MATH 195 Gödel, Escher, and Bach: Exit Questionnaire

This is the first time either of us (or anyone else at this school) has given this course. We have found your comments helpful throughout the semester, and we would like to benefit from your current, most mature opinions, those that come from looking back on the journey you have just completed. You have the standard questionnaire from the College of Arts & Science, but that form must ask only general questions. We would like to ask for your help on more specific issues.

This questionnaire is totally anonymous. Since the web site is outside of Blackboard (notice that you did not log in), your name will not be attached to your responses.

Space has been provided for comments regarding each item of the questionnaire, and you're highly invited to share your thoughts in words. Despite the apparent size of the boxes, there's no space limit.

The opportunity to serve those students who will come after you is no doubt reward enough, but to show our appreciation for your efforts, we will pay you 10 points on the fourth exam for your time. To gain this token of our gratitude, simply answer "yes" to the question that will appear on your exam: Have you completed the on-line questionnaire and turned in the standard evaluation?

Please press the "submit" button when you're finished!

Content of the course

This course was intended to fulfill the field of study requirement in symbolic reasoning. If you're unfamiliar with what that requirement is, click here. Please bear this goal in mind as you answer the following questions.

1. The Book: Few courses are devoted to a single book (biblical studies excluded), so an obvious question is whether Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, and Bach was worth the attention we lavished on it.
In the end, did you find the book:  

2. Immediate goalWe chose to focus only on that part of the book aimed at understanding Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem.
Now that you've reached some accomodation with Gödel's theorem, do you find this goal:  

3. Topics:

a. What topics do you find particularly interesting?

(To select multiple items press Ctrl while clicking mouse)

b. What topics seemed useless at the time but you now realize have made you a Better Person?

(To select multiple items press Ctrl while clicking mouse)

c. What topics still seem useless?

(To select multiple items press Ctrl while clicking mouse)

4. Auxiliary topics: Art (Escher) and Music (Bach), for better or worse, could not be a primary focus of this course if understanding Godel's Incompleteness Theorem were to remain our primary goal. Still, we did manage to get a few notes in.Consider these excursions with respect to their intrinsic interest and their utility in shedding light on the logical elements of Gödel's theorem.

a. Did you find the art examples:

b. Did you find the musical examples:


5. Workload:

a. What do you think of the amount of work asked of you for class?

b. What do you think of the amount of work you actually did for class?

c. How many hours outside of class do you estimate you spent on reading, notes, study questions, and problem sets (PER CLASS)?


6. Long term goal: To the bottom line...
To what extent do you feel you achieved the major long term objective of the course -- increasing your ability to use symbol reasoning?  


7. Learning aids: Which of the following did you find useful in gaining the insights you needed?
a. The book (usage): (utility):
b. The online notes and study questions (usage): (utility):
c. The PowerPoint presentations/lectures in class:
d. The class discussions (large group):
e. The group discussions (small groups):
f. Working on problem sets outside of class:


8. The GEB web page: Did it meet your needs?
a. The Course Information Section (usage): (utility):
b. The additional material (e.g. music) (usage): (utility):
c. The PowerPoint presentations online: (usage): (utility):
d. The exam solutions (usage): (utility):
e. The links (usage): (utility):
f. The discussion board (usage): (utility):
g. Overall, was the emphasis on the web a benefit?


9. Quizzes:
To be frank, the quizzes were primarily a carrot to get you to read the notes before class and to tell us where you needed help. Nonetheless, were the daily quizzes helpful to you in preparing for class?
Can you suggest a way we could make better use of them?

10. Problem Sets:
In the end, do you feel that the problem sets were effective in helping you achieve the goals of the course?
Were they an enjoyable/satisfying way of doing so?
c. Hardly anyone took advantage of our offer to confirm your answers by e-mail and redirect you when you were off. Insights? Suggestions?

11. Help: Owing to the nature of the material, everyone, I think, was lost at one time or another.When you WERE lost:
Did you feel you had an opportunity to gain help?
If you didn't seek out help, why not?

12. Problem sets/exam relationship: Doing the problem sets was advertised as the royal road to success on the exams. In retrospect, did you found this claim to be true?

13. Exam format: We hoped that exams would act as a communal problem set, one that focused your minds on what we felt was important. We hoped also that they might serve as teaching tools, exercises that helped you go beyond where you were going into the exams.
a. Did you think that the exams accomplished these goals?
b. Would you prefer strictly timed exams during the class period?

14. Feedback on Exam:
a. Did you look at our responses to the exams that we posted on the web?
b. If so, did you find them, along with any comments on your exams themselves, helpful?
c. As you probably know, the period during which the exams were administered extended over many days, owing to variations in your schedules. As a result, those of you who handed in the exam early in the period sometimes had to wait a long time before getting feedback. Did this irritate you?

15. Team teaching:
a. On balance, do you think it was a good thing for this course?
b. What were the key advantages and disadvantages?

16. Your bottom line -- What's hot: What do you like most or feel most satisfied about your experience? In what ways do you think your experiences in GEB will be helpful in the near future or over the long term?

17. Your bottom line -- What's not: What do you like least or feel least satisfied about your experience?

18. Any particular comments/suggestions to Mike?

19. Any particular comments/suggestions to Jeff?

20. Comments you'd like to make that don't fit anywhere else:

 Phew! That was a huge questionnaire!
We admire your perserverance for getting this far.
Thank you very much for your efforts on behalf of future students!

 Mike Kerckhove & Jeff Elhai