I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to the great folks in the MIS 374 class at UT Austin. The students and instructors (Clint and Bruce) are fantastic and gracious. For those of you that don't know, I do a guest lecture for the class once a semester on Agile Principles, and always enjoy the experience. This semester's lecture was last Monday, and I wanted to touch on something cool.
This year was a new experience, both for the students and for me. The MIS 374 class has moved into a new classroom, one of the Active Learning Classrooms at the McCombs School of Business. Instead of being set up as a lecture classroom, the students sit around mobile tables with white boards and displays on every wall. It made the presentation quite a bit more interactive, as I could walk around the room while I talked.
It also provided an opportunity to trim down the lecture to the bare-bones, this-will-help-you-on-you-project things while making a class-participation exercise possible. We wound up doing a prioritization exercise, where the instructor took the role of the product owner and did an initial prioritization of the product backlog. The students then stood around the backlog and asked the instructor questions about why they had prioritized the cards thusly. They then pushed back and suggested that a different order would be more sensible, or less risky, or higher value based on how the instructor answered the questions.
Hopefully, the exercise made the lecture more real for the students than it was in lectures past. In either case, I'm really pleased with the new format and the new classrooms, and look forward to doing it again. Only next time, there will be even LESS lecture and MORE group exercises!
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