Course Manual

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This article describes how to create an academic course.

Course Creation Requirements (Academic)


The course creation requirements are described in the syllabus section below. The instructor is free to add or subtract items. Grade and exam policy are described in Academic Grading and Exam Policy. To receive credit the student will earn an "A". This means the student will repeatedly bang his thick, stubborn, skull against the material until it is mastered.


  • A course, for this purpose, is learning an idea and verifying the idea was learned through testing. The idea can be larger than an academic course, Advanced Calculus, for example, or smaller than pouring a carbonated liquid into a glass without producing any foam.
  • A course does not need a teacher.
  • A course does not need a textbook.
  • A course does not need to produce a grade.
  • A course must have a student.


  • Title
  • Instructor's name and contact information
  • Meeting times. (If applicable)
  • Description - Teaching objectives.
  • Policy
  • Credits - Rate the course on how many credits it is worth.
  • Duration - Expected time to complete.
  • Level - Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral.
  • Passing Grade
  • Textbook
    • Required
    • Additional
    • Other materials
  • Exams, quizzes, tests. One exam per chapter. One quiz per section. The final exam is always cumulative.
  • Assignments
    • Projects
    • Homework

Teaching Philosophy

Teach a little, test a little. Then repeat.
Learning is best done by doing.

Testing Philosophy

  • A good test draws out what the student knows.
    • This precludes a test being used as a torture device.
  • A test will only cover material discussed during the course.
  • A question's value will be proportional to the time spent on the topic during the course. For example, a topic that consumed 10 minutes will not count for 40% of the final exam.
  • Questions are discrete, not cascading.
    • This means the answer for #3 does not depend on the answer for #2, which in turn does not depend on the answer to #1.
    • The answer and solution must be available from a trusted third source.
  • Show all your work. Any idiot can spit out the answer. Prove why you know the answer is correct.

A Course From Scratch

Define the material to cover, then select media, write the syllabus and tests.

Existing Course

  • The key is obtaining a suitable textbook in digital form. Then matching that to a suitable syllabus.

Copy an Existing Course

Simply copy the syllabus, exams, homeworks and go through them.

Modeling an Existing Course

Often the same course varies from school to school, as in Advanced Calculus. Hunt around and knit together a course. Something like Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster.

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