Small Things Grow

It's good to start small, and then if you add things bit by bit, slowly but surely you can grow something big. [next]

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This page combines ideas from previous pages: baby steps may be small ones, but one by one those baby steps take you on a journey... and writing every day, just a little bit, can add up to a lot of writing over time.

This idea of drop-by-drop is a good principle to keep in mind when you are designing your course. Instead of putting course projects off until the end of the semester, when your students will be overwhelmed by all the work required by instructors in their other courses who also put things off, it's much more productive to get your students working from the very start of the semester. If they can do a small amount of work each week, every week, then by the time you reach the final weeks of the semester, they will have already produced a big body of work that reflects their learning all semester long. The results of that steady, long-term work will always be better than the all-nighter that results in a paper which doesn't really reflect their learning very well at all.

To get a sense of how that week-by-week schedule works in my classes, you can take a look at a typical week's worth of assignments, and also this page which shows how the students projects grow week by week from the very start of the semester: Project Schedule.

The poster is another one from the Proverb Laboratory: Add drop to drop, and there will be an ocean. It's a Polish proverb: Kropla do kropli i będzie morze.)

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