Why I created course resources

by John Bandler

I created course resources for students enrolled in courses I teach because it can help every student, and some students especially.

Students who come upon my course resources may have different first impressions:

  • I already know that, I don't need it
  • I don't have time for that
  • That's a helpful lesson and new for me
  • That's a helpful reminder of things I already know.

Either way, I know that every student can benefit from the reminders and resources, and many students definitely need it -- even if they think they don't.

I remember touring my children's classrooms in Kindergarten and beyond, and looking at the signs and materials posted. And then following along each year as my kids did their own learning. I was not too old nor too educated to obtain good reminders and sometimes a totally new lesson. Sometimes we need a recap or reminder. So whatever college, graduate, or law school students may already know, a reminder can't hurt.


I teach at several different formal academic institutions, at different levels, and have been doing so since 2017. It is a part time pursuit, but takes up a lot of time. I teach at the law school, graduate school, and undergraduate school levels.

Grading is always a challenge. What should I expect from various students at the various levels in terms of their knowledge and skills coming into the course?

My first semesters the students submitted a final paper, and I expected them to have worked on it and to know what to do.

I assumed that any college student has the basics about writing, outlining, sentence structure, research, citation, and quoting of sources? And that graduate students and law school students were even further ahead. As a part-time instructor, I assumed that "things" were getting done elsewhere, by someone else, to give the students all they needed. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

I realized more was needed during the semester. I started small, but it seemed that more was needed, so it got built out over time.

Even at the law school and graduate school level (and more so at the undergraduate level) there are students who:

  • Have never done an outline
  • Are unfamiliar with the basic rules of quoting and citing sources
  • Have never written a paper! (While I don't see how that is possible, that is what the student said)
  • Need instruction and practice on email communication basics
  • Need instruction and practice on basic research
  • Need help working towards a major deadline.

At the undergraduate level, the needs are even more pressing.

While I try to teach the course subject, learning the course subject and completing the requires other skills too. And life will require these important skills too, including:

  • Reading
  • Researching
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Identifying reliable sources (and properly citing them)
  • Presenting
  • Meeting deadlines.

Each school is different, with different resources, and each student is different, coming to the course from a different starting point.

I always encourage students to seek out and use the school experts on research (e.g. librarians) and writing (e.g., writing center). But I also wanted to provide resources that I could link to, that were tailored to the course, and the links would not change.

Each student is different

Writing and research requires a degree of planning and organization. Yet many college students have told me they have never done an outline. Even law school students have told me they have never done an outline. A graduate student told me they have never written a paper before.

Some students are unfamiliar with the basic rules that require them to quote and cite for any material they have copied and pasted, and are even willing to engage in extensive debate on the topic.

And some students procrastinate until the deadline is upon them. Or has passed.

All of this is a hindrance to learning.

And I cannot devote an hour of classroom time to explaining what an outline is, nor another hour on how to research. That is not what the syllabus allows or provides, nor is it fair for those students who already have a solid grasp on these tasks.

So instead I tried to build a clear process with written and verbal explanations of each. And to encourage (and require) that they use appropriate school resources.

Where the student starts, effort is the key

A student that starts (and even completes) their research with Google or Chat GPT, skipping course materials and other research avenues, will not learn anything. They might get a their degree, a decent GPA even, but they will have skipped a valuable education.

Where ever the student starts, if they put in effort, they will improve.

For students willing to put in effort, these course resources are an aid.

Other course related

This page is hosted at https://johnbandler.com/why-i-created-course-resources, copyright John Bandler, all rights reserved.

Posted 5/12/2024. Updated 5/12/2024.