Your post resonated with me. I occasionally teach a course in Advanced Accelerator Physics at the US Particle Accelerator School (USPAS.fnal.gov), together with a colleague from CERN, and it is done just in the same way you describe: highly intensive 1- or 2-week courses, in essence cramming a whole semester's worth of material into two weeks. Two lectures a day and exercises in the evening. Classes are relatively small and lots of hands-on and 1:1 contact. Students (which in our case are mostly either graduate students or those working in the field e.g. as operators or engineers wanting to deepen their understanding) are highly motivated and boy, do they hold their teachers accountable (in a good way)! It is a very rewarding endeavour, even if we are pretty drained by the end.
We do use scripts; in essence we wrote a textbook in Maple, with all the calculations live, obviously. Even though I curse regularly at Mape's 2-D input & printing, it is actually a big kudos to Maple that this is practical. As part of the tuition the students get student-licenses for Maple that they can keep, which I consider an essential element of the course, and which we know to be attractive.
We are still a bit struggling with keeping the lectures as interactive as possible. We added a sidebar to the script files where students could do their own explorations but the feedback on that was mixed: there just isn't enough room on a laptop screen for doing this in a nice way. The next time we may try putting a field below certain sections in the script where students can work on a given aspect. Lenin Araujo Castillo has just posted here one of his worksheets, and I like his layout, maybe we can experiment with that.
I visited IHEP in Beijing two years ago (as visitor-scientist, not as teacher). Your experience sounds very familiar.
For me personally, Maple opened up a path to teaching that I may not have gone otherwise. Using Maple allowed us to create a better course, and feedback we have gotten recently validates this impression. We do work hard on our course, using Maple in itself certainly does not guarantee a good learning experience (as I am sure you & everyone else who uses Maple in teaching already knows).
Thanks again for your post, much appreciated.
Argonne National Laboratory.