15.060 | Fall 2014 | Graduate

Data, Models, and Decisions

Instructor Insights

Collaborating and Iterating From Year to Year

In this section, Prof. Perakis talks about how the course continually is improved upon from year to year.

"We … work to improve the course each year—it’s an ongoing process."
—Georgia Perakis

I joined the faculty in 1998, and this was the first course I ever taught. At that time we didn’t use slides, so the initial iteration was to deliver the material on slides. I created the first version of the slides, and worked a lot on the recitations with material for the teaching assistants to present. Then each year we kept iterating on the material.

There are usually three of us teaching six sections of the course. When we have a junior faculty, usually the two who are more senior will take the bulk of the workload. Each person is responsible for a third of the lectures, and we split the other responsibilities including homework, managing the TAs, and exams. An overall task is making sure the lecture slides are consistent. Then, we meet and explain to each other how we would teach each topic.

We constantly work to improve the course each year—it’s an ongoing process. We think of new materials and cases we may want to use, and each person who teaches the course makes their own contributions. I have written five cases and introduced several lectures on my own projects for the EMBA that bring in the material.

From year to year, I also review the lectures from the course in the past years. This is extremely useful because then one can understand what was not as clear to students and how the course can improve.