Here is the thing that I would wish for, if I had three wishes and then they threw in a freebie that had to be meaningless and odd: the illusion of progress is a great and wonderful thing. Make your books longer to accomodate normal-size print.
I am almost certain, with no actual evidence, that people do better in classes that have print in a comfortable size that spans many pages. Sure, chapter one of Biology for People Who Are Really Into Organic Stuff is ten pages--but in tiny print. But the one for Biology For Those Who Flee From Explicit CSI Scenes and Cannot Handle the Meat Section of the Grocery Store have a thirty page chapter--but the pages have larger print. Ergo, the illusion of progress. We feel better about ourselves. We say I totally did ten pages for class, while Miss OMG Biology Awesome stares resentfully at her mere three. You see how this could be beneficial. Lording over other people can never be wrong when it's done silently and with significant looks.
Or we are staring at our book and wincing that the margins are smaller and we can no longer write indecent things in them. Not that we did.
Unrequited Guy was there (if you do not know who this is, check unrequited tag. It's deeply embarrassing). So was another girl that was in my class last semester. And a lot of other people; two older adults (forty to fifty-five range, my favorite study partners), some twenties, more or less all working adults (a class from 5:40 to 7:30? Yeah). We were gently herded from Micrsoft's compiler and toward Dev, at which time he explained the horror of learning programming from that, since it uses non-standard. Remembering my vivid adventures with coding a website in IE, I nodded frantically.
There are three exams, ten homeworks, one optional extra credit homework, and a potential 2.5% curve on the grade for those hovering on the letter grade boundaries. So less margin of error. Tests are written only, no lab, which makes me kind of sad, because labwork is what I do best. So far, it looks like mostly review + depth, which will be deeply nice up until arrays that still make me twitch a lot. Hopefully, there will be some way to convince him to spend an extra day or two on them; there's a wide difference between understanding and comprehending something, and I think I've run smack up against it.
It also looks like two chapters a week, not bad, and so far it's indeed review + depth and detail, with some interesting sidenotes and illustrations of concepts. It's fascinating.
I am looking forward to the structure of regular class/regular assignment; at this point, I don't know enough to really just play around with it outside of given lab assignments or the ones I did before; there's far too much that I just don't either know *how* to do or understand well enough to do independently of an assignment that can be checked.
So first actual class today. Did some notes, got the powerpoints off the website to print for the first chapter, and now wondering, actually, about teaching style.
This is one of those things that people will mock with the self-sufficiency and study more, but--seriously, good teaching is a lot rarer than I used to think, and a lot more necessary to getting more from a class than a vague gloss. I'm pretty sure I got deeply lucky with my last one; he was lecture combined with visual--what he said, he wrote, then showed us what it looked like, then mixed it up. Sure, we all got lost by the eighth change to the program, but that wasn't important; we got very used to knowing how to read what we were seeing when we got lost, know what to look for, and sort of reinforce how it *should* look when it was right. My worst teachers were singular--either all lecture (and God help you if you missed one word) or all book (dear God, why?), or worse, an insane combination of book with contradictory lecture attached that occasionally had nothing to do with the current topic at all; you walked into a test without any clear idea of what exactly the test would cover.
So hmm. First actual lecture today. I have notes, my pen, and a determined expression.