RATING SCALE : 10 = HIGH or excellent ; 1 = LOW or miserable
Class evaluations are done on-line via email or D2L. Complete data is available on request in Prof McFarland's office. Response rates were about 60% until Spring 2016, when Prof McFarland devoted a small amount of classtime at the end of the semester for everyone attending that day to submit an evaluation, at which point responses rate jumped to 90% ! One question invites a summary valuation of the professor :

Overall, the instructor's effectiveness in teaching was________________ (10=best; 1=worst)

For Fall 2017, average response for Math 250 was 8.41. The averages for previous semesters are at the right. Details below.

Prof McFarland retired at the end of the Spring 2017 semester, but taught Math 250 post-retirement in the Fall of 2017, and will again in the Fall of 2018.

Average rating for all classes
Fall 2017 8.41
Spring 2017 8.59
Fall 2016 8.55
Spring 2016 7.46
Spring 2015 7.64
Fall 2014 7.43
Spring 2014 6.86
Fall 2013 8.21
Spring 2013 7.06
Fall 2012 7.26
Spring 2012 7.900
Fall 2011 7.885
Spring 2011 7.800
Fall 2010 7.85
Spring 2010 8.475
Fall 2009 7.756
Spring 2009 7.729
Fall 2008 8.500

Anonymous student comments on end-of-semester class evaluations

At the end of every semester (including Fall 2018), students will have an opportunity to submit a class evaluation, including unstructured comments. Prof McFarland has copied below ALL the unstructured comments submitted by his Math 250 students at the end of the Fall 2017 semester. Prof. McFarland retired in 2017, and did not teach at Whitewater in Spring 2018, instead studying relativity at UW-Madison.
Our UW-W class evaluations, as well as private websites such as Rate my Professor, have attracted comments which can vary from ravingly positive to dismally negative from the same class (!) with reality somewhere between. Comments on private websites will more often use refreshingly youthful language,

Math 250 section 1 Fall 2017. Overall evaluation score 8.41 out of 10
Question: What things did you like best, either about the course or the way the instructor taught the course?
ALL Student responses:

  • Didn't go too fast, went through each problem thoroughly
  • Dr. McFarland was great about explaining difficult concepts in a way most people could understand
  • He allowed for a lot of time to get help before tests and was always available for questions.
  • I can say without a doubt that this teacher is one of the best I have ever had throughout my entire educational career. He genuinely cares about his students and is unquestionably amazing at disarming the "no talking" stigma that plagues the majority of classrooms at this university. I would even go as far to say that other instructors should sit in on his classes and take copious notes. The worst thing that this college could do is not take advantage of the asset which is this teacher. Overall, this instructors ability to develop the intuition of his students is unparalleled. He is indeed a refreshing change to the repetitive nature of the average classroom and represents the perfect example of what this university should strive to become. It would be a grievous mistake to let this instructor's teaching style fade into the background.
  • I like the short classes usually introduced a topic and the long classes elaborated on that idea.
  • I liked how interactive the professor was
  • I liked that the instructor clearly cared about the students success and involvement in the class. He moved students that were struggling next to students that could help work through problems with them during class. He was also open to meet with during more office hours than I've ever seen a professor available for.
  • I liked the freedom we had to do problems on our own in class so we could get experience with the material.
  • I liked the way the professor taught the course with enthusiasm every day and kept the students engaged in the class
  • I think that Prof. McFarland is a very fair teacher that gives his students a good chance of succeeding if the do the homework and web quizzes. I also like that he will give credit on certain problems if he is able to see how the student was thinking about the problem. I also really like that he encourages his students to work in teams so that it is easier for them to figure out problems.
  • Lots of example problems
  • Made the material interesting and easier to learn
  • McFarland is really good at explaining these concepts. I have had Calc classes in the past that I was lost in. This class has made me much more confident in my abilities. I understand what is going on there are plenty of examples and things to do to improve your score/ understanding. I like that most new concepts are broken into parts and then we put them all together because otherwise, it can get really intimidating. This class has helped a lot with my confidence in taking Math classes.
  • My professor was very quick to work with and get back to students that were in need of help.
  • Professor McFarland is one of the best professors I've had at explaining the material and making necessary connections. He is very polite and genuinely cares about the students learning the material.
  • Professor McFarland is very knowledgeable of the material. His teaching style takes a bit to get used to as with most difficult courses, but I found him to be a great teacher and also enjoyed the material. I have taken no math in a few years and did not know that I had to take this class for Madison. Because of this I was very worried going in, but the class is straight forward if you put in the time and effort. One would be hard pressed to find an instructor that provides more availability for help or resources than Professor McFarland
  • Professor was very well organized.
  • Taught in a slower manor due to the nature of the course that math is harder to grasp. He took his time and really helped build fundamentals on which by the time the class was near the end everyone was raising their respective hand.
  • The amount of extra credit given.
  • The extra credit was great. A very good professor that cares for his students.
  • good engagement with students
  • liked how he let us work problems out and then solved them so we could see what we did right or wrong
  • stuck to the syllabus
Question: What should the instructor change about the course or the way the course is taught?
ALL Student responses:

  • ...
  • I would like to see more group work.i liked that you encouraged people to work together in class.
  • I would to preface this answer by saying that once you understand how to find and use Professor McFarland's website it is straight forward, but at the beginning of the year I wished that he had a D2L page. There is a spot on D2L for the class with a link to the website, but otherwise nothing. As stated once you know how to use the website it is fine, but at the start D2L could have alleviated some confusion. Overall, UWW is blessed to have a professor as knowledgeable as Thomas McFarland.
  • Maybe more of the online quizzes, the short ones were pretty useful?
  • More tests
  • NA
  • Professor McFarland just didn't teach the material in an effective manner. When he did problems on the board he would skip steps, and not explain parts of problem, because he assumed we knew the information already. I feel like the only way to succeed in this class is if you come into the class with prior knowledge about calculus. I am a 3.8 GPA student and I beyond struggled in this course, not because the material was difficult, because the professor didn't teach the subject very well. Overall, I hated this course.
  • Sometimes lectures are a little dry.
  • The course can be very fast pace at times, and this might be overwhelming to students. I would say maybe slow down the first month of the class, as some students haven't had prior experience with calculus before.
  • The instructor should go over more problems during class so that the students can have plenty of examples to compare and contrast. It would also behoove the professor NOT to skip steps, because regardless of whether or not a student knows the algebra or not, when they're confused about the process of a problem, missed steps only further hurt their understanding and make some otherwise intuitive and simple problems impossible to figure out without help.
  • The only problem was he talked too quiet for me to hear when other students were having side conversations which happened a lot
  • The syllabus was a little confusing at first and what he wanted us to accomplish, but once it was clarified it was easier to understand.
  • This class does not feel relevant to my career choice and i have difficulty feeling engaged in what i am learning
  • Web links to helpful videos would be nice. It was difficult to learn from the textbook, and his website.
  • make the notes match the tests
  • maybe integrating more work for class
  • more in class review before exams
  • more opportunity to boost grade
  • nothing
  • web quizzes should save answers if you refresh the page or accidentally click a link on the page
  • nothing
  • nothing