Mandatory out-of-Class Events
It is not unusual to find courses that incorporate immersive learning experiences corresponding to course material here at Providence College.
However, requiring students to attend these events outside of their regular course hours oversteps boundaries and creates unnecessary burdens for students, especially if the dates of these events are not announced until the first day of class.
The interim periods between semesters are times where families make plans and solidify dates when students may return home or be attending a family function, which means it is the professor’s responsibility to notify students of any external obligations as soon as they are determined.
The second issue with these requirements comes from the fact that students already dedicate at least two and a half hours per class each week, and piling additional hours of mandatory-attendance events detracts from a student’s quality of work for other courses.
Whether it is a film screening or attendance at a museum tour, professors should be taking into account how long these obligations are and reducing course sessions as appropriately to demonstrate a basic recognition that their course is not the only one students are taking.
There is nothing wrong with having students in a film class take time to go and attend a screening, or having students studying a certain style of painting to visit a museum. But visits and requirements can quickly accumulate, and if they are to be used effectively, they must accompany some form of a reduction in course meeting times for that week.
—Joshua Chlebowski ’21
Mid-Semester Course Evaluations
Students at Providence College are well-acquainted with the concept of exams at midterms, but perhaps PC should consider another kind of evaluation at the mid-point of the semester: teacher evaluations.
At the end of each semester, students are required to fill out an evaluation for each class they take, which requires them to provide feedback about teaching style, class content, use of technology in the classroom, and other individualized aspects of each course.
Last semester, PC made a change to the way course evaluations are collected, switching over from a Scantron-style form on paper to an online version. As the College continues to improve its collection of student feedback, it should consider encouraging professors to gather student perspectives at the middle of the semester, not just the end.
Student feedback is a critical component of making improvements to curricula and courses, and it is a positive thing that PC takes the collection of this information so seriously.
However, collecting feedback only at the end of each semester means that changes and improvements can only be made the next time that professor teaches that specific class. In some cases, that might not be for another six months or another year.
Furthermore, while it is helpful that feedback at the end of the semester might make the course a more enjoyable experience for future students, it does nothing to help the students who are actually in the class currently.
By asking for student feedback in the middle of the semester, either verbally or written out, professors can open a line of communication with their students, and in some cases, make much-needed changes to make the second half of the semester more effective and enjoyable for students and professors alike.
—Andrea Traietti ’21
No More PC Cash
Do you remember the days when you could purchase tickets for Providence College sponsored events without going through the hassle of adding PC Cash to your account? I sure do.
The College in recent years has switched to a system of only allowing students to pay for tickets using PC Cash, for reasons unbeknownst to the students.
The school provides kiosks in some locations for adding PC Cash, although these only take cash—which in and of itself is becoming an outdated concept. The school also offers the option of using a credit card online to add sums of money, but such a transaction includes a one dollar fine.
What is this dollar going towards? Is it really necessary considering the school allows students to use cash in other locations and does not charge them for doing so? Do students not give enough money to this institution as it is?
Not only is the act of having to put PC Cash on one’s account before purchasing a ticket inconvenient, but it is also altogether unnecessary given that students used to simply be able to go up to the ticket window and purchase whatever they pleased.
In sum, PC should return to the method of purchasing tickets only through the ticket window, with no caveats.
—Savannah Plaisted ’21