Along with my first offering of CMPT 383, I just finished my 13th offering (!) of CMPT 470. I haven’t changed the backbone of the course much in that time: it mostly feels good to me, and other than moving with shifting web technologies, I haven’t felt the need to change the course style.
But now I’m taking a good hard look at the course. I still like the overall flow, but there are some things I want to change.
I did a survey of the current students to get some feedback, but they lack perspective, having just finished the course. I figure I can get some eyeballs from course alumni here and am looking for some more meaningful feedback.
Question 1: Weekly Exercises and Grading Scheme
When I did CMPT 383, I gave weekly exercises, thinking that they might feel a little bit hand-holdey for an upper-division course. Much to my surprise, they worked better there than they do in 120 and 165: more-senior students are in a much better position to appreciate the micro-lessons that the exercises encapsulate and better understand why they are helpful. It’s also a chance to give problems on everything, not just a few things in major assignments.
I have realized that I want to do weekly exercises in CMPT 470, replacing the three assignments. The problem is: the assignments are worth 30% of the course. The weekly exercises would receive minimal marking and feedback (likely marking scheme: 2=most/everything correct, 1=some stuff done, 0=little/nothing done). With that little “grading”, 30% is too much to give to them: 20% is more reasonable.
So, I have 10% of the final grade to reallocate somewhere. Any suggestions about where an extra 10% of weight should be distributed? (The old grading scheme is online.)
[To give you an idea, I’m imagining that some of the exercises will be like “learn these three important CSS techniques and use each to style this sample page”; “find security holes in this sample mini-app I have created for you”; “pick Rails/Django/whatever and do the tutorial on their site”; “deploy your tutorial code on your group’s web server”; “do something with jQuery”]
Question 2: Content
I have certainly done my best to keep with the times, and talk about new web-related topics as they have become relevant. But like I said before: the overall backbone of the course has remained the same.
Are there things that I should have spent more lecture time on than I did? Things that took up too much time?
Question 3: Other Stuff?
I have a few other smaller tweaks in mind, and am open to other feedback.
I’m happy to take any half-baked thoughts on any of this here, or by email.