It is the beginning of the semester, and I have never been this prepared before. This is a combination of preparing for the spring semester during the summer, preparing a bit during the fall semester, and being very efficient in my 7 days of work before the semester. Here are a few of things that I am very happy about:
- I have started trying to document everything in simple text files. Up until now, I have been simply using pieces of scratch paper to jot things down on for my tickler file. However I inevitably end up recycling these sheets of paper, which means that I have to start many things from scratch each semester. In particular, I created a long list of things that I need to do to begin the semester. I now have that in a text file so that I can refer to it in later semesters; I suspect that this will pay off big. Here is my planning list for Spring 2014 (an XX means that I am done).
- I took backward design seriously this semester; I wrote out all of my exams and quizzes before the semester started. This means that I will have to spend very little time creating and tweaking them during the semester. And on a related note. . .
- . . .I have been “batching” things as much as I possibly can. It takes me a lot less time to write all of the quiz questions on a particular topic for the semester if I do it in one sitting versus if I do it in 20 sittings, if only due to “start up costs.” Moreover, I feel better about the quality of my assessments, as I can make sure that I only duplicate assessment when I want to. Finally, it helps me to have a good feel for what the course “feels” like. Another example of “batching” is creating my Moodle (CMS) pages; by creating all of the assignments/quizzes/etc at once, I think that I save a lot of time (especially after I found out that there is a “Duplicate” function for items on Moodle).
So things are looking good. The main thing that I have left to do is to create a lot of videos and create a reasonable amount of clicker questions.