“I wish some teachers knew how difficult it is for a lot of students to attend school and focus because of so many different things going on in each and everyones’ lives. Not all people/students have access to electronics and cash.”
“Virtual teams are too stressful and I usually learn nothing from it. I always get the guy who does nothing and I don’t get a chance to show off what I’ve learned and what I know.”
These are examples of hundreds of University of Hawaiʻi Community College students’ responses that were solicited in fall 2018 through a project called, “I Wish My Teachers Knew.” Students posted their feedback to the prompt on whiteboards located throughout UH’s seven community college campuses and online.
The project, conducted by Generation XII of the Wo Learning Champions (campus leaders from UH’s community colleges, who are selected annually), garnered more than 1,000 student responses.
The feedback wasn’t all critical. “One of the biggest shocks to me was actually all of the positive comments that students left about things they appreciate that they’ve had teachers do, or faculty members or staff members do on campus,” said Samantha Bowe, UH Maui College associate professor.
Some of the goals were to highlight student issues, increase awareness about them and mobilize campuses around these issues. The Wo Champions created a video to share the student feedback at the March 2019 Hawaiʻi Student Success Institute, where they worked with hundreds of UH faculty and staff on strategies to address issues in five key areas identified through the project: group work, online/learning management systems, personal life, time and teaching methods. Since then, campuses have worked to address student concerns in different ways.
“My voice became bigger,” said project participant Kesha Kubo, Hawaiʻi CC’s information center coordinator. “Because I was able to take the information we had gathered and show it to some of our administrators and say these are the things that are going on. We need to help these students who have food insecurity or transportation needs. We need to help them in some way.”
The Hawaiʻi CC campus has since opened a food pantry and provided students with bus passes.
—By Kelli Trifonovitch