How to create outstanding IT coursework?
Every instructor struggles when first attempting to put together coursework for a class, particularly if the class is one they have not taught before. This struggle is amplified even further for educators in the IT field, who often are dealing with incredibly canny, talented students who are driven to succeed and care a great deal about learning meaningful material.
When instructing an incoming class of IT professionals-to-be, it is essential that you create and prepare coursework that is above average, up-to-date, and outstanding. Below are a few tips for preparing your coursework to meet these high standards.
Make Coursework Self-Directed
Most IT professionals devote most of their work hours to individualized, private work. Many people with degrees in IT work on a consultant basis, or work from home at least part of the time, and much of their work duties involve solitary, focused effort spent fixing a company’s information systems and technology problems.
You should prepare your own students for exactly this kind of work. When prepping your IT course, add a number of individual projects that are open-ended and are worked on outside of class and brought to the instructor individually. If you can, give each student an entirely novel project to work on. Give students the ability to work at their own pace and present their own, unique work to you rather than streamlining assignments. This will prepare your students for their actual futures in IT.
Make it Challenging
IT professionals work on tight schedules, solving unforseen problems for clients and companies. Their work is high-stress, always shifting, and is always impacted by changes to the technological landscape and the nature of the work place. Accordingly, your students must learn to work well under pressure, and must be challenged with complex problems that are much like the ones they would encounter in the real world. Don’t be afraid to make your IT students a little bit stressed or anxious, as learning to deal with these emotions is a key skill that will serve them in the future.
Do not use the same syllabus or body of coursework over and over again. In fact, don’t re-use assignments and course work more than once at all! IT is a field that changes rapidly. In the work force, your students will be expected to adjust to all kinds of technological changes on the fly, every year, for the length of their careers. Similarly, as an instructor of IT professionals, you should stay on your toes. Look for new developments in IT, new advances in design and implementation. Expect your students to learn these new methods and master these new technologies.