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Designing a lesson plan generator - please critique my workflow!

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OK, so I've bend the ear of my software architect DH about classical homeschoolers, our many curriculum choices, our endless finicky tinkering with plans, schedules, pacing etc., our need to keep concrete records of material covered... and he suggested that we create a software program that help parents to design and customize a schedule for the year. He's got grand plans of a wiki where people contribute infornmation about the various curricula they are expert in and we end up with a massive database and tons of supporting materials available for use and modification under a creative commons license.


Sounds nice, huh?


The first step is for me to create a workflow explaining what a homeschooling parent would come to the site hoping to get, and what data we would have to gather from this person (the "end user") in order to generate the desired output. I'd really appreciate knowing what is missing from this first draft of the workflow.





End User Workflow


1.Explore website, read FAQ, register, receive confirmation email, log in.

2.What subject areas would you like to schedule?

a.English Literature

b.Language Arts/Grammar













o.Computer Science

i.For each subject area selected:

1.Overall priority

2.# of times/week to study?

3.Speed of student

4.Interest/proficiency level of student

ii.Additional general questions:

1.Number of school days per week

2.Number of school weeks/year (select on a popup calendar)

3.Based on this info, software generates a list of all possible curriculum choices for each subject, with

recommended choices bolded. Summary description of curriculum and overall user rating. Parent makes


4.Software produces proposed schedule for the year. User can click and drag to switch dates, delete specific lessons, add floating holidays etc. etc. – every customization option possible, with dynamic updating. User clicks “Generate” when customization is complete.

5.Software produces following output:

a.Page of weekly lesson plans with links to relevant resources

b.Printer friendly version with option to print any/all relevant resources

c..pdf emailed to address on record, plans plus relevant resources

Edited by Smithie
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For #3, and forgive me if I misunderstand, but it seems to me that the program should ask more relevent questions before it suggests a curric. The currics should be narrowed down based on the philosophy of education (fun/rigorous/religious etc.) style (classical/CM/unit study/eclectic/montessori/unschooling, etc.) whether you want to try to align courses/subjects to your country/provincial/state standards, etc., if you want to teach grade specific or several grades all at once, and the cost you are willing to spend if this is indeed suggesting curricula to use. Again, forgive me if I misunderstand.


Also, for the courses, there are many options that a user could want that are not there. Typing, stewardship, volunteering, penmanship, the list could go on and on and on, or you could have a few blank slots??? Sorry if I'm taking this in a direction you did not intend. :confused:


P.S.: I would sugget looking at Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks and checking out her questions. Teacher prep involved, teacher involvement, independant work, whether the TM is necessary, etc., these are also all important criteria that I use when looking at her suggestions.

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Nope, this is the right direction! My vision of the typical end user is somebody who has a basic idea about the major curricula they'd like to use and is mostly looking to save their time and energy and reduce the household chaos by letting the software make their weekly schedules for the year. However, you are right, there is absolutely no reason not to ask for far more detail about their preferences and worldview. Even if we can't make a lot of use of that data in the first year or so, eventually we'll be able to!


And yes, I was hoping to make the list of possible subject areas almost infinitely long. :D I will add your suggestions to the list!

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