1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Quite. 2: Good overview of broad issues in readings provided a good foundation for the course. 3: Very. But it was an HTML list that had infinite extensions. Some annotation as to the most important would have been reassuring. 4: Pre-course readings, although formidable, were a good introduction to course matter and will be very helpful to reread now that course work is completed. 5: Good. 6: They were quite useful. I only read what seemed appropriate, but I looked at many of the web sites. 7: Pertinent, but not essential. 8: Good introduction to basic concepts, although they were hard to retain without the framework provided by the course. 9: Very useful and informative. Gave me a good introduction to the course. 10: Good background material. 11: Very useful, particularly the essays which provided a broader theoretical context for EAD. 12: The readings were extremely helpful, especially the introductory overviews. The rest of the readings and the resources will be useful to me now that I know a little more about the subject.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes. 2: Yes, especially as this is in large part a lab-based course. The handbook will be very helpful to refresh my memory and pick up the work at home. 3: Yes. 4: Excellent syllabus. 5-6: Yes. 7: Yes, useful. Intend to use in future. 8: Yes, but I would have liked some additional generic step-by-step instructions for those of us who just use computers without knowing how they work! 9: Very useful. The guide book will be a great asset when I try to put EAD into practice at my home institution. 10: Useful in class and will provide the basis for decisions in the future. 11: Yes. Unfortunately, these will be somewhat less useful when I return, as I must order and install a commercial (formerly free) software package, Panorama, and Author/Editor. 12: Yes. It has quite a lot of useful information as well as citations and pointers to even more useful information.
3) Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?
1-2: Yes. 3: Yes. Well-designed to encourage a flying leap upward from every plateau. 4: Intellectual level was challenging, but not overwhelming. 5-6: Yes. 7: A bit over my head, but worth the stretch. 8: Yes, very challenging without being overwhelming. 9: Yes. 10: Challenging, but extremely interesting. 12: Yes.
4) Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description (ECD)? Did the course in general meet your expectations?
1-12: Yes. [This is the first time in the history of RBS evaluations that we have had an identical answer from every student in a course. -Ed.]
5) What did you like best about the course?
1: Instructor explained concepts well and seemed genuinely interested in meeting our individual needs. 2: The instructor and the students. The content was challenging - and directly related to what I want to do at my own library. The pace was not too slow - lots of time to ask questions. 3: Instructor, class bonding. 4: The feeling of accomplishment early on in the course was very motivating. Hands-on computer work solidified the lecture content. 5: I feel fairly confident about proceeding with implementation. 6: DP is a wonderful instructor and proponent of EAD. It was a privilege to study EAD with him. 7: Hands-on learning. 8: Encoding our own finding aids. 9: The instructor and hands-on practice. 10: DP is an excellent instructor, very patient and able to meet everyone on their level. He is also fascinating to listen to because of his enthusiasm for the subject. 11: Working on my own finding aid; discussing issues related to how to implement an efficient workflow for producing and mounting finding aids at my home institution. 12: The instructor.
6) How could the course have been improved?
2: Advertise that students must have more than basic computer skills and experience with managing computer files, &c. 4: Very little to improve on. This course was the most logically presented computer/archival course I've ever taken! The templates were very helpful - a command template might be helpful for the future. 5: Instructor could have moved a bit slower with some direction. 6: Perhaps we should have had a shorter finding aid to encode. Too much unnecessary and boring typing gets in the way of thinking about the process. 7: A more clear cut definition of the most applicable and pertinent information to retain, presented clearly at the outset would have been useful to me because there was more to digest than I could encompass in one week. This was done somewhat, but more spoonfeeding would have been helpful. 8: See no.2, above: more basic "cheat sheets" for those of us with limited experience in setting up directories and paths. Otherwise, no improvements necessary. 11: When more powerful shareware or freeware tools become available, have students use that software, rather than commercial proprietary software.
7) Please comment on the quality/enjoyability of the various RBS activities in which you took part outside of class, eg Sunday afternoon tour, Sunday night dinner and videos, evening lectures, Bookseller Night, tour of the Alderman digital/electronic centers, printing demonstrations, &c.
2: Everyone was gracious and accommodating. The activities were varied and enjoyable. I'm glad attendance wasn't required, though, because the course was mentally fatiguing. 4: Bookseller Night was very enjoyable, as were the exhibits and evening lectures. 5: Very well done. 6: Some of the lectures were pretty lame. 7: Speakers could have presented more intellectually challenging material, but the format, bells-and-whistles were generally just fine. 8: The tour was a good introduction to the campus; dinner was fine, but the seating area was insufficient; lectures I attended were outside my areas of interest (can there be something for the non-book people?). Bookseller Night was a well-planned outing. 10: Sunday dinner needs more seating. Breakfasts and coffee breaks were excellent opportunities to meet others and the food was good. 12: I enjoyed the tour of the digital/electronic center. However, the lectures and Rotunda exhibition were a little lame.
8) Any final thoughts? Did you get your money's worth?
1: It was worth taking. 2: Be independent; seek out people and activities. Don't be put off by cliques. 3: Try offering EAD and Desbib concurrently. Some useful cross-fertilization might happen. 4: DP is one of the most knowledgeable experts in his field and is most patient and eager to help all of his students grasp some very difficult concepts! His classes fly by and we all hate to leave!! Indeed, a kind and gentle introduction to EAD!! 5: Yes, I got my money's worth. 7: For a beginning archivist, the course is very valuable in reinforcing understanding of finding aids and reassessing just what should be emphasized by a given institution. Technically it was at times overwhelming, but appropriate pointers were made for outside resources, and the key technical content was conveyed. 8: Great course! Good introduction. We're not ready to start an encoding project yet, but I have much food for thought as we plan for the future. 9: I would do it again, I had a wonderful time! Thank you. 10: This was my second RBS course and I found it a wonderful experience, both from the course content and the opportunity to meet others in the field. 12: Yes, I definitely got my money's worth.
Number of respondents: 12
There were 12 students: six archivist/manuscript librarians (50%), three general librarians with some rare book duties (25%), one administrator (8%), one rare book librarian (8%), and one "Other" (8%).