Rutgers University Student Instructional Rating Summer 2010

 11 704 323 B1   84134       Mathys Blake  
         ENROLL=   22       RESP=  17 (77%)     STRONGLY                    STRONGLY  # OF     MEAN    MEAN  MEAN   MEAN       
                                                DISAGREE        NEUTRAL       AGREE     NO      OF      OF    OF     OF      
PART A: UNIVERSITY-WIDE QUESTIONS:                   1      2      3      4     5   RESPONSES SECTION COURSE DEPT   LEVEL   

  1. The instructor was prepared for class and     
     presented the material in an organized manner   0      0      0      1    16       0      4.94    4.94  4.96   4.94
  2. The instructor responded effectively to       
     student comments and questions                  0      0      0      3    14       0      4.82    4.82  4.90   4.82
  3. The instructor generated interest in the      
     course material                                 0      0      1      1    15       0      4.82    4.82  4.83   4.82
  4. The instructor had a positive attitude toward 
     assisting all students in understanding       
     course material                                 0      0      0      0    17       0      5.00    5.00  4.97   5.00
  5. The instructor assigned grades fairly           0      0      2      6     9       0      4.41    4.41  4.55   4.41
  6. The instructional methods encouraged student  
     learning                                        0      0      1      3    13       0      4.71    4.71  4.72   4.71
  7. I learned a great deal in this course           0      0      1      3    13       0      4.71    4.71  4.79   4.71
  8. I had a strong prior interest in the subject  
     matter and wanted to take this course           3      1      5      1     7       0      3.47    3.47  3.97   3.47
  9. I rate the teaching effectiveness of the      
     instructor as                                   0      0      0      4    13       0      4.76    4.76  4.83   4.76
 10. I rate the overall quality of the course as     0      0      0      6    11       0      4.65    4.65  4.76   4.65

What do you like best about this course?:

I like the time in the field with the professor, field trips were amazing.

the field trips

The field trips were great, but getting to the parking lot at 7am and staying til 11 was rough.

Without question the reason that this course was so great is because of Dr. Mathys. He has a love and excitement for this subject that is truly infectious. I constantly find myself calling out the names of birds when I'm getting the mail or driving in my car. He made the subject material clear and he made the class so much fun. He is extremely knowledgeable and very funny. He blends his expansive wealth of knowledge and witty humor into the perfect combination that keeps the class truly engaged. He took us on the best field trips and made the experience as a whole very enjoyable. This has been one of my absolute favorite classes that I've taken here at Rutgers, and that is a direct result of Dr. Mathys.

I really enjoyed learning about the birds

field trips

The best part of the course was the wide exposure to birds. They were presented in lecture in the form of pictures, video, and audio files. The lab allowed the students to handle preserved specimens for up close observation. The field trips allowed the students to see live birds in natural habitats and some locations such as the Raptor preserve and Hutcheson Memorial Forest allowed up-close observation of live birds, even allowing students to hold live birds.

very interesting material. great attitude. perfect summer class.

The field trips were fun and interesting. Blake was always willing to help and answer any questions, even if they didn't pertain directly to class material. He is extremely knowledgeable and the best instructor I could have hoped to have.

profesor's enthusiasim of curriculum

I like the field trips, best way to learn

I liked that the course was in the summer with two days of lecture, one day of lab, and one field trip day. The schedule of the class was split up well and really worked well.

His sense of humor

I enjoyed the field trips the most of anything in the course. I also liked the labs, and learning the different bird names.

I liked the field trips since we got to see actual birds in their habitats and I enjoyed learning about how diverse birds are.

The field and lab components effectively complement the lecture material.

If you were teaching this course, what would you do differently?:

I would not change a thing, this has been a wonderful learning experience.


Not assign so many species for the lab. Also, what is the purpose of learning the family names? I will never need that, I doubt real ornithologists even need to memorize that. It's the 21st century, thats what the internet is for.

There isn't really anything that I would do differently. As previously mentioned, I think Dr. Mathys did a wonderful job. I fully understand that this is not necessarily a "productive" response, but it is an honest one.

i don't really know - summer was quick, so lectures had to be condensed

I would give more extra credit assignment since the course is intense.

An annoyance with the instructor was the posting of lectures after the lecture was given in class. It was appreciated that lectures were posted, but it is better when they are posted before the class. Taking notes and then adding to the slides after class was more difficult than taking notes directly on the slides. Having the lecture slides at the time of lecture allows saved note taking time as well as being able to write in notes in real time. Having to add notes to slides after the lecture resulted in some lost comments that could have been added during lecture had the slides been provided prior.

when using the projector make sure you don't stand in front of the screen, even if your still off to the side. A laser pointer would be better.As sometimes it was hard to see the diagrams you were pointing to.


Don't go to trip that early because not every students live in the area

Probably nothing, everything was presented very well and I feel that since I learned a lot everything was done perfectly

I would have the quizzes and tests be less tricky. The questions were sometimes confusing and certain answers should have been acceptable as correct answers instead of being extremely specific to what the professor wanted. It wasn't a fair way to see if students were learning the material just because I didn't answer a question the way the professor thought I should have.

Early on in the course, make the students aware of how fortunate they are to be learning about birds while in New Jersey. Basic facts can be eye-opening and help generate interest. Being along the Atlantic Flyway, geography contributing to bird diversity, NJ's diversity compared to diversity of other states despite the size difference, etc.

In what ways, if any, has this course or the instructor encouraged your intellectual growth and progress?:

The professor has inspired me to love birds even more. Since birds are everywhere having this knowledge is fulfilling and will be carried on with me unlike some of my other courses taken.

I will never look at birds the same way. Now I can name 148 species of birds and my family and friends think I'm nuts.

Dr. Mathys is a truly inspiring educator. I learned things in his class that I will carry with me forever. I have a new understanding and appreciation for the intelligence, physical endurance, and overall uniqueness of birds. I will continue to go on bird watching expeditions (something that I had never done before this class) on my own, and I will introduce that wonderful world to all of my friends.

This course is one of those few courses that sort of changes the way a person views the world. I took an agriculture course and have changed what foods I purchase based on methods of production, business practices, and shipping methods. Ornithology provides a day to day knowledge of the birds people see every day. Bird behavior is less mysterious now and why they behave in certain ways such as increasing body temperature by standing with wings spread for sunning is better understood. I now have a better understanding of the landscape of bird ecology and how my behavior and actions can impact them whether it be in positive or harmful ways.

created a stronger interest in birds, encouraged constant preparation of bird knowledge.

I am so interested in birds that its becoming one of my hobbies.

The class got me to learn very interesting things about birds as well as learn some of the species that I see right where I live.

Before, I did not like animals now I am starting to ease a little bit. I don't know how long that feeling is going to last.

Made sure to keep quizzing us on the names of the birds we needed to know. This quizzing helped make sure we were staying up on the information and helped me learn more.

This course has definitely made me appreciate birds more and made me want to go birdwatching. It has also made me want to learn more about birds and their environments.

Cedar Waxwings, if any, have encouraged my intellectual growth and progress.

Other comments or suggestions::

As a summer course it was a bit intensive and fast paced but it wasn't too hard to keep up. I learned so much and I want to thank Professor Mathys for bestowing his knowledge of birds unto me.

He's pretty cool

Mathys had a great attitude, and aptitude with birds. It was amusing at times just how excited he got when we saw something rare. Good professor, but it would have been helpful if he posted the class slides BEFORE class so I didn't have to write everything and been able to pay attention to what he had to say.

Dr. Mathys is a genuine asset to this college. We need more professors like him. He is approachable, always prepared, welcomes questions, and creates a very comfortable learning environment in the classroom. You should give him more classes to teach.

Another complaint relates to quizzes and exams. The material that is tested is covered clearly in lectures, but some of the questions are written poorly. I lost at least 8 points due to being confused by the question asked and not by the actual material. The instructor needs to look more closely at the answer given and if it is indicating knowledge of the topic in the question rather than looking to see if a certain key word is presented. By writing a more clear question, those specific key words may be given in the answer rather than a more general statement about the topic as a whole or something closely related to the question, but not the actual answer. Overall the testing was very fair, but the instructor was not willing to adapt his grading if the question was shown to be confusing to multiple students.

I really enjoyed the class, i thought you were well prepared with all of the course material, you kept class interesting with your personal experiences and knowledge, and your sarcasm kept class interesting, i don't think you had any trick questions everything was very straight forward. i thought you did very well for this being the first time you ever taught ornithology. I especially enjoyed your class, especially the field trips, as nothing is better than learning in the field.

Blake was a very good teacher, he knew a lot about the topics at hand and showed a lot of interest in class, lab, and on the field trips. The tests and quizzes were very fair. =]

Class was great but the quizzes and tests should be less vague, and have more direct, clear questions. The answers should also be less specific or if they need to be more specific make the questions well-written.

Blake is one-of-a-kind [awesome].