Bugs beyond code

Was talking with Ben, our head of curriculum, last night when he offhandedly mentioned a “bug” in our curriculum. We were reviewing one student’s capstone project and he remarked that the font she had used wasn’t terribly legible.

Ben It’s a bug, I think, in the curriculum that it ends up like that. If my change to the capstone works we won’t see that kind of thing again.

Me What do you mean?

Ben Today students sometimes make code with poor fonts. It’s because we don’t teach good font usage! We don’t teach readability well enough, or successfully help them implement accessibility. It’s a bug in our curriculum and I can fix it.

Ok, that’s actually a bit of a summary of our actual Slack discussion. But close enough. The point is that curricula is just like code. It’s working great then you discover what it helps people do isn’t what you want so. You’re constantly investing in and improving it.

Until 9:30pm last night I’d never heard anyone use the term “bug”, as in a flaw or error that produces an unexpected output, for anything outside of computer code. But it’s a great term when describing how education, and the process of curriculum writing, is continuously improving. Fixing bugs can be super satisfying. Helping students learn takes it to a whole new level.