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  • Great post -- I especially like how you observe similarities between the suspicion of novels in AUsten's time and the suspicion of new media forms and texts today. Current critiques (or jeremiads) against digital communication platforms and genres posit shallowness or worthlessness in the name of older forms that are purportedly deeper or worthier; however, there are some fascinating counter-critiques of such positions -- for instance, the Stanford Study of Writing, which makes some interesting arguments for the vaslue of new media forms and platforms in the teaching, practice, and promotion of writing.

    Mark A. McCutcheon 22 hours ago

  • Jon,

    I really enjoyed your reflection on having been (yeah, past tense) the Chair. 

    Your experience was definitely consistent with mine time as Chair for a couple of years a couple of years ago.

    I am also very interested, as I think you know, in the same area of research. I wish you well on the next adventure, and hope we get a chance to collaborate.

    Gerald Ardito February 10, 2019 - 2:00pm

  • I'll surely let you know, thanks Jennifer!

    Yes, the branching and pulling approach you suggest is pretty much exactly the cooperative pattern I have in mind, though collaborative group projects as such are mostly out of reach, thanks to self-pacing. I'd not want to prevent it if it occurred - I just couldn't require it. I also intend to provide some default bits of both client- and server-side code that people can simply drop in for stuff like AJAX etc, as well as to provide (largely optional) scaffolding to get started. It will make the 'fix the broken page' exercise way more straightforward, and all the stuff about reusing and repurposing code will be so much easier to track. Right now it is way too easy for students to forget to tell us which bits are theirs, which is bad whether they accidentally commit plagiarism or whether we miss the smart things they have done to improve it. As you know, the course very much applauds intelligent reuse but it's often hard to see the students' own contributions.

    Self-hosted Git is an option, as is use of the version control service provided by AWS (we have an arrangement with Amazon so I guess we might as well use it) but I'm still struggling with that: the server side is easy enough, but most client tools are too complex and/or flaky for beginners with other more important things to learn about. Finding something simple, learnable, and reliable enough, but with enough features to do the social thing, and that doesn't prevent high-fliers or those with existing experience from taking it further, is the big blocker at the moment.  Now that I have more time, I mean to spend a few days over coming weeks doing some deep investigation of the very many options. In an ideal world, as well as something foolproof, powerful, and easy, I'd like to find something with good social tool integration and Landing-like per-post/branch/project access control, but that might be tricky. If I had more time and resources I might build a plugin to do it, or to do it the other way round (embed Git, Mercurial, whatever in the Landing) but I fear I may have to make a compromise or two on that for now.

    Jon Dron February 10, 2019 - 10:59am

  • Oh interesting! Would you be able to ping me once the version is in? I'd love to be one of the first students to take it for drive. :)  I've gotten many AU courses approved by work for 2019 for reimbursement - COMP266 is currently 3rd on the list but I could take it later to wait for the revision. 

    I recall we once had a conversation about using version control tools like Git where you mentioned the added dififculties of rules concerning server locations, etc. I believe you were considering hosting your own Git server? I've only ever used Git with Bash and have no experience with other version control solutions.

    It would be quite interesting if instead of just posting on the forum to help other students that we could also review each other's code, create a branch and a pull request for our changes to be merged. And it would be neat to have the option for group projects (Group work would need to be optional as even if students had the same start date, some may aim to finish in 4 weeks, others 4 months).

    One option to help students get acquainted with git (or whatever you choose) would be to create a site listing students' project websites (perhaps with the TA being the owner). Students could then create a branch, add their url / description to the page, submit a pull request, etc. It could make for a simple/painless introduction for them.

    Time to tuck in the kid. We'll talk more later. :)

    Jennifer Davies February 9, 2019 - 8:34pm