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Computer Games: Design – update week 12

It’s the end of the first block at Carnegie College, and the last week of Computer Games: Design with my level 5 group.

So far 80% of the class has passed and there are a few students still working this week on a few final assignments (I’m expecting a pass rate of 85 to 90%, but may yet be surprised). This is an improvement on last year.

I’m reflecting on why the pass rate has improved, but I can’t say for certain what was different this year. Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. The students group seems more focused than previous groups. They get on well with each other and do a lot of work in class, rather than taking it home to finish. I can’t offer an explanation for this.
  2. The class seem more interested in computer games. Perhaps the interview process was more selective – directing students to more appropriate courses than in previous years.
  3. I may be getting better at it! It’s the third year of teaching these units. The first year is always hard – new units, assessments, lots of material to produce, lots of uncertainty. The second year is trying to identify and fix the mistakes of the previous year (yes, I make mistakes). In the third year most of the problems have been identified and sorted, so the focus can be on teaching and learning. If only teachers could be given adequate preparation time, maybe we could avoid some of the problems.
  4. More schools and colleges are offering the qualifications and I’ve been involved in lots of discussion about the units and assessment. These discussions have made me change how I teach and assess the subject.
  5. I’m teaching in a better classroom. The classroom is equipped with better computers that don’t crash as often, and have better software. The lighting is better, and although it gets too warm occasionally, there is a window we can open. It is less frustrating for myself and the students to work in this better environment.
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