Dear Dr. Kirk:
I had a self-appointed student representative inform me that students in my Business Communication course were unhappy with their grades and the fact that I returned homework without going over it and telling them what they did wrong. Please know that I ‘actually’ graded the papers and made edits as needed.
To say the least, I am disappointed. I was enjoying this class and the students until this happened. I admit that I have thin skin!
Do you have a response/wisdom you can share on this subject? I would be grateful.
I would suggest you do a mid-term teaching evaluation at this time. I did this for a class I had last year that had done very poorly on their first exam. I had them answer the following questions on paper anonymously the week after that exam. I first asked about what was going well (to reinforce for both me and them that much of the class is going well!), then what they thought they needed to do to improve their grades (emphasizing that they do have the responsibility for learning), and what I could do to help this process (so they could see me as a coach!). They liked being able to give feedback even though I did not use all their suggestions. I do a class blog so I posted the questions and answers for all to read. You could do this on Blackboard also.
Hope this helps. I would also tell the students when giving back papers to come see you during office hours (remind them when these are) if they need more feedback on how you graded. Few will do this but it does make them feel as if they could.
Keep in mind too that you have one person’s opinion that “students were unhappy.” We do tend to let one or a few students with negative opinions outweigh the good ones!
Good luck. I taught Business Communication many years ago early in my teaching career so can relate to the work load!