Student Comments and Letters

Comments From Recent Evaluations:

These comments were submitted anonymously via the Student Course Evaluation Forms.

I take great pride and satisfaction in knowing many of my students report being enriched and excited by the classroom experience:

Student A: “Professor Gould was incredible. She engaged the class during every lecture, and always made the class environment a positive and fun place to be in. I would take this class every semester if I could.”

Student B: “This course was incredible. Proffessor [sic] Gould, was a stellar instructor and innovator in the classroom and always left the class engaged with all of the Materials.”

Student C: “This is one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Duke. It’s been so enriching exploring different types of media and all of the novel ways that information and literature are being used in society today.”

Student D: “It was a great, fun course. Definitely a reasonable workload. Professor Gould was very helpful and enthusiastic.”

Student E: “The course is very formal and the instructor is very nice to the students.”

Student F: “This course is definitely my favorite course I have taken at Duke thus far. Granted, most of my courses have been difficult sciences on the Pre-Med track, but none of my other courses has had such interesting subject matter or an engaging discussion atmosphere. The subjects in class were very relevant to today’s ever-changing society, with technological advances augmenting social, political, and economic systems as well as our abilities to communicate and so much more. It also exposed us to the discipline of digital humanities and comparative media analysis, going into detail about different media through which information is communicated and the affordances and limitations of each. The out of class discussions, lectures, and activities were also very entertaining and a refreshing way of learning about and interacting with new information.

Student G: “I came to Duke looking forward to the small classroom setting in hopes of being able to engage in discussions with people who were genuinely interested in the subject matter at hand. Until this course, I haven’t had that experience. Often times the discussion atmosphere is ruined by the fear of getting in one’s participation or saying the correct things to impress the teacher; however, Prof. Starling Gould has done an incredible job of eliminating these issues and creating an environment of actual discussion. She is more than enthusiastic about the subject, engaging everyone in class. Very rarely does the topic of grades and participation come up; she seems genuinely involved in exposing us to the discipline. Her feedback on our papers and blog posts were very helpful, constructive, and positive. It is obvious to everyone in class that she sincerely cares about how well we grasp the material and what we get out of class discussion. She was also very available outside of class time, offering to meet up with students if desired. The final project is also an interesting, valuable exercise that challenges students to demonstrate understanding of material and utilize digital humanities tools in order to communicate ideas via new perspectives. My final project required me to create a multimedia flowchart – Prof. Starling Gould introduced me to multiple sites, such as bubbl.us and prezi.com, and took time to explain how to use these sites. I believe I am quite fortunate to experience Prof. Starling Gould’s instruction at Duke.

Student H: “I liked how we learned how to integrate media into our writing and utilize technology to enhance our work.”

Student I: “The course information was very interesting and I really liked the format of the class and the style of writing that we did.”

Student J: “The structure of the class and division of units were ideal – one medium at a time, interspersed with interactive, hands on examples that definitely reinforce the concepts being taught. Methods of evaluation were fair as well. The texts and works studied in class were all incredibly interesting, and the WordPress Blog was a very unique, fun, and effective way to interact with the material and see different perspectives from my peers. My understanding of digital humanities and ability to write a multimedia essay has advanced considerably. When she previewed the class in the beginning of the semester, I was completely in the dark as to how to handle these new types of assignments. I am now much more comfortable with them, and my writing and critical thinking skills have really developed over the course of the semester.”

Student K: “Eye opening and engaging class. The focus is entirely on what drives each individual student and the pursuit of knowledge, rather than rote memorization or grades. I loved it.”

Student L: “The course was clear from the start on the expectations, and though the
syllabus did change throughout the semester, it changed as a result of the interest of the students in class and I love how it was tailored to support our intellectual curiosities.”

Student M: “Dr. Gould is amazing. She made the topic super interesting and made me
think about differently about certain environmental issues.”

Please click here for a full list of comments from my most recent course evaluations.

There are also students who supply constructive feedback.

When it comes to classroom discussion, it seems I reach most but not all of the students. As indicated above, some are highly engaged while others find the “level of discussion” to be lower than desired, as we see here:

Though Student K was motivated by the classroom conversation saying “I was motivated to actively participate in class discussion and activities. The class wasn’t ruined by competition between students or irrelevant and unsubstantial comments for participation points,” Student L was not saying “The level of discussion in the course was lower than I would have liked, which ended up discouraging me from participating at times.”

I’ve learned too that the students would prefer I take a more active role in reminding them of their grades instead of waiting for them them to ask:

Student M: “I received plenty of feedback about my performance, but not much in terms of specific grades. I wasn’t sure if “doing well” meant good enough for a B, or on the way to an A.”

Student N: “The grading expectations are clear but the feedback leaves our actual grades unclear.”

And yet one liked that I moved the focus from grading to personal progress:

Student G (from above) “Very rarely does the topic of grades and participation come up; she seems genuinely involved in exposing us to the discipline. Her feedback on our papers and blog posts were very helpful, constructive, and positive. It is obvious to everyone in class that she sincerely cares about how well we grasp the material and what we get out of class discussion. She was also very available outside of class time, offering to meet up with students if desired.”

I’ve also come to realize that you can’t always win. I’m guessing this comment comes from the advanced computer scientist I had in my 2013 Augmenting Realities course:

Student M: “I think I came into this course with a bit too much background in the material to have learned as much as I would have liked, which is why I didn’t feel like I learned as much. That said, while it was an ambitious class, Ms. Gould approached it with lots of enthusiasm every day!”


Laudatory Letters From Students. Please click the links below to download the letters:

Letter from Mithun

Letter from Greg

Letter from Sheel