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How to Prepare for a Course

Because our books and courseware provide everything you need for running your best courses ever, it’s easy to set up a course based on one of our books. In general, you just need to select that content and courseware components that will work best for the goals of the course and the experience levels of your trainees. Here’s a quick summary of how you can do that.

1: Review the book

First, review the table of contents, page through the book, and note the exercises at the end of each chapter. That will show you how the book moves from a starting subset of the required skills to a complete skillset for a professional on the job. You’ll also see how our modular structure lets you pick and choose the content you need to create the desired course.

2: Review the instructor’s materials

Check out the slides, objectives, test banks, chapter exercises, extra exercises, and projects. When you finish that, you should be able to visualize how our book and instructor’s materials will work for your course or courses.

3: Decide what to teach

Murach prepare for a course example 1

This is the hard part: deciding how many of the chapters you can teach in the time allocated for the course. In fact, most of our books can be used for multiple courses: like a beginning course, an advanced course, a half-day seminar on a specific topic, and more.

As you decide, be aware that all of our books start with one or two sections that present a starting subset of the required skills. Once you’ve taught that subset, you can skip to any of the remaining sections. That means that you can easily adjust the course to the experience levels of your trainees.

This also means that you can adjust your course on the fly. If you discover that your trainees have more experience than you expected, you can skip to the subjects that they’re most interested in. And that can be the difference that makes the class a huge success.

In the plan above, which is for a jQuery course that assumes some JavaScript background, the trainer is going to start by reviewing the JavaScript that’s presented in the first six chapters of the book. Then, if it turns out that the trainees have a solid background in JavaScript, the trainer can go more quickly and get to the jQuery faster. Otherwise, the trainer can take more time to review the JavaScript essentials.

4: Plan the use of the instructional materials

Murach prepare for a course example 2

In this step, you flesh out your content plan and add any trainee activities to the plan. For instance, you could:

  • Give a pretest to find out what your trainees know before they start the course
  • Give some short tests (quizzes) as the class progresses
  • Assign some of the exercises in the book
  • Assign some of the extra exercises

These are the activities that can put your class over the top.

In the plan above, for example, the trainer is going to create a JavaScript test from the test bank for the first section of the book and administer the test after the JavaScript review. If there’s enough time, the trainer is also going to assign book exercise 4-1 to introduce the trainees to the use of Firebug for debugging. Similarly, the trainer can create and administer tests or quizzes for other chapters of the book and assign some combination of book exercises and extra exercises.

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College Instructors

If you're a college instructor who would like to consider a book for a course, please visit our website for instructors to learn how to get a complimentary review copy and the full set of instructional materials.