Executive Summary

EDAB recommends that more upper-level classes be recorded and that professors be encouraged to follow up on course feedback with a mid-semester checkpoint that is standardized and further transparency.

Key Findings

Course Feedback

It is unclear how, or if, end-of-semester feedbacks are used. Students spend a sincere effort in making them comprehensive, but many feel hopeless given that their critiques will not affect them. Furthermore, there is no accountability in this feedback system, since everything in the class is ultimately up to the discretion of the instructor.

Lecture Recordings

A few years ago, EDAB conducted an Active Learning audit. We concluded that Active Learning was effective, but limited to introductory math/science courses. Students also felt that group collaboration was at times too forced, with students dreading the format more than finding it motivational. Students stated over and over that having all class content be recorded was instrumental to their success in class, and that they wish future classes would follow suit.


More upper-level classes should be recorded.

This will not replace actual lectures, but will give students a useful resource to revisit material and internalize concepts. In our randomized survey of 106 random Penn Engineering students conducted in March 2018, we found high support for more lecture recordings: approximately 50% of students indicated lecture recordings would be more useful for review, more than 55% responded that too many lecture rooms do not have cameras, and more than 60% of respondents said recordings would complement -- not replace -- attending lecture. On the flip side, less than 30% students did in fact mention they would not go to class if lecture recordings were always offered.

In the longer term,  there are general questions we hope that faculty, specifically Dean Composto, will consider:

  • How often is professor-to-professor feedback implemented, if at all?

  • How often is student-to-professor feedback implemented, if at all?

  • How often do course evaluation data at the end of the semester actually make a difference to a professor’s teaching style?

  • Is it possible to outfit engineering classrooms with cameras, and would professors be okay with doing so?