First class

First class of the semester this evening. It’s an advanced graduate level class, and I find those to be especially fun.

That’s because for one thing, the students are coming in at a very advanced level, with mad skills and original ideas. For another, advanced classes tend to be small, which means that every student has a good opportunity to contribute their individual voice and perspective.

I tend to organize these advanced classes as projects courses. Each student proposes and then implements two original projects over the course of the semester.

That gives them a chance to do original research in a relatively structured and guided setting. Also, sometimes their class project ends up getting published as original research in very cool places.

The project of one of the students in last fall’s class ended up becoming a very well received paper at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference. It’s really exciting to get to work with students who have the combination of talent and drive it takes to do that.

To be sure, teaching advanced students is more challenging. To do it right, I need to bring my best game.

But hey, what’s wrong with that? It’s always better when you can do things first class.

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