Sunday, September 06, 2009

Throwin' the book at 'em

So we've taken the first few tentative steps toward writing a "textbook" for our 280 course, as described in an earlier post. To get the ball rolling, I've asked students to share, on Moodle, the on-line course management software to which we've all got access, a topic on from the first "section" of the course on which they'd like to write a paragraph or two, and for which they feel they could construct an example or an exercise.

So far only 1/4 of the class has responded to my call for topics, so I'm going to have to ride them a little harder.

Once they've all made their suggestions, they'll each choose a topic and submit their work (done in LaTeX) on Moodle, and one or two students will volunteer as editors to sort it out and piece it together into a single narrative to which the others will be able to respond.

I'm a little concerned about how long this process is going to take: I have a feeling we'll be done with the course's second "section" (proof methods; we're halfway through it now, about to begin induction on Wednesday after the Labor Day weekend ends) before we have a chance to finalize the first chapter of the textbook, and so the concepts therein contained may not be as fresh in their minds by the time they're asked to write about them.

On the hand, constructing the textbook material could be a good review.

We'll see how it goes.

For the time being, I'm just going to wait for a few more entries to come in via Moodle.

1 comment:

phillip johnston said...

Hey P-
I was thinking about the time pressure and it might be helpful if, after the topics come in you draw up a simple outline to guide them a bit. It would give them a starting off point that would save some time and they would be able to spend the time more effectively as they will have some structure. I know this would defeat some of the reason for your wanting to include this project but since it is a new experiment it could help keep everyone focused on what you all are after.
Anyway there is two cents worth.