Thinking About Writing And Code In Education
Lately, I’ve been investigating a few different solutions for public-facing course websites. Why does it interest me so much? I spent several years in the classroom as a student, and a few more as an instructor. My growing interest in basic web “hacking” and “development” (I put those in quotes because I’m ignorant of both) has led me to imagine what a course “optimized for the web” might look like. This is an entire field of study, of course, and I’m fairly new to it. Most of my contributions include shallow assessments and blanket statements like “This is cool” and “All courses should be like this!,” but curiousity is how I learn, so I’ll continue fumbling blindly through the darkness until someone tells me not to.
If anyone is interested, here are some impressive educational projects that show what’s possible:
- PR Publications (check out the slick Jekyll version of it, too)
- CMPT-363 User Interface Design
- The You Show
- DS-106 Digital Storytelling
These spaces would be immensely helpful if I wanted to commit the time to learn their subjects, or if I needed to brush up on previously-acquired knowledge.
I’d love to know what else is out there. I’m especially interested in humanities and literature courses shared in this way.
This investigation has been enlightening to say the least, and there’s a ton to learn when it comes to sharing educational content on the open web and moving beyond the LMS as a one-size-fits-all solution for education. I’ll be using this space to collect notes and links for a longer piece about why this transition is important, but for now I’ll say that I’m inspired by educators who go above and beyond to share their content in this way.
Reuse and building upon ideas or code are major parts of modern software development. As a professional programmer you will never write anything from scratch. This class is structured such that all solutions are public. You are encouraged to learn from the work of your peers. I won’t hunt down people who are simply copying-and-pasting solutions, because without challenging themselves, they are simply wasting their time and money taking this class.
The principles remain the same in different contexts: if you reuse (for writing, that’s paraphrazing, quoting, and summarizing) you must attribute. But ultimately it’s a question of each student’s own learning. In software development and writing, the outcomes are different, but the process remains the same.