Comments and Concerns About Spring Courses

by Deborah Lanser


The evaluation forms for this spring’s classes elicited many carefully considered and colorfully worded responses. Most courses were generally a hit, with ratings of 4 or 5 for both the content and presenter. Reactions to a few others were more mixed; ratings may have ranged between 1 and 5, but most were 2 or 3. 

As usual, there were far more responses than can be included in this article. Here are some of the more representative and insightful. 

LLI Classroom

Class Content

Many members were enthusiastic about the material that was presented. 

  • Like the final porridge in Goldilocks, this class’s content was “just right.”
  • Great overview with detail and questions answered effectively
  • Phenomenal research and thought went into putting this class together
  • Appropriate content and very suitable for seniors.
  • Very interesting topic, very interesting historical progression. 
  • This is VERY important info to disseminate to the population. 
  • The class has lasting value for me.

Some expressed reservations.

  • The early semester lectures went over my head like a whirlwind.
  • Even though I was interested in the subject, it was hard to absorb. 
  • It was interesting, just not what I signed up for. 

Others saw room for improvement. 

  • The course content was too broad—even a whole semester to cover EACH lecture may not have been enough.
  • I could have benefited from a little more background.
  • Progression of ideas [was] sometimes hard to follow. 
  • Would have liked more structure to the content.
  • A few handouts might have helped to clarify. 
  • At times it seemed like the instructor was trying to stretch the material to fit the course.
  • Tried to cover too much. Lengthy emails each week. Volume of reading was excessive. 
  • The content was too much for the allotted time.


In general, members appreciated the presenters. 

  • Super well prepared for each class with a slide show that both expanded our horizons and also incorporated responses to/information about issues raised in prior class.
  • [The presenter] is enthusiastic about his subject, speaks clearly and handles questions expertly. 
  • He was so riveting that there were no interruptions for him to deal with.
  • Intelligent, charming and tells great behind the scene stories.
  • The range of [the presenter’s] knowledge is quite astonishing. 
  • Presenter provided a substantial amount of detail and managed to give clarity and insight regarding critical issues.
  • One terrific, thorough, responsible and responsive teacher.
  • [The presenter] brought out the best in the students, through listening and instruction. 
  • Despite technical glitches, [the presenter] was able to move on, barely skipping a beat.

A common concern was whether the presenter stayed on track.

  • Fascinating topic, presentation could have been more to the point with fewer asides and digressions.
  • Often questions from other members of the class were somewhat esoteric and took valuable class time to answer. 
  • Often veered off topic, but the sidebars were interesting.
  • Teacher digressed too much and too much time was spent on student comments. 

There were some caveats. 

  • The presenter droned on in a monotone for the entire class, without pause. The material is interesting but it was difficult to stay focused.
  • [The presenter] read instead of presenting the material in a conversational manner.
  • He didn’t delve into subject matter as deeply as he could have.
  • DId not guide/facilitate discussion appropriately, interjected opinions instead.

Visual Aids

  • [The presenter’s] visual aids such as slides and videos from the Internet are entertaining and instructive at the same time. 
  • [The presenter] made the material accessible with detailed PowerPoint presentations, which were appropriate for the course. She had an outline for each session and it followed the progression of the PowerPoint.

Repeat Class?

Members often thought the class should be repeated or the presenter invited back.

  • This class should definitely be repeated. It is a very important topic and a limited number of LLI members were able to participate in it. 
  • Let the presenter teach any other course he wants. 
  • Anyone who has not been able to get into this class should keep on trying. 
  • Remarkable! I could sit in this class every week for the rest of my life. 
  • You should repeat all of [the presenter’s] courses. You can’t go wrong. 

Some had reservations. 

  • It’s interesting but needs a tuneup. 
  • Not without considerable redesign.
  • Due to the severe/disturbing nature of the topic, I am glad I took it but repeating it–can’t say.
  • I am not sure how many people would be drawn to the material.
Bard Olin Hall


  • We need to provide presenters with good workable PA systems in class. 
  • Unfortunately, in each class there were technical issues.
  • A microphone in the room would aid the speakers immensely. 
  • It is not a pleasant venue for the class. I found it very uncomfortable. 
  • The seats in [the classroom] are very hard, finally I had to bring a seat cushion to sit on.

Final Comment

Love coming to Bard LLI. Fun, intellectually stimulating, and lots of interesting people.