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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Post-mortem of Winter 07 term

Another term done and and it is time to evaluate what I had planned to do in January and what I learned.

1) One of the key new implementations was to offer an alternative to the lecture format by detailing every concept covered in the course on a wiki content page and linking to free online study materials, mainly online textbooks. This turned out to be fairly time-consuming but I'm glad that I have this resource available now to use at workshops in combination with the Google co-op search on organic chemistry. And because the content is fully open, anyone is free to use it.

2) The content page did not induce a vast shift away from the recorded lectures as the primary information source for the class. There is still an expectation from most students that "lectures are the way to take a class", whether in person or recorded. I am not sure that they prefer that but that's what they are used to. Thinking back to my own experience as an undergrad, I always felt that the lecture format is a terribly inefficient and painful way to learn because it is intrinsically linear. For me, the random access feature of books, web pages and discussion is vastly superior, as long as it is with the right text and teacher. But I realize that not all students are like that so I'll keep the lectures around.

3) I didn't have time to organize any Unreal Tournament races last term. This term, I'm using Second Life and it will be interesting to see how it compares.

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