© Marva A. Barnett

Students' End-of-Semester Evaluation Comments
FREN 345/493, Spring 2004

16 students enrolled (14 Arts & Sciences; 2 Architecture)
14 students responded: 2 first-year (C, G); 3 second-year (B, J, M); 3 third-year (D, I, L); 5 fourth-year (A, E, F, H, K); 1 undeclared-did not complete form; 2 students did not respond to over half the questions.

A literary and political giant of nineteenth-century France, Victor Hugo was by age 25 a much-admired poet. Central to the romantic revolution in theater, he was also a tireless social critic who argued for many causes, including educational reform and abolition of the death penalty. When not writing novels such as Notre-Dame de Paris and les Misérables, Hugo was carving out a powerful political career and creating drawings and paintings that influenced some Surrealist artists. We will study Hugo's work in all these contexts, discussing the universality of his themes (for instance, passionate love, familial love, justice and injustice, liberty, the role of God). Our goals: Appreciate his genius and find perspectives and themes that speak to each of us individually. Course work includes discussion, essays, group work, quizzes, and a personal research project done throughout the semester. Those who take the course as FREN 493 will do a more sophisticated, larger-scale project and an oral presentation. Course website (Spring 04) at http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/marva/Hugo/Updated/HugoIndex (password and login: "hugolien"). Course taught in French.

NB: Questions have been selected to avoid redundancy. Students are labeled by letter (a., b., c., etc.) to preserve anonymity while still offering the opportunity to see how an individuals answered different questions.

Summary of evaluation (Rating scale: Poor 1 2 3 4 5 Excellent) :
Rate the course overall: average = 4.17 / 5 (12 responding)
Rating of 5: 3 students; rating of 4: 8 students; rating of 3: 1 student

Rate the instructor overall: 5 / 5 (12 responding)
Rating of 5: 12 students

Would you recommend this course to another student? All students who responded answered "Yes."

What did you learn in the course?

a. Learned of Hugo's work, life, political orientation, etc: a very in-depth presentation of a good variety of his work.
b. I learned everything in the world about Victor Hugo.
c. A lot
d. I learned about the life of this interesting writer and his writtings [sic]. I also learned to prepare a research project.
e. A lot about Hugo.
f. The life and works of Victor Hugo.
g. [no response]
h. Much about Hugo's life and work. Information about his role in the political turmoil of France.
i. Life and works of Hugo, literary analysis, literary appreciation, & research.
j. More than I thought I would!
k. The different aspects of Victor Hugo.
l. I learned a lot about the life & works of Victor Hugo.
m. I learned a lot about poetry, the life, and the other works of Victor Hugo. I also gained an appreciation of Victor Hugo as an author.
n. [no response]

I expect that I will read something by Victor Hugo in the future, either in French or in English. Average = 4.2 / 5
Strongly Agree 4 / Agree 9 / Strongly Disagree 1

I realized my personal goals for this course. Average = 4.2 / 5
Strongly Agree 6 / Agree 5 / Neutral 3

Presenting my work-in-progress and receiving feedback helped me improve my project. Average = 4.4 / 5
Strongly Agree 5 / Agree 9

Working on my project was enjoyable and enriching. Average = 3.4 / 5
Strongly Agree 2 / Agree 4 / Neutral 6 / Disagree 2

Comments: c.) it was a lot of work. l.) a bit stressful b/c difficult to find outside sources.

The course web site was helpful to me. Average = 4.4 / 5
Strongly Agree 6 / Agree 7 / Neutral 1


I) Course

1. How challenging was this class?

a. very
b. very
c. very
d. yes, in the beginning
e. [no response]
f. pretty challenging
g. very
h. relatively challenging
i. very challenging - amount of work was very challenging
j. very challenging
k. challenging enough
l. fairly challenging in terms of keeping up with the work.
m. Challenging in that it was work intensive.
n. [no response]

4. How useful did you find the writing assignments [if applicable]? How much writing were you required to do in this class (double-spaced pages?) Please specify such factors as rewrites and response papers.

a. about 20
b. it was useful, 20 pages (a ton)
c. a lot of writing
d. they weren't that many.
e. [no response]
f. useful
g. It was helpful to have many little grades make up our full grade, but sometimes it was overwhelming. We did a lot of writing.
h. Probably 15-20 pages - they were all useful, applicable, and generally interesting.
i. Too many little writing assignments.
j. We had a lot of writing in this class, mostly response papers. I think they were useful for preparation, but it'd be better if we didn't have to turn them in all the time - it was very overwhelming and stressful.
k. Useful, about 25 pages.
l. The project is stressful and while I'm learning from it I'd prefer to do more shorter essays throughout the semester.
m. Very useful! We wrote 14 pages of papers BUT we did a lot of little assignments so that definitely added up.
n. [no response]

5. Did you receive helpful comments on your assignments? Were assignments returned promptly?

a. yes, yes
b. yes
c. yes especially with grammar
d. yes, I did
e. yes
f. yes
g. yes & yes
h. yes, definitely
i. yes
j. yes - sometimes a little too critical and came across badly & I felt bad.
k. Yes, yes
l. Yes, yes
m. Yes! Very helpful and she was always able to help me further my ideas.
n. [no response]

7. What do you feel are the strengths and/or weakness of this course?

a. Needs a course packet; very organized.
b. [no response]
c. It's interesting but had a lot of work
d. Too much information about his personal life.
e. [no response]
f. A lot of work, very interesting
g. At beginning, too many little assignments.
h. Very interesting, well organized.
i. Strength: good subject, good overview. Weakness: too many unnecessary assignments, often overwhelming amount of work.
j. Strength: wide array of texts read - very interesting and challenging. Weakness: not enough biographical info at first - lots of busy work.
k. I liked the diversity of works we've gotten to study.
l. Lots of interesting material, but overwhelming at the same time.
m. Very interesting, no weaknesses.
n. [no response]

8. What specific suggestions would you have for improving the course?

a. [no response]
b. [no response]
c. [no response]
d. more films
e. perhaps fewer day to day assignments so we can focus on the big stuff.
f. [no response]
g. Course packet
h. Discussed in class
i. Biography at beginning, less little quotes
j. Be willing to change syllabus in respect to student's difficulties/work load - like we did at end with Les Mis essay.
k. Relate more what we learn in class to our lives
l. [no response]
m. n/a
n. [no response]

9. Did you find the course enjoyable? Which aspects? Please comment.

a. reading selections
b. yes
c. [last page not completed]
d. yes, I did
e. yes - enjoyed the texts and the conversations.
f. Yes
g. I liked studying Les Mis at the end.
h. Yes, very - especially Les Miserables
i. Subject interesting. However it was difficult not to feel overwhelmed w/ all the little assignments.
j. Yes - Madame Barnett was great and always very enthusiastic. I liked Madame Horne's guest lecture and the texts we read.
k. Yes, I really enjoyed the class atmosphere - which was very conducive to class participation.
l. Yes, except for the project. I liked the poetry and Les Miserables.
m. Yes! I loved the works and learning about them on a more profound level.
n. [no response]

10. Would you recommend this course to other students? Why or why not?

a. yes, interesting & well taught.
b. No comment
c. [last page not completed]
d. Yes, I would because it is interesting if you like Hugo.
e. Yes, if they already have an interest in Hugo.
f. Yes
g. Yes, though the project is a little overwhelming but she helps you take it in steps.
h. Definitely
i. Only if they don't have a heavy courseload already
j. Yes - but only if you're willing to work hard or really like Hugo.
k. Yes, the professor is great
l. Yes, because Prof Barnett is a wonderful professor and the class really is interesting.
m. Yes, unless they want a course with less work (then I'd say no).
n. [no response]

II) Instructor

1. Did the instructor seem knowledgeable about the subject matter?

a. Yes
b. Yes
c. [last page not completed]
d. Yes
e. Definitely
f. Yes
g. Yes, and often she learned along with us.
h. Absolutely
i. Very
j. Yes
k. Yes
l. Yes
m. Yes!
n. [no response]

2. Did the instructor seem organized, well-prepared and in control of the class?

a. Yes
b. Yes
c. [last page not completed]
d. Yes
e. Yes
f. Yes
g. Yes
h. Yes
i. very well organized
j. yes
k. yes
l. yes
m. yes, very well-prepared.
n. [no response]

3. Was the instructor accessible to students outside of class (e.g., during office hours)? Did s/he seem approachable?

a. yes, yes
b. [no response]
c. [last page not completed]
d. yes
e. extremely
f. yes
g. yes, very :-)
h. yes - and very approachable
i. yes
j. yes - very approachable and always ready to meet/help with students
k. yes
l. yes
m. Yes! I went many times and she was always so excited to see I was taking interest in the class.
n. [no response]

4. To what extent did the instructor help further your interest in the subject?

a. gave special attention to individual projects & prioritized.
b. no comment
c. [last page not completed]
d. she was very helpful with the writtings [sic].
e. Her passion was evident and makes the subject interesting
f. A lot
g. I know 100% more now than I did before.
h. Very much, I plan to read more of Hugo's works in the future.
i. [no response]
j. Exposed me to a wide array of his works that I didn't even know existed.
k. I think I will read some poetry by Hugo even when I don't have to.
l. By covering so many different topics.
m. She was extremely knowledgeable and excited by the subject matter so it helped to increase my interest.
n. [no response]

7. Please comment on the classroom atmosphere fostered by the instructor.

a. open to discussion
b. no comment
c. [last page not completed]
d. she was very organized
e. very friendly
f. nice atmosphere
g. very comfortable & relaxed, open, accepting.
h. Comfortable
i. Very positive
j. Very relaxed & friendly - always asked how we were, about weekend.
k. Excellent
l. It was very comfortable, easy to discuss in.
m. Great, fun, and easy to talk during.
n. [no response]

8. Please comment on what you feel to be the instructor's strengths and/or weakness in this course.

a. too much time spent printing out the work from the website.
b. no comment
c. [last page not completed]
d. She is really helpful outside of class.
e. [no response]
f. Very organized and enthusiastic
g. Strength: very sweet and kind prof. Cares a lot about improving course.
h. She knows a lot about Hugo and is passionate about it --> infectious.
i. Instructor: enthusiastic, organized
j. A little overbearing with concern for students: calling at home is a little too personal for me.
k. She tended to give us too much work at the beginning of the semester but she was open to our feedback and cut it down to a
manageable amount.
l. Prof. Barnett really knows her stuff!
m. She's knowledgeable, organized, excited about teaching and I can't think of any weaknesses.
n. [no response]