I’m teaching two classes this semester: one introductory course which is a repeat from last semester and one upper-level course with laboratory, which is a new prep.
The intro course: I was reasonably happy with how this course went last semester, so by-and-large my goal is to put minimal preparation effort into the course. That said, I couldn’t quite manage to leave the course alone.
For details, venture below the fold.
Last semester, I gave both on-line (blackboard) and in-class quizzes. It was a lot for both the students and me to keep track of. Plus, while the paper quizzes provided a nice incentive for class attendance (they were unannounced), they were a hassle to grade. So this semester, I’m moving to giving all of the quizzes on-line, where the grading is automated. I’ll have to experiment with ways to encourage students to come to class, but I’m thinking about giving lecture attendees heads-ups about upcoming quiz questions and/or some extra credit points (No, I don’t like EC either, but the students do.)
Last semester, I had three assignments. This time around, I’m scrapping two of them and adding one (hat tip, Kim). This should reduce my grading load, while still letting students be evaluated (at least somewhat) on something other than quizzes and multiple choice exams.
Finally, I’m rejiggering the amount of time I spend on certain topics so that I don’t feel as rushed through the really cool stuff (IMO) later in the semester. This change in pacing *will* cause me a bit of work as I’ve got to figure out how to contract some lectures and write a few new lectures later on.
I’m sure that when it gets to the time where I am writing new lectures, I’ll be stressed. But overall, I’m looking forward to a fairly low-stress teaching experience with my intro class this semester. It’s not even at 8 am.
For the new class, on the other hand…