Student comments from EPID600 Spring 2007

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“Marcel has been a very receptive and helpful TA so far.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/25)
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“So far, I really like the subject of Epidemiology, the lectures, and the case study format. However, I would like to make one suggestion that might be incorporated for either this year or next. The mini-lectures in lab, while helpful in reinforcing the concepts, feel a little redundant, especially for those of us in the Tuesday labs who are coming straight from lecture. I personally think a better use of the time would be to go over the case study questions from the week before to get a TA's explanation on how to do them. Otherwise, I think it might be a good idea to just give the groups more time to work on the case studies so that they can discuss them in more detail. As it is right now, the time is tight, and I think people are a little impatient to sit through a whole extra mini-lecture when they know they need to get the lab done.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/12)
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“Hello, Marcel and Vic - I would like to - retrospectively - inform you both that I attended the National Health Policy Conference in Washington DC this past week (Feb 12 - Feb 15). As a result, I was unable to attend Tuesday's lab. While I informed one of my lab members, some may have been unaware about the reason behind my absence - FYI. I've enjoyed the course, to date. In a few words - "it's been challenging and intellectually stimulating."”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/18)
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“I feel that our group works well together.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/25)
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“I love the periodic process of learning knowledge and skills in the wonderful lectures, digesting and working on the case study on my own, then solving problems and questions with TA and my teammates in the epi lab. This scientific system helps me better understand the knowledge and skills in epidemiology.”
Jiang, MPH student, HBHE, TA: Marcel (1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/13)
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“The case studies are very long for the time we have in recitation. It takes a good deal of time to go through each question, make sure everyone understands and then reach group consensus. It is then hard to get all group members together at other times because of significant time commitments for other classes.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/15)
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“The class so far is really interesting and great!”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/12)
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“The group discussions are very helpful, but sometimes the questions are hard to figure out for exactly what they are asking and looking for and so that takes alot of time out of our discussion to actually discuss our answers for all the questions. Also, it might help to have some shorter presentations at the beginning of the sessions, so we have more time for the discussions.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/16)
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“I enjoy working in groups, but I find that the group size is too large to meet everyone's needs -- I believe this process would work better with groups no larger than 5 or 6. We have a difficult time getting through the questions during lab -- the choice is to either breeze through them, without much discussion, and risk that some group members don't understand how we reached the answers, or work them out together and end up staying late.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/14)
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“Given the option to attend other group labs it may be that the people not rated or with lower ratings are doing well, we just don't see it. I don't think it would be fair to mark them down if that is the case. The people rated highly above are a strong core of this group, always having thoughtful answers prepared ahead of time and are genuinely concerned with other's understanding and figuring out the correct answers.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/15)
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“Epid600 is helping me transition from memorizing and regurgitating facts to applying book knowledge to real world cases. Reading a former student's comment on the Epid600 website about the level of difficulty of the exams was daunting at first, but now I'm actually eagerly awaiting the challenge.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/13)
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“These are corrections to my original submission because I mixed up Claire, Katie, and Margot. Sorry!”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/15)
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“The group is getting along very well overall.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/15)
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“Quoc is helpful but he has to split time between two groups. He always encourages us to email him with questions. The comments below are not about him but about the class model itself. I think it would be helpful for TAs to be able to help more during the lab. There are alot of questions to get through. It is difficult and unmanageable to get through them all and really understand them during lab. I know you suggested breaking into smaller groups and coming together but there is not enough time for that either. Even if there was, we would not have time to really come to an understanding of all of the concepts. I do not think the student facilitator who doesn't really understand the material themselves can be responsible for others learning the material. I find it frustrating that I have to work for hours in a group before lab in order to try to answer the questions. Then by the end of lab, I am still not sure if I understand the questions after they are answered. I don't think this is an effective way to learn. It also does not help that we have lab right after class, before we have had a time to really think about the lecture. I think a better model would be have a lecture, then work through questions on our own in a group outside of class and then have a mini lecture/question session.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/15)
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“The groups are rather large and we've not been meeting for very long, so I don't feel that I'm in a very good position to be evaluating people yet. We are just now starting to get comfortable in the group discussion. I feel like that lab time would be better spent without the TA lecture. I would rather have more time to go over the case studies, and then have time at the end to discuss questions that we have. The lecture is merely a reiteration of Vic's lecture, so it feels redundant. However, Quoc is doing a really nice job with the lecture (it's just not very helpful to me).”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/15)
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“Our group doesn't have a designated room for our small group discussions- maybe in the future or for next year's class this would help us focus and make us feel more "groupy."”
Karen, MPH student, HBHE, TA: Quoc (1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/13)
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“Great group of students - very efficient.”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/17)
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“The structure for this lab makes it very difficult to learn the material. I have a great group but it does not seem to beneficial to work on case study questions before class (primarily in a group setting), right after class on Tuesdays, and then submit the answers. If we are learning information incorrectly we don't know it until answers our posted later. I think each lab should have their own TA that does not divide their time between two classes. During the lab the TA should review and discuss the questions and work out the problems with us. Overall, I feel the class does not only have to prepare for class but we have to teach ourselves the information before class and lab. Doing this defeats the purpose of attending lab. Another solution would be to have the labs a week behind lecture so old information can be reviewed and new information can be taught, processed, and studied before we're expected to submit answers. It is really good idea to have a lab but the structure needs a great deal of revamping. Thanks so much for providing students a way to give feedback!”
(1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/16)
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“Great Course. After dealing with research studies throughout my career in healthcare, I can honestly say that this course has brought evetything together....and then some, or should I say...and then sum! Paul Meade”
Paul, MPH student, PUBH, TA: Sunni (1st peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/02/23)
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“I feel lucky to have had Marcel for a TA!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“I really enjoyed working with Marcel. He was very approachable and helpful given the limitations. Also, I want to say that I would like to see the class have more simplistic problems to help understand major concepts rather than bombarding the students with every concept as the student not experienced in the concepts can follow along and learn the concept well rather than semi-learn it.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/26)
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“Marcel was a great TA. He was always there to help when we needed it.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/24)
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“Thank you!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/22)
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“Marcel is a very smart guy who always inspires us to explore Epi with fun!”
Jiang, MPH student, HBHE, TA: Marcel (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“The class was good but a little too much work for what I personally got out of it.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/23)
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“It's hard to not rate everyone top of the line - this was probably the best participating group I have been in at UNC. The undergrads in particular are to be commended for their grasp of the material and willingness to help the rest of the group understand it.”
Tom, MPH student, HPAX, TA: Marcel (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/25)
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“Entertaining lectures + helpful TA + intellectually-stimulating exams = great class!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/25)
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“I thought Nikki was great, a very helpful and informative TA.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/24)
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“Thanks Nikki!”
Anna, MPH student, HPAA, TA: Nikki (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/22)
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“I loved the mini lectures and the lab groups. What a unique way to foster teamwork and learning!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/26)
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“I enjoyed epidemiology. I am training to become a medical journalist, and the things I've learned in this class have already helped my reporting. One thing I'd improve about the course is the way the case studies are written. If there's a way to shorten the questions, I think future students would be appreciative. Nikki's lectures are sometimes long. While I believe these lectures are important, they aren't as interactive as we need (after sitting in a lecture hall the previous 1.5 hours.). It may be more work for her, but I'd suggest making the lecture into a jeopardy-style game. Because by the time 5 p.m. rolls around, we're all exhausted and need something to wake us up.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/22)
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“Having the mini-lectures the week before the case study was done in lab would have been helpful. Especially if your starred questions were due before your lab day.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/27)
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“I enjoyed this class, and I thought the level of instruction was right-on target. When I take a class, I want to feel like I have demonstrable skills and methods afterwards, and I definitely feel like that was the focus of EPI 600. Even if some of the general study design or other areas had been covered previously, I thought it was very important to know how epidemiologists consider them differently from biostatisticians or economists. My only complaint is the amount of work involved in the class - I think it's a reasonable amount of work, with the understanding that, sometimes, students just won't be able to get case studies done or attend the lab.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“I thought in general the group worked well together and there were no significant personality clashes.”
Todd, MSEN student, ENVR, TA: Nikki (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/23)
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“I often found it helpful when Quoc was in there to tell us if we were doing a problem the right way. I would have gained more out of the lab if I had been assigned only a few problems that encompassed the objectives of the study and made sure that I had learned by making information from lectures and readings applicable, rather than having the 10 or so questions. I found it often difficult to complete all the questions in time due to my course load (independent research and cellular biology). Having the case studies and exams up on blackboard on the weekend would have been helpful.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“Quoc's before-lab presentations were very helpful!!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“I highly enjoyed this class.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/27)
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“Thanks for all the noticeable effort you put into this course.”
Laura, BSPH student, NUTR, TA: Sunni (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/23)
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“I enjoyed reading the case studies, it was very educational. Vic's lectures are fun to listen to, and our TA Sunni summarizes the material beautifully.”
Natalia, MS student, BIOS, TA: Sunni (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“EPID600 was a difficult journey but I'm proud of the results. It's a unique experience for any undergraduate and a wonderful way to get aquainted with the demands of graduate school curriculum.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/24)
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“This was a very challenging class and requires a great deal of time and effort. I recommend students take this course with a light course load or in the summer by itself in order to give it undivided attention. I loved the book and online lectures. I found they were very helpful, but I was often faced with reading the book in depth or reading the case study and understanding it. I also enjoyed the last case study that we completed on the final day of lab. I actually think all labs should be an interactive case study such as this one that allows the group to work on a realistic situation together. Please consider adding more of these in the future. Thank you for providing us the opportunity to give you comments; it's appreciated a great deal!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/27)
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“I absolutely LOVED my Epi group! Our personalities and work styles seemed to mesh perfectly.... We would always come to lab prepared and this made for a very productive semester of Epidemiology!”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/27)
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“I really enjoyed the class overall; I gained most from learning about a good study design for an experiment; but feel like I would have liked to learn more about epidemiology towards the end of the semester rather than the other topics we covered. Great movie choices in class.”
Andy, BSPH student, ENVR, TA: Sunni (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“This course was extremely valuable to me in my business. The content was thorough and relevant and will provide a good foundation in understanding the basic principles of epidemiology. I have already begun to apply many of these principles in my work. Thanks to Vic and the TA's.”
Paul, MPH student, PUBH, TA: Sunni (2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/29)
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“I think Epidemiology is really interesting. Sometimes I enjoy the class and it helps me build the fundamental knowledge of Epidemiology. However, I would suggest that the course could be more beneficial with some changes on curriculum. The case study may provide students opportunities to share their learning experience. But our discussion can be more effcient if the number of questions can be reduced and length of questions can be concise.”
(2nd peer evaluation, Classroom course, 2007/04/21)

(An additional 13 comments were received but the students did not authorize their dissemination.)

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2007a, compiled 02/28/2007,05/03/2007