Feedback on the instructor training course

Apr 23, 2015 • Karl Broman

I was familiar with many of the basic concepts that were covered in this instructor training course, but I’d not put them into practice in my teaching. Now, however, I can see better how to do it, and so I think I really will put these ideas into practice.

I found the homework exercises in the course particularly useful. The most important one for me was that on writing good multiple-choice questions (MCQs). I think if there’s one way that I can improve my teaching, in classes from small to large (and in guest lectures or even research seminars, for that matter!), it’ll be by spending time developing MCQs, to both gauge students’ understanding and to get them thinking.

Greg Wilson is an awesome instructor, and just seeing how he does an over-the-phone (plus etherpad) class was really inspiring. I don’t quite know how I could duplicate that, but the frequent yes/no or very-short-answer questions were obviously helpful both for gauging students and keeping them engaged.

So this was a really useful course for me. Some of the homeworks were time-consuming and painful, but they were usefully time-consuming and painful.

I’m quite convinced by the software carpentry practice of live coding with no slides, and I hadn’t been before.

The one thing that could have been improved for me (a minor quibble): I would have liked to have had a schedule in advance. I wasn’t quite sure how many sessions I was committing to. That the course ended when it did was a bit of a surprise.