Spring 1999 CS302 Assignment #14

by Dan Garcia (ddgarcia@cs.berkeley.edu)

The last assignment will be to write up an evaluation of CS 302. Here is a first draft of things to think about. Are there others?

One issue to address is how having only two students in the class affected the experience / how much we learned.

General evaluation

To what extent have your expectations about and attitude toward teaching changed as a result of CS 302?

More than anything I felt that the discussion we had with Brian had the most impact on my attitude toward teaching. At no other time have I more clearly seen the heavy cost teaching can have. I'd heard that high school teachers get burnt out quickly, but I never felt even a hint of it as a TA. That Brian was contemplating "running away and becoming a 4th grade teacher to finally do some real teaching" was a harsh bit of reality that was important to hear. How someone avoids burnout is one of the questions I'd like to discuss.

Compare the workload to other graduate courses. (It's likely that this will end up as a 2-unit course.)

This was just about right for a two unit class. Maybe a little on the light side as there wasn't much reading and no final project. No complaints, though.


Which assignments were especially good? Which were the worst? Please explain.

How much work would remain for you to teach the course you designed? Should an assignment have addressed this?

Clearly the remaining tasks are to design the remaining assignments, exams, and projects and then actually teach the lectures. This is ignoring all of the extra work involved in maintaining the web page, holding office hours, answering email and keeping up with the newsgroup. If anything, it might have been useful to have each of us prepare and give a self-contained half-lecture. I would have been interested in exploring the differences between teaching a section as a TA and teaching a lecture as a professor. What must you change in your technique when your audience grows from 30 to 400? No need to address this with an assignment.

Please comment on the advantages and disadvantages of each person working on his or her own course compared to everyone designing the same course.

The obvious advantage was that each of us was free to create our own course with no constraints. It felt very affirming to have complete control over everything. That's not usually the reality (except perhaps when one is teaching graduate courses or seminars), but it increased my enjoyment since it was all my choosing (similar to why student-chosen final projects are more fun than assignments). I also appreciated the fact that I wasn' t competing against Andy - in many ways our courses were apples and oranges.

The disadvantage is that I never got to work with Andy on any projects as I would have had we been sharing the same course. I didn't get to explore the give and take balance that is necessary when team teaching.

Overall, the advantages strongly outweigh the disadvantages, so I'd keep that course component unchanged.

Use of class time

Generally in class we discussed the assignments. To what extent was this a good thing, and to what extent should we have used class periods for other purposes? Please provide examples.

I enjoyed using class time to discuss the assignments. I sometimes regretted that we didn't get to have more time to do much of anything but discuss the assignments (I forget which ones). Having two lectures per week (one with a guest lecturer and one with just us) would solve that.


What else should I change for the next offering of CS 302?

WWW Maven: Dan Garcia (ddgarcia@cs.berkeley.edu) Send me feedback

Teaching cs302