Wrapping Curriculum Around Existing Resources

There are a lot of excellent Drupal resources available on the Internet. Videos, books, blog posts. Some are free, some are paid. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I think it makes sense to shape curriculum pieces around this content. A few of my favourite free initiatives that are ripe for curriculum wrappers include:

  • Skills compass - http://skillcompass.org/learning-resources
  • Drupal 7 Essentials - http://drupal.org/node/1576418
  • Examples for Developers - http://drupal.org/project/examples
  • Learn Drupal - http://learndrupal.org/

Book-wise, I’d start with my own titles (of course): Drupal User’s Guide and Front End Drupal. For module development I’d add Drupal 7 Module Development (http://www.packtpub.com/drupal-7-module-development/book) and possibly the Definitive Guide…although the size and breadth of the print book actually makes it more difficult for me to deal with. Print books are often heavily discounted by Amazon (sometimes even more than what a bookstore discount would be) and can be ordered in bulk for each class. Shipping a bunch of books to your workshop location is often a lot more convenient than dealing with photocopying and shipping student guides. And yes, you should be buying each student their own copy of the book. As an instructor you are probably being paid several hundred dollars per student for the class. After the Amazon discount, a book probably will cost you $20-30. Spend the money: your students are worth it.

So what does a curriculum wrapper look like? I think it should include at least the following:

Detailed agenda covering the training period in 10-20 minute increments. Instructor guide with complete script for the day include necessary materials for any activities (e.g. white board + markers) and lab configuration information. Student agenda with page references or URLs for each of the exercises they’ll be completing during the day. Slide deck and other classroom/instructor aids (e.g. posters for the room). As you deliver more and more training sessions you may find yourself deviating further and further away from a book. Where it makes sense: evolve your curriculum and add improvements that make sense for your teaching style. Perhaps you’ll even get to the point where you feel it makes sense to write your own materials from scratch.

It may sound naive to suggest you can simply bash someone else’s work into a reasonable piece of curriculum. It probably comes from spending too much time with SCORM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharable_Content_Object_Reference_Model). But I do think we swing too far the other way as well: assuming that all curriculum pieces need to be created entirely from scratch with our own secret sauce.

If you were going to teach a workshop (or take a workshop), which bit of existing material would you love to see incorporated into a class?