Here's what often happens to me. I'm looking to either hand out or prepare an outline for a lecture (or set of lectures) on topic X. Under the principle of (code) reuse, I go hunting for lecture notes that I can link to. I'll often find three or four examples of almost what I need, but either there'll be background information that I have to provide links for as well, or maybe the treatment isn't quite what I wanted.
It seems to me that what one needs are Lego lectures (this is the term coined by my colleague Matt Might when I described my solution to him). My inspiration for this idea comes from reading Dexter Kozen's book on complexity theory.
So what are Lego lectures ?
- One set of notes, a few pages or less, on a SINGLE topic. Very focused, and usually one main theorem. In Kozen's complexity notes, each lecture is (almost) one main result in complexity theory.
- As little referencing of prior notes as possible, and notation declared when needed.
I've probably written only two lego lectures in my life: one on tail bounds, and one on the FFT. But they have turned out to be immensely useful, and get reused all the time. I think that from now one I'll model my lectures notes on the lego principle.