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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 38, Number 25. 2nd October 1975

Pols III

Pols III

Les Cleveland:
Organisation 3.83
Workload 3.34
Lecturer Convey info 4.16
Students' say 2.25
Recommend 1.91
Knowledge 4.76
Approachable 4.41
289 students enrolled, 115 replies.

This course is compulsory for BCA students not majoring in Political Science or Public Administration.

Answers to the question "How useful did you find the course" were in two clear categories:
  • the course was very good for broadening one's general knowledge of political and social systems, particularly NZ's.
  • but many students distinguished between a "useful" and an "interesting" course. The typical reply was "very interesting, but not at all useful for my BCA with accounting major."
Still, the course was fairly well received especially as it is a BCA core unit. Of the 115 replies, 49 liked the course, 9 positively disliked it; 20 thought it "okay,' and 35 didn't say anything. In more detail:
  • Teaching: Many students praised Les' "entertaining" and enthusiastic lecturing style. But there were complaints of insufficient student participation in lectures. Of course, the class was large, but it was noted that lectures would be more stimulating if students' own ideas were discussed, e.g via:
    • tutors reporting back to the lecturer what students wanted discussed.
    • a 10 minute question session at the end of each lecture.

Tutorials must have varied in success, because comments about them varied considerably. One BA student, who named Irene Webley as his/her tutor, heaped praise on the tuts and said Pols III was the most efficiently run course s/he had done. But many complained of an apparent lack of contact between lecturer and tutors, and a disparity in essay marks between different tutors. (Essays did not count in the final grade).

About 10 students called for compulsory tuts! presumably so more students would attend and the discussion be livelier Les' idea is to have voluntary tuts and use the attendance level as an indicator of student approval, which seems to us to be a better idea.

Content: Most students agreed that it was an Introductory course with the characteristically broad, general coverage, at the expense of in-depth studies of particular topics. Most approved this, but naturally some students thought it was far too general.

Beyond that, not much can be said, because there was much disagreement about which parts should have been emphasised. Some wanted more on political concepts and ideologies - democracy, facism, Nazism, communism - which occupied only the last 3 weeks. Equally as many wanted less "isms." and more NZ politics and political history. Equally as many again wanted the mass media, advertising and propaganda topics emphasised. And some wanted to include Pacific politics and more on South East Asia. The course covered all these things (except Pacific politics), so at least the student disagreement served to show us what the course includes, and that it is very wide ranging.