Well, once again, I have been absent from posting for a while. Thanks much to those of you who keep checking back in every once-in-a-while to see if I have put something new up. Hopefully, this makes up for the occasional periods of infrequent posts a bit.
As you probably know, I teach classes fairly frequently for someone who is not really an educator by degree or profession. One of the challenges that comes up in doing the classes is trying to get everyone on the “same page” as a starting point for the class. Since most of the classes I do can be attended by an audience with a wide range of skill sets and familiarity, my “default” approach to teaching has always been to start with the relevant fundamentals as applicable to a particular class and then build from there.
The problem with that approach is that you spend a significant portion of the class getting to the point where you can discuss what you really wanted to discuss. This can be really frustrating to folks who came to hear about the topic listed as the class subject. But at the same time, if I don’t do it, the folks who are new to the subject are “lost” and don’t benefit as much as they could.
About two years ago, it occurred to Ryan and I (Ryan is who I teach for a lot of the time) that since there is a lot of good information available out there on the internet, maybe I could put out a resource list and point folks at specific resources before the class to help them prepare. The idea would be that I would assume the folks in attendance were familiar with the recommended resources and teach from that point vs. teaching the information referenced in the resources.
So we tried it and it seemed to work. To pull it off, I put together a fairly extensive list of resources that are freely available on the internet. A couple of weeks ago, someone suggested that maybe I should just put that list up on my blog so it was available to more people. As Chuck McClure would have said (one of my mentors) the only thing wrong with that idea is that I didn’t think of it.
Towards that end, I have posted the current version of the resource and reading list I use for my class on my Google documents account. It’s in the form of hyperlinked .pdf document where the hyperlinks from the Table of Contents help you jump to a topic of interest and the hyperlinks in the content jump you to the resources.
Since things are constantly changing out there on the internet, its not out of the question that a link will be broken. I try to keep them current, but it’s possible that someone using the list may realize that there is a problem before I do. So, if that someone is you, please let me know and I will try to make a correction and post a revised list.
Senior Engineer – Facility Dynamics Engineering