Teaching Portfolio:  H. Chad Lane

Evaluations of Teaching:  University of Pittsburgh

  1. Overview
  2. Overall ratings
  3. Detailed breakdown of all rated categories
  4. Open-ended question responses


I attended Pitt from the fall of 97 through the summer of 2004.  I taught the "gentler" Intro course (CS0007) a total of 8 times (through December 2003) and the primary major intro course twice (CS0401).  Enrollment varied greatly from as few as 10 to as many as 45.  On average I had about 25 students per class while teaching at Pitt. 

I did not have access to CS department evaluation data (as I did at UW) because evaluations are performed at the university level.  As with UW-Madison, evaluations at Pitt include both a ranked form (no sample available) and an open-ended questions (sample open-ended form).
The instructor-related questions from the rated form are:
  1. Presented the course in an organized manner
  2. Stimulated my thinking
  3. Evaluated my work fairly
  4. Made good use of examples
  5. Maintained a good learning environment
  6. Was accessible to students
  7. Overall teaching effectiveness
All questions were answered on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best).  Because CS Departmental data was not available, university-wide means are used below.

Overall Ratings

Student responses to the final question (effectiveness) are summarized in the following chart.  The university mean was a constant from year-to-year.

Pitt eval

This next chart summarizes student responses to each of the seven instructor-related questions over all of the classes I have taught at Pitt:

Summary of Pittsburgh Evaluations

As you can see, my means are consistently well above the university means in all categories.

Detailed breakdown of all rated categories

The following table shows a more complete view the data from my Pitt evaluations.  Because the analysis provided by Pitt was different from UW, this chart is somewhat different.  Pitt uses a decile system to help instructors understand how their ratings compare to everyone else.  The numbers in red represent my decile placement within all evaluated instructors at Pitt.  For example, a 10 implies upper 10% for all rated instructors in that category, 9 means upper 20%, 8 upper 30%, etc.).

¹ This section was an evening class.


Stimulated Thinking
Evaluated work farily
Used Examples
Learning Environment
fall 97
4.56 (9)
4.35 (9)
4.26 (8)
4.62 (10)
4.76 (10)
4.56 (10)
4.53 (10)
spr 98
4.41 (8)
4.38 (9)
4.34 (8)
4.44 (9)
4.59 (10)
4.30 (8)
4.38 (8)
fall 98
4.43 (9)
4.24 (8)
4.47 (10)
4.57 (9)
4.43 (9)
4.58 (10)
4.33 (8)
spr 99
4.43 (9)
4.04 (7)
4.50 (10)
4.39 (8)
4.46 (9)
4.60 (10)
4.32 (8)
sum 01a
4.35 (9)
4.20 (8)
4.70 (10)
4.42 (9)
4.55 (10)
4.63 (10)
4.50 (9)
sum 01b
4.20 (6)
3.85 (5)
4.45 (10)
4.40 (8)
4.25 (7)
3.86 (4)¹
4.35 (8)
fall 01
4.63 (10)
4.37 (9)
4.56 (10)
4.74 (10)
4.63 (10)
4.56 (10)
4.42 (9)
spr 02
4.93 (10)
4.64 (10)
4.79 (10)
4.79 (10)
4.86 (10)
4.50 (9)
4.79 (10)
Univ. mean
I also taught CS0007 in the summer of 2003, but with only 8 students only an open-ended evaluation was done.  I also taught in the fall of 2003 and spring of 2004, but the results were not yet available for inclusion.

Open-ended question responses

In the UW-Madison evaluations I presented comments from students in my best rated semester.  Below are comments from my lowest rated semester:  Spring 1999.  The question was to identify strengths and weaknesses of the instructor (sample):
  • Strengths:
    • He is very energetic and makes programming seem fun.  This was my 1st programming class and I was very impressed with his teaching skills, especially considering how young he is.
    • enjoyment of subject, application examples
    • H. is very personable.  He went through the material like most introductory [instructors] would, but he has a personality that is really conducive to teaching.  This was the only hour+ course I've taken which I've been able to remain awake the entire time.
    • Personality, I really disliked the subject but lecture was much better than it could've been, humor, fairness, approachable
    • He really cares if the students don't understand and tries to clarify to the best of his ability.
    • Used examples well down to earth, really tried to help all the time.
    • Use of examples, showed complex programming ideas in everyday situations, really captured my interest
    • The little jokes and side comments gave us a chance to relax and let the information sink in.  Good voice - loud enough for everyone to hear.
    • Good use of examples, good side comments, jokes, etc.
    • Very organized, stories kept class as interesting as Pascal could get, personality was great
    • Very well organized + enthusiastic!  I think he really cared about students progress + did a great job of clarifying concepts.
    • Very enthusiastic.
    • Accessible when needed & taught the course in an organized manner.
    • He used good examples in class that were helpful to grasp concepts.  He also made himself very accessible to students who needed help.
    • Friendly, easily approachable, broke things down + went at a nice steady pace with the course, did not try + rush through material, focused on what was important, not petty
    • gave many examples to help clarify concepts, very helpful with questions & problems.
    • Chad made good use of a lot of examples to explain the concepts.  He gave back all assignments very quickly and graded pretty fairly.
    • He goes over many examples, gives thorough notes, is helpful when you have ???, he is accomodating if you need help.
    • Good sense of humor and enthusiasm, tried to help the students as much as possible
    • His ability to relate examples to everyday life.
    • The sidenotes help keep class interesting, good use of interesting examples for program code.  Having lots of things to be graded on is a good idea.  Tests are fair.
    • Good use of examples clarified concepts.  Jokes kept a lighter feeling in the class.  Felt comfortable approaching him for help.  Taught well, I learned a lot in class.
    • He taught in a competent ordlerly manner.
    • Relates material to everyday things whenever possible.  Creates a comfortable learning environment.
    • Easy to talk to, very down to earth.
    • Everything is great, excllent teacher
    • Good use of examples.  Introduced concepts in a clear and understandable manner.
    • Kept the mood light, nice guy, relatively easy grader, very knowledgeable, can come up with examples from his head quickly.
  • Weaknesses: (about 20% of students left it blank)
    • programming assignments were too involved compared to other classes at this level
    • the notes were sometimes hard to follow on the board during lecture - sometimes went too fast.
    • Some of the examples used in class are hard to relate to progs and tests.
    • He used too small of examples and his tests were really hard
    • very few, potential to be too strict if he loses humor
    • Seemed that when you talk, you look at the board a lot and not at the class.
    • none, really.  Good instructor all around.
    • tests & programs were too hard!  find a better TA [directed towards me, so this most likely refers to the grader -hcl]
    • Sometimes got a little rushed - not too much.  personally, I would like to see something besides beer examples. :)
    • none really, class sometimes dry & long.
    • sometimes went through important topics quick
    • sometimes unavailable for help, took a little long to get emails back
    • The examples given in class didn't relate to the problems on the tests + the programs.
    • Tests were a little too hard... but what can ya say!
    • goes a little fast, sometimes unreadable board work
    • the class was long and sometimes he had trouble holding my attention the whole time
    • talks kind of fast
    • Try to give more help in the program instructions.
    • none
    • nothing
    • He does talk fast.
    • He writes too low on the board, I can never see the bottom of the board.  I end up standing to see it.
Wisconsin evaluations