[OSCTC-planning] framing our tutorials

Mallory Lim Chua chuam at purdue.edu
Wed Jul 30 20:52:17 UTC 2014


> It might make sense when actually running the activity, to pick 
> one or more projects to use as an example.

Strong support for this, and for the general concept of providing (optional) "default values" as scaffolding -- recommended projects, channels, etc. As more experienced FOSSers, we often think "yay, openendedness is freedom!!!," but to a novice, it looks like jumbled complexity they don't yet know how to navigate -- and so giving them concrete pathways can help them learn faster. It's like the equivalent of pair-programming with a more experienced contributor; by being steered down *a* right path, you learn what "right paths" *can* look like, which makes it easier to construct your own in the future. And of course, people experienced enough to hop off the path and bushwhack on their own can do so. (Edu research basis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_model_of_skill_acquisition)

The key to avoiding pedagogical hypocrisy (a "closed source" approach to teaching "open source") is to make it clear that these pathways are optional, that they've been semi-arbitrarily constructed by mere mortals as a starting point (as opposed to being Unmodifiable Platonic Ideals Descended from the Heavens), and give (also optional) access to some way for interested people to dig into the processes by which they are made (the curricular equivalent of "view source"). This is sort of like providing... packages -- rpms, debs, etc -- that make default setup really easy for novices, but fine-tuneable for more experienced people.

That having been said, I think OpenHatch is doing an awesome job of applying "The Open Source Way" to the process of developing/teaching pedagogical materials -- pedagogical authenticity is strong with this group. :D

--Mel


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