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Redesigning a course (and syllabus) Sharon Hargus TA workshop, Sept 2008 True or false? The first time you teach a particular class it is harder and more time consuming than subsequently. Answer: Yes and no Yes, less time: preparing for class takes less time (for lessons that went well)

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redesigning a course and syllabus

Redesigning a course (and syllabus)

Sharon Hargus

TA workshop, Sept 2008

true or false
True or false?
  • The first time you teach a particular class it is harder and more time consuming than subsequently.
answer yes and no
Answer: Yes and no
  • Yes, less time: preparing for class takes less time (for lessons that went well)
  • No, at least as much time: improvements or replacements to lectures that didn’t go well
what always takes time
What always takes time
  • lecturing--time spent in the class
  • testing and grading
  • office hours and appointments outside of office hours
  • e-mail
  • packaging of information delivered to students
changes in technology in my lifetime
Changes in technology in my lifetime
  • 1986: dittomasters
  • ca. 1988: xerox machine in dean’s office
  • ca. 1990: dept’s own xerox machine
  • 1993: UW bought me my first computer
  • 1990s
    • overheads and/or xeroxed handouts (small classes)
    • overheads (large classes) (copies filed at the library for students to check out)
  • late 1990s
    • .ppt slides and web management
  • Font updates apx. every 3 years (very time-consuming)
no shortage of material
No shortage of material
  • After teaching a class several times, the problem is usually what to leave out
  • Usable vs. unusable content
    • may be hard to empathize with students who know nothing
time management
Time management
  • What can eat up class time, unexpectedly
    • too many questions. take questions only at certain times during lecture?
    • changing from take-home to in-class exams
    • work in groups
teaching the next time
Teaching the next time
  • Save those scraps of paper that have your plan for the day on them; e.g. from 451
    • collect homework
    • citation and reference format in linguistics
    • more on epenthesis and deletion
    • Tibetan numbers
    • generative vs. structural phonology
    • continue reading ch. 5
good to include
Good to include
  • 2-minute overview/review at the beginning of the day
    • helps communicate the big picture
syllabus sections
Syllabus sections
  • (from my 451 syllabus)
    • Class web site
    • Course description
    • Learning goals
    • Requirements and grading. This section can never be too detailed. Point  grade conversion a good idea
    • Readings
    • Administrative details
    • Topics covered (sequence of topics)
    • Schedule (daily)
    • References
what do we teach
What do we teach?
  • Teaching students what you think they should know

or?

  • Teaching what is easy to test students on
    • Dave and anthro
summary
Summary
  • In redesigning a course
    • be aware of where class time can go
      • small changes can have big consequences
      • notes from last time will help
    • don’t try to pack too much in
    • (ethical consideration) teaching important material vs. easy evaluation