Assignment: Identifying Assumptions in Teaching

DUE: Thursday, Feb 2, start of class. Upload to Canvas (Word or PDF file) and bring a hard copy to class.

Pick a CS/computer-based example that you have taught or explained to someone who didn't know the topic already. You can use an example from a formal teaching setting, a tech support role, helping a friend with homework, helping a relative use an application, or something similar (if you've never done one of these, you can make up an example along these lines).

Write up a brief (2-page max) document detailing the following:

  • A description of the problem/example
  • The background of the person you were explaining it to
  • A description of how you tried to explain it
  • A list of the underlying bits of knowledge that your explanation assumed (including what part of the problem needs each bit). Of course, you may not have articulated these assumptions at the time you made the explanation. The point of this exercise is to reflect on the underlying knowledge that experts sometimes take for granted (or just don't see), but that novice learners may lack.

You should pick something different from the example we did in class (on Jan 23rd). The in-class example should give you an idea of what kind of answer you are targeting here though.

Grading Expectations

Grading will consider the following:

  • Whether your problem statement and explanations are clearly presented
  • Whether you identified an accurate and (reasonably) complete collection of underlying assumptions

Writing is expected to be professional quality, with proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, full sentences, etc.

There is no set format: you can insert diagrams, annotate problem statements or explanations, or whatever else presents your ideas most clearly.

Last modified: Tue Jan 24 06:29:17 EST 2017