A class taught by students

Posted on September 20, 2013

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that I’m a graduate of Madison Area Technical College’s iOS development program. I’ve completed the final course in the series as both a student and an auditor, and I am taking the class again, this time again as a student. This means that I will be completing the assignments and in-class activities, and will receive a grade that will go on my college transcript (though as a working professional, that’s probably not of much consequence anymore).

What intrigues me to take the course again is that the instructor, Eric Knapp, is taking a new approach. From the syllabus:

  • Students will create and deliver at least two presentations to the class on iOS or an iOS related technology. These can take many forms such as live classroom presentations, videos, screencasts, written articles, etc.
  • Students must document their learning progress during the semester. This can take many forms like a blog, or a journal.
  • Students will be expected to make additions and changes to the course wiki.

In other words, students are developing and presenting a decent portion of the curriculum.

Of course, students are also tasked with developing a production-quality app throughout the course of the semester. As a seasoned developer, I could develop a small, production-quality app with minimal effort, but that wouldn’t be a challenge. My app will be involving new frameworks introduced with iOS 7, in a category that I don’t think has been explored before. I’ll be talking more about this later.

Most importantly, I think that the nature of this course will be better preparing students for the real world. Requiring students to present material puts a pressure on them, but this pressure is indicative of the real world. As a programmer, my job is to deliver a solution to the business’s problem, and this regularly involves talking directly with product owners, as well as presenting new technologies to colleagues in brown bag sessions.

I’ve been doing iOS development since just after iOS 3 launched (we called it iPhone OS back then, so get off my lawn) but I can’t claim to know everything about every framework. As the semester gets underway, I’m interested to see the presentations made by my classmates.