Impact of the Seminar

Our growing list of student-initiated evaluations demonstrates the positive impact the seminar is having on substantial numbers of students. We are grateful for these comments, and even more so for the opportunity to have a positive impact on our students’ lives and academic careers.

AIS survey results correspond with the student-initiated evaluations. For example, over 84% of respondents would recommend the seminar to a friend. We think that’s an exceptional outcome for a required remediation assignment.

Sample student comments include the following:

[1] ”The seminar wasn’t what I expected”

Student from MIT: “I found the seminar to be far more interesting and engaging than I had expected. I have spent around 24 hours in total (over the course of a week and half) working on the assignment; I learned a lot and I had a number of memorable moments.”

Student from Stanford: “Although the readings were far more diverse than I had been expecting, this was one of my favorite aspects of the class. This diversity made it so that there were some articles that really resonated with me, and I also think it was important to gain exposure to pieces that I wouldn’t have read ordinarily. It definitely helped my critical thinking skills. Overall the seminar was very thought provoking and some of the readings are sure to stick with me for a long time.”

[2] ”AIS Readings can influence life decisions”

Student from Purdue University: “For me after reading these two [Nobel Prize acceptance] speeches . . . Electrical Engineering deeply engages me for sure now. Earlier I was in kind of quandary but now everything is pretty much clear.”

Student from George Mason: “Thank you so much for your hard work. You have done a great job putting this seminar together. The readings were very interesting. I thought about my life, the things I deal with and have dealt with while reading. I was able to find some solutions. I enjoyed Lincoln’s reading the most. I was also going through depression and had find nothing to motivate. After reading Lincoln’s story, I got some motivation to follow my dreams and live for them if nothing else. I appreciate your time and effort very much.”

[3] ”Important ideas merit further reading/discussion”

Student from Stanford: “Thank you so much for your detailed and in-depth feedback. I just finished reading through it all, and I plan to look into some of the reading you suggested. My favorite was the Abraham Lincoln reading. After your comments, I want to go back and read it again. I really appreciate the time and attention you granted my responses. I didn’t expect that.

Student from Stanford: “Thank you very much for the excellent set of readings and questions. I very much enjoyed the seminar and had several very enlightening discussions with family and friends, especially on Tolstoy’s theories of life.”

[4] ”Maybe the liberal arts are useful after all”

Student from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: “I was always a person interested in science and engineering, I always neglected liberal arts. But now thanks to you I have a different view about studies on liberal arts. It can be beneficial to a person to shape his thoughts and philosophy. I think in a way, this mistake of mine has made me realize and find out a lot about my hidden and neglected interest. [Also], your review about Shattered Glass made me rethink my views and I watched it again to get a deeper sense of the message.”

[5] ”AIS tutors are partners in learning”

Student from Babson College: “Thank you so much for your insightful responses. I have written papers throughout my 3 years of college, but I have never received such extensive and valuable feedback from any other professor. Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. I hope I have an opportunity to be taught by you in the future. I am glad that I received your guidance during this course.”

[6] ”An international student perspective”

Student from MIT:If I were to choose my favorite one from all the AIS readings, I would definitely choose “the Gamesman.” I feel that it is a very typical kind of personality that we can find around us in our daily lives. I consider it especially applicable to the Chinese society. China is a rapidly developing country with the biggest population worldwide. As a result, Chinese people are under widespread psychological pressures coming from the highly competitive society (such as the need of social recognition and the expectations from parents and friends). I think that in this sort of society, the “Gamesman” kind of personality is more easily to be found.”