This experience at CalTech have profoundly impacted my teaching style and beliefs. I learned about the power of simplicity here. It changed my life.
Back when I was in Coding Dojo, I was training a few instructors on how to create curriculum. These were some of my best instructors and I had them create a course on Responsive Web Design. After weeks of hard work, they created a course on Responsive Web Design and set up time where I could review the course.
The course was very comprehensive! It was filled with a lot of topics and materials for students to digest. After looking at it, I was overwhelmed. There were so many topics introduced in that course and it was very overwhelming. It had lots of modules and within each module, there were texts as well as videos for each of the topics. There were lots of assignments also and the course felt like a course that would take at least 5 days to complete.
I then asked these two instructors, "Wow. This course looks so complex! If you were to sit down with me and teach me all the important stuff I should know, how long would it take?" One of the instructors told me, "Michael. If we had sat down with you and presented these concepts, I think we would need less than 20 minutes to teach you everything you need to know about responsive web design." After hearing this, I said "Okay.. So why not teach students what you would teach me in that 20 minutes and combine all of what you taught into a single module?" The two instructors seemed surprised, as if they were also wondering why they hadn't thought of that.