LARC Ham Course Review
Version 3   

LARC Ham Course Review Meeting

As we've discussed at the Board meetings, I would like to have a review of our Ham course for a couple of reasons:

-it's been a while since we've done this, and it's something we should do periodically
-we have had some feedback from students and other observers that we can discuss
-it would be good to review practical things like classroom facilities, course fees, bus access...
-we welcome new ideas to improve our course

Location:     427 Wing
Date/Time:   Saturday, Dec 2, 10:00 AM Sharp (breakfast at Mary's Place with new Hams is encouraged)

Feedback Received (Massaged into categories by Doug)

Ref # General Area Feedback   =============Consensus_Action==============
To be discussed and agreed in the review meeting
M1 Course Management To assure consistency, quality control, and the adoption of agreed best practices in teaching the course, we should create a Guideline document for LARC Course Instruction.  
M2   To assure consistency, adherence to Industry Canada (ISED) requirements, and direction provided by the club, we should create a Guideline document for LARC Course Examinations.  
M3   We should establish a Course Management Committee consisting of the LARC board of directors, current and past instructors to create the guideline documents. A single person should head this committee. Committee to monitor and encourage conformity to guidelines  
M4   There should be a yearly course review similar to this one

M5   LARC members should be allowed to audit classes, meaning that they can attend, and listen, but not ask or answer questions, or offer additional information to the class, unless arranged with the instructor in advance.  
M6 It is desirable that the number of different rooms used to teach the course be minimized to avoid confusion, variations in the audio/visual equipment, and extra overhead and expense
M7   We should book a room in a Library for the entire 2018 course now. The student fees cover it, assuming we have at least a dozen students, so let's avoid all the confusion we had this year  
M8 We should book the Wing for all the sessions we can, do our best to make use of it (co-exist with the wood turners?)
S1 Course Structure The course needs to be longer
S2   The course needs to be shorter

S3   The course would be about the right length if the over abundant material above and beyond the study guide, which itself is above and beyond the examined material, were removed.  
S4   The course sessions are in the wrong order.  We can't do a satisfactory job of teaching the early topics when basics like voltage, resistance and capacitance aren't explained until the sixth teaching session.  
S5   Roughly 40% of the exam questions are on rules and regulations, and it's a lot to take in during the final session. We should break this up, and present portions of it in several or all of the earlier sessions.  
T1 Teaching methods The depth of detail beyond the basic course material in some sessions is excessive, and this causes reduced time to cover the basic material, and confusion and frustration for students.  
T2   Students have said that they would like reduced time spent on material that they don't need to know for the exam.
T3   After students have struggled to comprehend complex advanced material, only to find after the fact it is not relevant for the exam, there has been audible cursing from at least 2 students.  
T4   The section on Receivers occurs before students learn the concepts and symbols related to resistance, capacitance, inductance, etc. It contains a dozen full schematics which the students have almost no hope of understanding. This is inappropriate for a basic course.  
T5   The slide background colour should be different for material that is well beyond what is covered by the exam. This would prevent students from struggling on material they don't need to understand if they find it difficult. A coloured block in the top right corner of "extra" slides might be more practical.
Perhaps this material shouldn't be in the presentation and course at all.
T6   We could measure how well we're concentrating on the basic material by having each instructor identify, for every slide in their presentation, one exam question number that it relates to.  
I1 Instructor Activity Instructors who are present in sessions being conducted by other instructors have jumped in to answer students questions, going into too much detail, going off topic, and consuming time that is needed for the original instructor to cover their material. It would be better if the instructor teaching the session remained in control unless he asks for assistance.  
I2   The Powerpoint presentation and any handouts should be made available online promptly (i.e. within 7 days of the session) to assist students who have missed the session, or who wish to study the contents.  
I3   All sessions should be based on PowerPoint presentations so that:
-they can be made available to students who miss a session
-they can be presented by a different instructor when needed due to unforeseen circumstances
(Assistance to be provided to any instructors who wish help constructing PowerPoint presos)
I4   There should be at least one designated understudy for each session who is sufficiently familiar with the material and the latest PowerPoint presentation to be able to give the session in case the planned instructor is unexpectedly unavailable at the last minute.  
E1 Examination topics An examiner who has seen the examination to be used should not be discussing course content with the class, to avoid the appearance of improper communication
E2   We have inconsistent approaches taken by various examiners. Variations in procedures should be decided by LARC, and not individual examiners.  
E3   Some examiners allow "second chance" answers for questions which were originally incorrect. Others don't.  
E4   Some examiners advocate allowing students to have a LARC-provided sheet listing formulas with them during the exam. Universities now give out formula sheets during their exams. Others feel this is inappropriate, and it is explicitly disallowed by RIC-1, section 5.2  
E5   Significant policy changes like allowing formula sheets should be discussed in advance with [ the Course Management Committee ], and not announced to the class until this has happened.  
E6   In order to make the examination process work smoothly, there need to be multiple people involved. One or more examiners need to oversee the examination process, and do the marking. The marking proces shouldn't be stalled for tasks that other people can do. A person referred to as the proctor above needs to supervise the students writing the exam, and the processing of their completed exam and other paperwork. Additional people may be needed as runners to get paperwork to and from the examiners, to find students who are awaiting their results, and to communicate results and follow up considerations to students. These roles need to be defined and documented.  
E7   The roles of the examiner, proctor, and others who may be involved need to be clearly defined and documented to achieve an efficient and considerate process  
E8   Students should not have to wait more than 10 minutes from the completion of the marking of their exam and recording of the results to the time they are notified of their score  
E9   The information needed to submit exam scores should be gathered before the exam, not after.  
E10   If internet access is needed for examination processing, it should be tested and the best method selected before the examination marking begins.  
E11   Marks achieved by students, and related discussions should be private, and not audible to other students.  
E12   The procedures for exam submission, application info gathering, waiting, and score notification should be announced to students, and any questions clarified, before the exam begins.  
The exam should not start until the examiners, proctor and others involved in the examination process are ready, all necessary announcements have been made, and all procedural questions have been answered.
F1 Course followup Survey recently licensed hams to see if active, have equipment, which bands, intentions to get on air, cw/voice/digital  
F2   Consider LARC accumulate old boat anchor equipment and loan for period of time to get novices on the air  
F3   Establish news group, chat room, Facebook, skype? Voip to enable hams without equipment to communicate with local ham community (run concurrent with LARC net / Elmer net etc)  
F4   Consider CW over IP, for code practice, location for newbies to learn practice CW with others without equipment or just learning cw  
F5   Make new hams aware of Saturday morning Ham and Eggs breakfast as a social and learning opportunity  
F6   Need to develop a process to help new hams purchase equipment, and evaluate used equipment they would like to buy  
F7   Need to make new hams aware of the opportunity to join RAC if they wish.