Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Recycling a course is harder than it sounds

At first glance, teaching the exact same course with the exact same material should mean an absolutely trivial amount of work (like, none at all). In practice, there are a lot of details that add up. It's still nowhere near the amount of work to create a course from scratch, but neither is it zero. Tasks include:

  • Revising the syllabus. The course meets at different dates and times, assignments are due on different dates, there's a new call number, and there was probably some confusion over something from the last class that needs rewriting.
  • Revising all homeworks and other assignments. I suppose I could be lazy and give exactly the same work, but that just gives an unfair advantage to anyone who knows someone who took the class before. I'd rather make subtle changes that keep the spirit of the work the same, while still making it impossible to copy from an earlier revision. I need to change minor details like the date that's due on each homework, anyway.
  • Changing the content. It turns out that I have fewer courses in the Winter than in the Fall (due mainly to my being absent for GDC), so I have to choose what content to eliminate. This is something like choosing which of your children to shoot. I'll probably compromise by holding optional evening classes to cover the missing content, and offering extra credit to anyone who shows.
  • With less "required" content, that means I have to revise the final exam to remove any questions about material that won't be covered in class.
  • In general, going over all of my handwritten notes from Fall, and incorporating all the stuff I learned about what to do (and what not to do) into my written notes.
  • And naturally, since the game industry keeps changing, I need to look over all the content and remove or modify anything that's no longer current.

I had no idea recycling involved so many details, until I sat down to actually do it...

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