Student Course Evaluations

Every semester, the Biology Department carefully evaluates its courses, using evaluations provided by both students and other instructors. What follows are the complete course evaluations for Biology 102. The numerical scores and student comments (unedited) will give you a good feeling for what to expect from this course.

For all numerical data, 1 = highest possible score; 5 = lowest possible score.

Biology 102. Environmental Biology

Fall 2002 N=73 student responses

StatementAverage ResponseBiology Department Course Averages
Stimulated students to a higher level of effort.1.682.40
Explained course material clearly, and explanations were to the point.1.342.28
Made presentations which were stimulating and interesting.1.602.45
Used enough examples and illustrations to clarify the subject for me.1.412.04
Seemed to be well-prepared for lecture or discussion.1.101.57
Was responsive to students' questions.1.381.66
Course policies were explicitly stated (re: course objectives, assignments, relative weight of tests).1.331.55
The course provided sufficient information to prepare for the exam.1.602.16
Exams required reasoning.1.591.84
There was a sufficient basis (exams, written assignments, etc.) to evaluate my performance.1.842.40
I learned something from the lab experience.1.862.24
The subject matter was difficult.2.072.14
How does this course compare with those required for your major?2.112.71
How does this course compare with other science courses at UVM?1.942.61
How does this course compare with others taught by the Biology Department?1.802.55
I would recommend this course to a qualified fellow student.1.682.18
I would recommend this instructor to a fellow student.1.462.31
Comparison Courses: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3, 4, 9, 11A, 11B, 11C, 11A(H), 11B(H), 11C(H), 12A, 12B, 12A(H), 12B(H), 96B, 96C, 101, 102, 103, 104

What things did you especially like about this course?

Explanations were very clear, examples used illustrated the points very well.

Gave basic information about biology.


The instructor was very organized and prepared for each lecture. The music was nice. He used relevant examples to make things easier to understand and more interesting. The lab was especially well thought-out and organized. The TAs chosen actually were quite capable-- not a trait often encountered at UVM.

I enjoyed the materials, lectures, music, and Rumpole.

The professor gave very clear notes and explanations, and there were never any surprises on tests.

Everything we needed to know for exams was explained thoroughly. Labs were fun and reinforced what was taught in class.

Dr. Gotelli was an awesome instructor-- he made the whole class awesome.

Tests weren't too bad.

Old exams that date way back were very helpful for test preparation.

I enjoyed the lab, the concepts, the organization of the lectures, and the MUSIC.

Professor Gotelli's way of teaching. He explained things very well and made things easy to understand.

Gotelli was awesome! Great teaching, lab was awesome-- keep going outside; hands on learning is the best.


The organization.

Dr. Gotelli was well-prepared, spoke clearly, and made all the material easy to understand. He was always enthusiastic and made class worthwhile.

The professor was entertaining.

The material was presented in a clear and interesting way. The lab provided some great additional experiences.

Lectures, web connnection, field trip.

Gotelli made the course interesting. His music before class set a good tone for the next 50 minutes; his tests were fair.

Well-structured lectures.

Professor Gotelli did an excellent job of explaining some rather difficult material. He made class interesting and his enthusiasm for the subject made it a more pleasant class to attend.

Subject material was interesting, lectures well-structured.

The professor was great-- he's very interested in the subject matter which helped to stimulate my interest.

The examples went well with the course.

Evolutionary mechanisms.

Was interesting.

Good professor, interesting lectures.

Professor Gotelli is a very good instructor and he explains the material very well.

The lab assignments.

The professor presented the material clearly and kept it interesting.

The professor knew what he was talking about and was very organized and prepared.

The instructor did a great job teaching the material. The material was interesting for the most part.

Labs-- the outdoor element is essential. Tests-- very fair; no tricks, but straightforward.

The teacher, his enthusiasm and great knowledge of the subject.

I liked the enthusiasm of the professor for the subject.

The material covered was interesting and was constantly related to everyday events. I liked the way he always knew interesting information about the music played at the beginning of class.

Tests were fair. Enthusiastic and knowledgable instructor who spoke clearly and effectively presented course material.

Music at the beginning of class.

Gotelli was a really great professor, and I learned a lot from his class. He taught the material clearly. His tests were very fair.

The lab for this course was especially good. Gotelli is an exceptional lecturer.

The examples used to dictate the "real life" of biology. The professor was excellent, very good at explanations.

Relatedness to my major.

Good dymamics from the professor; professor was well-organized.

The book and lectures were great; it's the first biology book that has truly helped me.

The information learned and the labs. Lots of hands-on stuff.

The professor was organized. I was able to take good notes.

What things did you especially dislike?

I felt the tests were nit-picky about information and required much more memorization than reasoning.

Lab teacher.

The last comments on population. You ar eright, we cannot suppor the world based on our lifestyle. However, we can if we are willing to reduce our own consumption.

Separation between lab and lecture materials.

The lab TA I had was not very good with grading fairly, and when we got exams back, there were never explanations to why we lost credit on questions.


Lack of example problems with which to study.

The grading in labs was terribly inconsistent. The grading in tests was also very inconsistent. When comparing tests between fellow students, the same response was graded differently for each student. Professor Gotelli is not responsive to student needs.

Sometimes it was hard to remember all of the assumptions for the equations exactly, and it made studying more difficult. The ideas seem more important than the details to me.

There should have been a sample final.

That I couldn't make up a test with a family emergency, which definitely affected my grade.


Final exams from previous years weren't posted. Every other exam, 1,2,3, & 4, were posted from previous years, which made it much easier to study.

Only exams make up the majority of our grade.

Poor performance of the lab TA.

No book for the second half of the course.

Too much barrage of information in some classes; better if it was spaced out.

Memorizing assumptions.

I'm not very interested in the course material.

Quizzes needed.

All the equations.

The grading of the tests was very unfair. Two people could have the same answers, and one would get points off but not the other.

Too much information that was only possible to acquire from lectures. There were no other sources that could clear up things in confusion.

My lab and the inflexibility associated with it.

The test could have been weighted better, if some questions should have been worth less.

The set-up of information in the ecology part. Learn something new, go through assumptions, empirical examples...very monotonous. Book was also very confusing.

Professor Gotelli sometimes seems to talk down to students. He's kind of on a pedestal.

My TA, she was terrible.

Did not like the lab, didn't seem to correlate with class. Plus, TA was not helpful.

Nothing in particular.


The material at times was a little boring, but that can't really be helped.

There was an unfortunate depth of problems to work for the equations given us. This was a serious problem, as the equations are numerous and some rather complex without examples (which were not often given in class) or practice problems (those offered on previous exams were identical year after year). I felt I would have learned the material better had more practice been available, and had Professor Gotelli done more examples in class.

Emphasis on math, bookkeeping. More thorough discussions of topics.

Some labs seemed exhaustive and useless.

The memorization of vocabulary and assumptions.

No chance of extra credit, no quizzes to boost grade.

The labs-- I did not see any point in them; they did not help me with the class. I didn't even understand the nuisance calculations.

Other comments

The exams were difficult. The course should cover exam-like questions more.

Keep playing music. Maybe make the last presentation when you talk about real human problems longer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. More practice problems for exams.

Gotelli was great.

The labs themselves weren't bad, but the grading was extremely hard and the TAs weren't too helpful. I took Bio 12 last year.

My TA was very uninformative and her grading policy brought down my average for the class when lab is supposed to exist to aid student grades. She was a very inconsistent grader. Smaller class size.


Professor Gotelli is great-- he keeps class interesting.


Gotelli really caught my interest. The lecture on altruistic behavior was my favorite.

Dr. Gotelli did a great job.

TAs great also.

Gotelli had the best teaching style of any professor in the UVM Biology Department.

Very informative class.

The second part of the course would be better with a better textbook.

The labs were useful in understanding the material. He did a good job getting students involved.

All in all, a great class.

The professor was an incredible lecturer and made the class enjoyable while still providing a learning environment.

The music before class rocked.

I didn't particularly enjoy the material, but Gotelli made it interesting.

The teacher wasn't willing ot give alternate exam times and that really sucks. I mean, come on, you can make some time for all these students who pay-- that was lame.

The music was cool at the beginning of each class. Maybe post an example of a final exam on the web... that would be a help.

Unsolicited Student e-mail

21 December, 2002

Dr. Gotelli:

Just wanted to thank you for sharing such wonderful lectures with me. You have a wonderful teaching talent, which many scholars lack. I thought your class was thought-provoking and highly interesting. The labs were fun and it was great to work outside in Centennial Woods. In every lecture, you seemed so motivated, knowledgable, and interested in what you were talking about, and you also cared so much about the students understanding. I loved the music you played before every lecture, and how you expressed the importance of buying CDs to support artists. It was a pleasure to learn from someone so interested in not only their own work, but the work of others. I look forward to reading your suggested books.

Thanks again,

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