or "we are now at a meeting or special discussion in which we will talk about things for the next fifty minutes and then go back to our lives until the next queer multicultural summit next semester, for example").

and the fact that we were able to create the second half of the course (or at least, the topics and books) as a class is really cool. i've never had a professor do anything like that. maybe let us choose the topic of the readings for the last week of class or something, but never this amount of agency. so that's great.

Oak's picture

Everything's going pretty well

I like this class. I like our discussions. I really liked Waist High in the World, and though it may not have up-front connections to gen/sex, they're definitely there. I'm really really really looking forward to Kate Bornstein. The more I find out, the more excited I am. It took me a few minutes too long in class Tuesday to realizes that I needed to stop looking at My Gender Workbook and start paying attention to the lecture again.

I also like that we're getting to know each other a little better than we might in another class. Doing the name thing and having the (sort of) personal aspects to our papers makes me feel more like I know who I'm talking to (if that makes sense) which is kind of important because this is the kind of class that deals with personal, touchy subjects.

LizJ's picture

I don't know what to say

I don't really know what to write about this class other than so far it has exceeded my expectations. I have enjoyed reading and writing practically every assignment and therefore don't have much critique. I'm excited for the second half of the syllabus and will be sad once this class is over. I never really know what to say on evaluations unless there's something truely terrible about the course, and in this case, there isn't.

So there it is. I don't know what else to say.

holsn39's picture

Keep Talking


This class has been really interesting so far and personally successful because I've learned a lot about myself. I think that my favorite part about this class is that the readings and discussions we have inspire me to research the subjects of gender and sexuality in all aspects of life. I think I have definitely benefited from learning about gender and considering various realities of gender meaning. My favorite part about the in class time is our discussions and the online follow-up. I agree with what some other people have expressed, I also think that we don't always get to talk about every subject thoroughly.  I'm not sure if this is just because the class time isn't very long or maybe it's simply the nature of the class. I would like to hear more personal perspectives and stories about our readings and other subject matter.  I really have no idea how other people are redefining themselves and/or their perspectives on gender and sexuality, I mostly hear analysis of the readings that are assigned. I'm not afraid of debate, defensiveness, offensiveness, disagreement... etc. It seems to me like everyone agrees about most main ideas but I want to know what people disagree on about gender and sexuality because that’s how we challenge each other.
I also really like all the images, videos, and other multi-media sharing that everyone is participating in online.
I think the rest of the syllaship looks great and I'm very excited for the rest of the semester. I already love the "waist-high in the world" and "gender workbook".

All I have to say is everyone KEEP TALKING and keep thinking 'active experience.'



CCM's picture

Two-thumbs up!

This class is by far one of the best classes that I have taken during my college career. I would say that out of everything in the course I have really enjoyed our class discussions the most. As a result of the safe space that we have created I feel very comfortable expressing myself. Furthermore, I love the fact that we are always in an active discussion that leaves me feeling intellectually satisfied. All in all, I have truly enjoyed hearing a range of perspectives on different issues and I look forward to learning more from my peers as we proceed with the second half of this semester.


On another note, I would love to set up a time/place where we could meet outside of class. Sometimes I feel that we don’t have enough time to devote to a particular topic. Therefore, it would be great if we could meet in small groups outside of class to continue a particular discussion. Additionally, it would also be fun to have movie nights where we can all get together to view one of the movies that have been assigned or even watch other related movies. Maybe we could even use these meetings as another opportunity for writing posts on the forum (i.e. getting credit for attending outside talks/events). All things considered I am very happy with how things are going and I look forward to getting started with our new syllabus.   

cantaloupe's picture


Often in discussions with my friends I mention some reading, a class, or various other topics that pose the question, "what class is that for?" to which I respond gensex, which almost undoubtedly is followed by "oh, do you like that class?"  I find that I give different answers a lot of the time.  It is never yes or no and the answer probably takes longer than an average person would like to know.  By now you all probably know about my constant battle between my ideals (on life, but more specifically here, education) and reality. Usually my answer is "Yes, but..." which as I recall Anne gave my csem class last a year a hard time about that phrase.  I think that my reponse always has a but in it because it is the class that is closest to my ideas of education, but the fact that it still doesn't quite reach them makes it even more disappointing than the classes that I have accepted as never reaching my ideals.  We always seem like we are just there in every discussion and action.  We get onto a topic that is intriguing and controversial, and I get excited.  But we never quite make it to the level that I think we will.  And I leave feeling unsatisfied and wondering what umpf will cause me to be satisfied (or if such satisfaction is possible).

I am excited about what we have planned for the rest of the course, but also have that same feeling of we are wandering about on the surface of something spectacular.  I ordered all the books and they look interesting.  I go into every book and every class with the state of mind that today we will reach excellence.  But somewhere into the book and somewhere into the class, I realize it won't be this book that achieves excellence and it won't be this class that achieves it either.  And my mood (and facial expressions probably) visably change.  We so close though.  So, again, I challenge us to be reckless, offensive, and offended.  Let's achieve my crazy-Courtney-world-of-ideal-excellence.

Terrible2s's picture

Midterm Evaluation

So...Who am I evaluating here? I guess I can easily say how the class is flowing and if that works for me or not. But ultimately, I think if a class were to be composed of a bunch of diverse and excited students and a knowledgeable and flexible professor it would be just "cake" (as owl said).

Either way, I think because we're changing the course considerably, commenting on the course material so far will only help to shape next years course. I think it has been for the most part pretty good. I think there have been some classes where I've felt like our class discussions didn't quite scratch the surface of the topic. I think we try to have to forum reflect the discussions and go more into depth, but some do write some don't. If we could take what is then on the forum and try to reflect it back in class a little more that would be good. I think that the break away groups have been a good idea. I think also that for the most part I feel comfortable in the class. I like the readings. The workload also has been good--very manageable. I definitely like the new ideas for our syllaship and I hope that we can continue working with the same excitement that we have been.



Rhapsodica's picture

Hmm... I can see why others

Hmm... I can see why others might be saying that they don't think midterm feedback is necessary, especially right after doing so much meta-thinking about the second half of the course, but I do think it is an important thing to do in classes, and I wish more professors did it! I think it's probably a sign that things are going well if we do not feel like we need to give feedback because we already have so many opportunities to do so!

What I see as working for the class in general: most of the class seems to get engaged in most of the discussions, which I see as a result of having created a good classroom community; my own personal lack of participation in class discussions is more a function of my own tendency to have a harder time thinking "out loud" than processing internally or through writing than it is about feeling uncomfortable or unable to express my ideas in this particular class. I know that if I want to say something, I will have the space, and that is not always the case in my classes--so I think that is working well, and I appreciate it. This is one of the classes where I'm least likely to notice we've reached the end of the class period when we do because I always feel engaged in what's going on, and we switch things up so much with group work, etc. (which I seem to do better with than the larger discussions for some reason).

I also thought that our process for designing the second half of the class went well. It felt like a very democratic process, and compared to the other two times I've done this in Anne's classes, I think we did a good job of bringing different needs and interests to the table and making sure that we had the chance to discuss, revise, and truly construct our syllaship while consistently getting feedback from our professors and each other. While we do have a lot of different topics on this list, I don't see that as a bad thing; I think it will be good for us to get tastes of many different areas, and with more topics, there is a greater chance that we'll all encounter at least one thing that we haven't studied in great depth before.

I am looking forward to Kate Bornstein's performance (I may or may not be able to attend the morning talk since I technically have class), as well as to the other visitors who will be coming to class. I am glad that at least a couple of the guests will be invited as members of the class discussion rather than as presenters.

I am a little torn about how I feel the course forum is working. I really like having the online space (especially since I tend to feel more comfortable expressing my thoughts through writing), but I suppose I'm still trying to figure out a posting rhythm that works for how I think about and process things and still have my posts fit into the thread of discussion. I'm not sure why, but I feel a little less engaged in the online aspect of this class than I did in the other classes I took with Anne.

For the final project, I like the idea of leaving it pretty open-ended. I feel like we all have different ideas of what we want and can get out of this class, the formats that we want to explore, areas that interest us the most, etc. At the same time, though, I think that we should consider making it a goal to try and grapple with something we have identified as challenging for us individually but that we would like to work at (such as becoming involved in activism, looking at something from a particular perspective, writing in a more experimental way, etc.).

Overall, I think that this class has been great so far. I've learned a lot and had the chance to become familiar with perspectives in which I am not as well-versed (ie. science and social science) as well as to push my thinking in the humanities-based context that I am coming from. I think we have a good classroom community going, and that the feedback that we do not need to be giving feedback at this point is a sign that we are doing well with communicating our needs and thoughts. As others have said, I have a lot of faith in this class and those who are a part of it as we start sailing our new syllaship!

Image from

kayla's picture

mid-semester thoughts

 This class is the best part of my week. I am still in awe about how easily we put together our syllaship (!) for the rest of the semester, and it doesn't seem as if anyone has any huge qualms about what we did. Other than the fact that we've crammed quite a bit into so little time, but I will be shocked if we can't pull it off, and I feel like we'd lose something if we tried to slow things down at all. I cannot wait to dip into the books I ordered for this class.

Like Karina, the only thing I'm really concerned about is the final project. Not concerned in a bad way at all, though. I'm eager to start researching and working on it while at the same time having absolutely no idea of where to start or what to do. Just thoughts and opinions swimming around in my head, but that's a lot more than I can say for a lot of my other classes. 

And I'm really intrigued by the topics we'll be studying when we return from break. The reading was so interesting and I think it's going to be awesome to study something that I've never even thought of studying before. 

Owl's picture

it's a cake!

so i don't want to sound like a broken record,

but i have to agree,

that a mid-term evaluation

seems like a waste to me.

now normally i would say that

a mid-term evaluation would be great

but i think we reflect our opinions

in many different ways.


i for one, think the class is cake.

seven layers of what we call

gender and sex.

but the icing on top is what i have to say

is the question that i like the most.


and i truly believe

that we still don't know,

but we find joy as a class exploring our

faulty hypotheses.


what can i say about this class?

i think it is a perfect example of what we are going through

to find what we want:


- ---a crazy but concrete idea----

 this image was taken from:




Anne Dalke's picture

Not an evaluation

but a reminder of the importance of the analysis  we're conducting:
see Lesbian student in Miss. fights for tuxedo photo.

Anne Dalke's picture

And yet another reminder....

....of the history that has both allowed us to do the work we are doing, and left us lots of work to do: a review of a new book by Gail Collins, When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, which (evidently) showcased both all feminism has been able to do, and some of what is not (yet) accomplished--

"It is not easy to attentively raise your children while holding down a good and demanding job. Feminism did not remake the world of relationships....Feminism did not resolve the conflicting desires for passion and domesticity, familiarity and romance...but it did not fail."

dshetterly's picture

Wonderful so far

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

I like the way the class is structured.  I had been (still kind of am) having trouble with online participation because I don't have a computer but other than that I really like the spaces Anne has set up for us. So that has been an obstacle I am trying to work around because I really like the class otherwise.  For me its really creating that feeling of academic enthusiasm that teachers always want to develop in students: "wow I am leaving this class with so many more questions and so much more curiosity than I came in with!"  Its important to recognize that so much of the class is self- and peer-guided.  Collectively we have constructed the rest of the class but moreover we collectively are what makes the class so engaging and interesting.  I love hearing everyone's ideas.  I hope that the relationships we are building continue to get stronger and that people feel increasingly comfortable participating.  

I do think that we should explore classroom structure a bit more.  How can we organize our discussions in the most comprehensive, productive way?  I tend to think more and have more room to think when we have large class discussions however that isn't the best thing in terms of getting everyone to participate.  I don't necessarily have any suggestions I just think its good to experiment with.

Other than that, I understand Skindeep's (I think) concern that we wont have time to really get into everything we have planned.  I think this is probably the case but  there doesn't seem to be anything to do about it.  Im sure we will be able to assess ass time goes on.  

So all in all, I think things are going well and am optimistic that they will continue that way provided that we maintain the same critical and dynamic attitude that has gotten us here.


Fall break is almost over, I hope you are all enjoying yours.  In the spirit of continuing to get to know each other, this is what I love most about fall:



Alice's picture



This pic reminded me of autumn...and gen/sex! so i thought id include it: linkkkkkk

I agree with skindeep. It seems odd to have a mid-term evaluation because every class I feel like we do some sort of check-in on how everything is going...whether it's discussing talking on the forum, or ways to interact in class, what we thought of the material, etc. 

But, if we are going to do this mid-term evaluation, I guess I would say the following things:

1. i really enjoy the class not only because of the topics we discuss but the WAY we discuss them. i like that we tend to get "off-task" and end up talking about really abstract and theoretical ideas. like the time when we got into that whole discussion about the dream world and reality...craziness! i loved it.

2. i feel like everyone is beginning to talk more in class (myself included...i think! :/ ) because we are all more comfortable speaking our minds and are not as worried about sounding dumb and whatnot. that said, i am enjoying our small break out groups in that i get to hear more of people's opinions and sometimes people i don't usually hear from as much. 

3. the final project: i think it only makes sense to have a final project that is not structured and very much caters to your own interests. im liking the non-textual project ideas and the ones based on experiences in the "real" world (i always feel strange saying that for some reason...) with issues of gender and sexuality. 

Ok thats about it. I too hope everyone is having a wonderful fall break, even though it is already almost the end! 

skindeep's picture

just a reflecion

i have to say i agree (and i love that this, of all things is what people seem to agree on)

a mid term evaluation of this class doesnt seem that necessary simply because we seem to be evaluating the class every step of the way. looking back on where we started, i think we've done a fair job of getting people to talk more on the forum and trying to involve as many willing people in the class discussions (although we could use more 'willing' people)

i still have a lot of unanswered questions regarding the topics we're discussing but i think thats what makes the class so interesting - it forces me to think and question concepts and ideas - and i love it.

also the fact that we were given a chance to design the rest of our syllaship is something that amazes me. i love it. and i love the fact that we've managed so far to cover a variety of perspectives on gender and sexuality while giving enough depth to each of them.

that said, i worry that the new syllaship we've come up with might have too much stuff in it and that we wont be able to delve into it as much. but like karina, i have faith in this class. im sure we can pull it off.

annnd, i actually look forward to class after fall break.  - which is a reflection of how well we're doing in itself.


Karina's picture


I am really feeling Em Bock's enthusiasm. I think the best/simplest way to describe it would be to say that above ALL i have FAITH in this class. I believe that we as a group (with some superb direction, of course) have continuously been able to pull it together and pull off things that would have never worked in other classes. We're created order out of a chaos of generative but seemingly uncooperative ideas.

I feel optimistic about the material on our new syllabus. 

I feel that my classmates ideas are (uniquely) useful and compel me to think and actually produce some sort of sparks in that head of mine. Trust me, when I say that is NOT an easy thing to have in any given classroom.

The only concern I have is the final FINAL project which is still in its sketchbook stages. But then again, I do have faith.





ebock's picture

mid-semester reflections

i really like what we've got going on so far in our class (haha - syllaship... still thinking about how much i love that). i don't see a lot of things that could be improved, but maybe i'm just blindly optimistic:

  • think that we have a great mix of opinions and experience and i really love hearing from everyone in class.
  • along those lines, i think that we have a good diversity of voices in class but there are some people who i would really like to hear more from.
  • i'm glad that we successfully came to consensus about our syllaship, and i am so impressed by our efficient decision-making. that said, i am also incredibly excited about the rest of the semester. seeing kate bornstein is going to be the highlight of my semester, and i'm really glad that we included a couple of her texts to the syllaship. i am so pumped about the "gender workbook."
  • it seemed like at first, we were a bit hesitant about using the forum, but my sense is that we have become much more comfortable with having conversations online.
  • i had so much fun writing the first two papers, and i'm glad that we got to share our experiences and dreams with each other.

pretty much, this is my favorite class this semester, and i think it is only going to get better as the semester moves forward :)

hope everyone is having a restful break, and enjoying the fall foilage.