HW Reviews on Yelp: Faculty Care or Some Light Spring Break Reading

While I’m putting some finishing touches on an Excel spreadsheet template to calculate interrater reliability for our writing placement test scorers at HWC, I decided to tool around on the Internet a little bit and find out what CCC and HWC tell students before they take the writing placement test. Before I go into what I found, let me tell you about that part of my sabbatical project.

Part of my sabbatical project is to create a guide and template for calculating interrater reliability for HWC’s writing placement test. And, I am almost finished; I submitted a proposal, yesterday, for DWFD in August, and if accepted, I hope to present and show how each campus can very easily calculate (and triangulate the three embedded tests and scores in the spreadsheet template) for their campus’s interrater reliability. Interrater reliability shows that we place students consistently in writing courses, and it sets the groundwork for longitudinal studies that can track students through their writing courses.

So, now that you’re all caught up, let me tell you what I found when I Google’d “hwc writing placement.” I found Yelp reviews of HWC. I didn’t know our college was reviewed on on Yelp, and it has been reviewed 30 times and not anonymously. There are first names and last initials with links to profiles. And our students have had a lot to say. If I were to analyze the results, which I did cursorily, I think one consistent theme throughout all the reviews is that the faculty are fantastic. And, I know spring break starts today and tomorrow for some and Saturday for others.

Here are some quotes that demonstrate how well faculty are doing (and there are some that show, well, that we aren’t), So as an extra boost for the remainder of the spring semester, please read:

I took several advanced math classes there in prep for grad. school and all three teachers I had were pretty good. They genuinely cared about teaching.

Overall the teachers do care a lot and want to help you transfer to a four year university or ear your Associates. The classes are NOT easy and are pretty challenging.

Teachers are excellent. Have had little to no issues in that area.

The instructors here are pretty good though. I’ve been to a big university where it feels like you’re not connected with the instructor at all, but  at harold washington [sic] all my profs at least make an attempt to learn everyone’s name and that means something.

The English and Math teachers I have had so far were smart and up to date on the topics in their area. I have learned a ton at Harold Washington from their teachers.

One of my professors is possibly one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. I didn’t expect that at a community college, but I am pleasantly surprised. Another one of my professors also teaches at a university, so I’m basically getting that exact same education for a fraction of the price. I only planned on going to HWC for one semester, but now I am thinking of staying another semester because I am so impressed by my professors.

There are thirty reviews as of today (04.10.14), and some of the reviews are as old as 2006. It’s interesting that some of the complaints about HWC have and haven’t changed. It would be an fascinating study to categorize the reviews and correlate those findings with various CCC/HW initiatives and when those initiatives went into effect. What I find most interesting about these Yelp reviews is that they are not anonymous; students put their names with their reviews, which, I think, may suggest that they should be weighted higher than reviews on websites like RateMyProfessor dot com (but maybe not as interesting as DrawMyProfessor), which are anonymously submitted.

Nonetheless, if while over spring break, you’re in the need for some light reading after eating at the new Big Cheese Poutinerie in Wrigleyville, you might find the Yelp reviews of HWC and the poutinerie worthwhile. I was pleased as a member of the faculty to confirm what I know about my colleagues already via these Yelp reviews.

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