Reference and tutorials (was: starting objects sim…)

Apr 16, 2006 at 1:52pm

Reference and tutorials (was: starting objects sim…)

I’ve been teaching Max since 1991 and I always make the tutorials the first
assignment in my Tech 201 (MAX) and Tech 210 (MSP). For years I’ve been
frustrated to find that my students were not doing the tutorials thoroughly.

This term I made the tutorials a prerequisite to Tech 201. I asked them to
copy the tutorial folder into their own space and make a change to each
tutorial (with comments) that tells they have done the thing and understood
it. If they didn’t do the tutorials, they did not get into the class.

The results are fantastic! At midterm, my Tech 201 students had reached a
level of skill that I usually don’t see until the end of the term. We were
able to move on to rudimentary MSP which means that we will have more time
for Jitter in the follow-up class. Furthermore, their success with the
tutorials convinced them to explore the help files and reference manual more
eagerly.

My students know this as Nelson’s corollary to Murphy’s law. “If you do
something to save yourself time you almost certainly cost someone else the
like amount of their time.” Not doing the tutorials wastes your own time.

Cheers,
Gary Lee Nelson
TIMARA Department
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

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