The Joy of Text . . .files

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:

  1. 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).

  2. 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. . .

  3. . . .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.

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2 Responses to “The Joy of Text . . .files”

  1. Joss Ives Says:

    Hey Bret. Kudos to you for successfully getting all of your quizzes and exams together before the semester started. I’m wondering if you have noticed any differences in your approach to things knowing the exact questions that were going to be used in the assessments? I suspect no based on my own experience giving pre/post diagnostics and knowing what questions are on those.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Hi Joss,

      I think I can honestly say that this will not affect how I instruct. I can say this for two reasons. First, most of the quiz questions are pretty basic, so I would ask them in any case. Second, I have already forgotten all the specific questions I asked.

      So I should be good! Bret

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