Gas station without pumps

2017 June 17

Kind thoughts from a student

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 23:36

One of my students sent me a nice e-mail at the end of the quarter.  With her permission I’m reprinting it here:

Dear Prof. Karplus,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you and tell you how much I enjoyed the class over the last two quarters. Even though my scores may not reflect it, I feel like I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn a lot. In addition to that, some of the projects gave me a chance to spend time and connect with my father, who’s also an engineer. He was amazed at my ability to draw and build a circuit on my own (as I did the class-D lab solo), because he claims he was never able to do so when he first started learning electronics. The last project was especially very meaningful, since EKGs are  personal to me due to some childhood problems, and I got to learn how they work. I created my graduation cap as a tribute to that project and the class (see attached picture), I hope you like it!

Hope to see you at graduation,

Manisha Marisetty’s graduation cap

A number of students in the class have told me how much they learned in the class, and not just about electronics. Other things students have mentioned include writing improvement, breaking things into subproblems, and debugging. This feedback from the students is valuable, as it keeps me motivated to keep improving the course. The course is a lot of work (for me and for the students), and it would be very easy to burn out if the course were not having much positive effect on the students.

Note: constructive criticism from the students is also useful—I’ve had several tell me that there need to be more drill exercises, for example, and there have been requests for more worked examples.  But small amounts of positive feedback help keep me motivated to do the work of addressing the problems. (Students have also suggested that I need to give more positive feedback—something I’m working on, but finding difficult to do consistently.)

I’m afraid I won’t go to the graduation ceremonies this year—I’ve got too much grading still to do, and I figure I’ll barely be completing the grading by the Tuesday deadline as it is. I’ve gotten the electrode-lab redone reports graded, and one third of the EKG labs done. I have the remaining 23 EKG lab reports to grade, an independent study, and a senior thesis. I’m on schedule, but not with a lot of time to spare.


  1. This is what makes teaching really worthwhile. That and the big bucks of course.

    Comment by Garth — 2017 June 18 @ 09:29 | Reply

  2. What a great story! I especially like the breakthrough feeling she must have had when she discovered she could do something her father had difficulty with.

    Yes, I also need to work on giving positive feedback. Grading is all about subtraction for me, but i have gotten better at it on lab reports.

    Comment by CCPhysicist — 2017 June 18 @ 21:56 | Reply

  3. Nice story. Students always ask for more worked examples in every course, it seems.

    Comment by profbillanderson — 2017 July 23 @ 20:24 | Reply

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