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Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Is The End: My Guest Blogging Postmortem And A Call For Future Posts/Polls

As I did the last time I guest blogged here, I thought that I would wrap up this guest blogging stint with a post listing my expectations for the various polls that I posted here and the actual results of those polls. As you can see from that prior post, I wasn't exactly the Amazing Kreskin in predicting the responses last time around. This time around, however, my powers of prognostication were much better although there were still several surprises.

In my first post, I had a poll asking "How do you feel about the number of required classes in law school?" I expected the number of respondents wanting to increase the number of required classes to be roughly equal to the number of respondents wanting to decrease the number of required classes or keep the number of the required classes the same. The results: 37 (50%) wanted more required classes, 15 (20%) wanted fewer required classes, and 22 (30%) wanted to keep the number of required classes the same. So, it was indeed an even 50/50 split.

In my second post, I asked: "Should Law Schools Have Mandatory Pro Bono/Public Service Graduation Requirements?" I didn't expect many respondents to answer "yes," and that expectation was borne out by the results: 17 (34%) answered "yes" while 33 (66%) answered "no." Of respondents at schools with such requirements, 6 answered "yes" while 5 answered "no."

In my third post, I asked whether respondents preferred ExpressO or the pre-ExpressO law review submission days. I expected most respondents to prefer ExpressO based upon its efficiency, and the results had 28 respondents (61%) preferring ExpressO and 18 respondents (39%) longing for the good old days.

In my fourth post, I asked how much teaching respondents did in their first class session: a full class session, a partial class session, or no teaching. I thought that most respondents would answer that they teach a partial class session, but the results had 70 respondents (64%) teaching a full class session, 32 respondents (29%) teaching a partial class session, and only 8 respondents (8%) not teaching at all.

In my fifth post, I asked how we can increase the percentage of students completing student evaluations. There was no poll connected to this post, but I think that I got some very good advice in the comments section.

In my sixth post, I asked: "Do you use a mid-semester evaluation?" and "Should tenure committees use mid-semester evaluations in tenure/promotion decisions?" I expected most respondents to answer "no" to the first question. The results matched this expectation, but it was closer than I thought. 26 respondents (43%) answered "yes" and 34 (57%) answered "no." Meanwhile, I expected very few respondents to answer the second question in the affirmative, and only 1 out of 10 respondents answered "yes."

In my seventh post, I asked: "Should tenure committees solicit outside teaching reviews?" I didn't expect many respondents to answer "yes," and the results had 5 respondents (36%) answering yes and 9 respondents (64%) answering "no."

In my eighth post, I asked how professors grade exams: the exam by exam approach or the question by question approach? I expected most respondents to use the latter approach, but I didn't quite expect the split I got in the results: 89 (85%) respondents grading question by question and only 16 (15%) grading exam by exam.

In my ninth post, I asked: "Would a decrease in the number of questions on student evaluation forms significantly increase the percentage of students completing them?" I expected that most respondents would agree with this proposition, and they did, with 33 respondents (85%) answering in the affirmative and only 6 (15%) answering in the negative.

In my tenth post, I asked whether respondents were in favor of the idea of e-mail office hours, not expecting to find too many takers. And indeed, there weren't many, with 30 respondents (68%) thinking that they are a bad idea and only 14 respondents (32%) thinking that they were a good idea.

That post led to my eleventh post, which asked: "Do You Answer Student Substantive Questions Over E-mail?" I thought that most respondents would answer "yes," and 52 respondents (73%) indeed answered "yes" with only 19 (27%) answering "no."

That post also prompted my twelfth post, which asked: "Do traditional office hours still make sense?" I expected a majority of professors to answer "yes." I was right, but it was a bare majority: 33 respondents (51%) answered "yes," but 32 (49%) answered "no."

I would like to again thank Dan Markel for inviting me back to guest blog at PrawfsBlawg and its readers for your helpful comments and poll responses. As one guest blogging stint ends, I am already preparing for the next one. So, if you have any posts/polls that you want me to do in the future, feel free to leave a comment to this post or e-mail me at [email protected].

-Colin Miller

Posted by Evidence ProfBlogger on September 30, 2010 at 02:30 PM | Permalink


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