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Quick note that I will delete in a few days: This is a proposed question guide. At some point, I will make a second posting of this to be converted to a community wiki. This page is for feedback about this proposal. Please upvote (if you like it), downvote (if you don't), and leave answers if you would like to see something modified. And now, with no further ado...

We have had a number of questions focused on modifying lessons or curricula, but to date, many of them have been quite broad. As a result, I would like to propose two new tags: , and , to help improve the quality of the how can I change this curriculum type of questions that we have seen. The actual format is based on the format of Q&A from codereview.se, where they have dealt a lot with this kind of issue. I have also posted a sample question here that should illustrate what I mean.

What are these tags?

This question-type is for when a questioner would like an existing curriculum, lesson, or course material (such as a worksheet, or a lab assignment) reviewed for effectiveness, efficiency, points of focus, or for other improvements.

A great question is far more likely to result in a great answer. Thus, in the style of codereview.se, I introduce our preliminary guidelines.

Sections of a question

1. A clear title

The title should identify the unit or curriculum, and the basic purpose of the review (e.g. "Focus and streamline a unit about finite state machines", or "Help a lesson about object design dovetail into a unit on Prolog".)

2. The background

This is where we want to know information about the class, the age of the students, their knowledge background, and where this lesson or unit fits into a broader scheme. Without clear information here, answers will be untargeted. Give as much relevant background as you can to help answerers focus their answers on your direct problem.

3. The curriculum or lesson as it now stands

Provides an outline or sketch of the current lesson/curriculum/unit plan, including links to (or a description of) the curricular materials used. This section might be on the longer side; that's okay! It's hard for answerers to comment on plans that they have no access to.

4. The actual question itself

The asker must provide specific goals for the critique. Don't worry about making things too narrow. If answerers see other problems in the unit or lesson, they can always add that information into their answer anyway. The question for the asker is, at minimum, what do you really need the answerer to address in order to help you improve this lesson?

Once again, we want specifics.

  • Good (specific):
    • Are my worksheets supporting my lab well?
    • My students in the past have done well with ___, but I want to find a way of better supporting (other idea that students have had trouble with)
    • My next unit is on information theory. Is there some way that I can integrate the coin problem here in a way that is also organic to this unit?
  • Bad (vague):
    • Is this unit good?
    • Can you see any ways to improve the lesson?
    • What else should I do?

Final thoughts

  1. Just like codereview.se, if you get good feedback, and would like more feedback on a modified lesson, unit, or curriculum, the best way to do this is to post a new question. This will prevent ping-pong spaghetti-text from making the item you want reviewed hard to understand, or (even worse) invalidated answers.

  2. Beware of needless text. Avoid 'thank you's and sidebar thoughts. As codereview says: "The text is to provide context, explanation, and direction. Be generous with context, and light on chatter."

  3. If you have trouble creating your question, you can always go to the Guidance Office (our question help room) for assistance from community members. Just be nice to the folks there who volunteer their time to help you!

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