This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why I did open book tests for software

When I first started teaching software in the 1990s, I discovered that the vast majority of my students knew how the education game was played, and apparently I didn't. It goes like this, you memorize a bunch of stuff for a short period of time, take a test, and then forget it. So classes that were designed like that worked for the majority of the people who had learned that technique in high school, and were prepared to do it in college. But since my background was as a Graphic Designer, not a teacher, I didn't know this. And it had been a long time, uh, since I had been in high school. So, having an open book policy for all of the assignments and tests that I gave just made sense to me. But it completely confused a lot of people.

Real life, as opposed to school, is open book. When I first started using software, my boss didn't expect me to memorize a bunch of stuff and then forget it. He expected me to do the job. And that meant being able to find the answers, whether in a book, or a help menu, or on Google, which I do a lot of nowadays.

The good news is that for my students who understood this, they went on to create some great artwork and great websites using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Dreamweaver. And these people have gone on to success after success. I know because many of them are still here in the valley, and connected to me with LinkedIn.

The bad news is that the people who expected the *memorize, recite, forget* thing never quite caught on. I tried to encourage as best I could, but they just didn't like me for not playing the game fair.