Sunday, February 11, 2007

Teaching: Student mistakes

To my Game Industry Survey students, most of the topics we cover are completely foreign concepts. When I ask them to research and present a topic in class, it's only natural that mistakes will be made; this is new material for them, and they have no way of knowing what's vitally important and what's a minor detail.

On the other hand, they really should know the important details by the end of the class. A simple slip like asking a game developer if they have any openings in "Q&A" will pretty much end the conversation right there.

So, when a student says Richard Garriott is otherwise known as "King British," part of me wants to be lenient because they did get the general idea, and they were clearly trying. And then part of me wants to take 50% off their grade, because I'm pretty sure that saying something like that at GDC is grounds for ejection from the premises. I'm still trying to figure out what's fair. (I suppose I could split the difference, being lenient in the presentation and then asking about it during the final exam...)

I should be clear that I mean no disrespect towards the guilty party; this is one example of many. I chose it because I felt it would resonate best with my readers who are game developers.

I will say that I visibly wince when something like this happens in class. I can't help it, it's a natural reflex. Maybe seeing that is punishment enough.

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