[Edu-sig] Brainstorming a new worksheet for 2006

John Miller jmillr at umich.edu
Sun Jan 1 20:05:24 CET 2006

kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:

> That should be enough to get me going.  I'll be back soon with that  
> URL.
> It'll be a work in progress and I'll be open to feedback (positive,
> negative, neutral, indifferent).
> Kirby

One small suggestion. Instead of this:

Examples of data structures are:

list [a, b, c]
dictionary {a:1, b:2, c:3}
string "abc"
tuple (a,b,c)

I suggest this:

Examples of data structures are:

[a, b, c] # a list
{a:1, b:2, c:3} # a dictionary
"abc" # a string
(a,b,c) # a tuple

This cleanly separates the syntax from the labeling, and reinforces  
the commenting notation.

Looking at the larger picture, I'm feeling that there is a need for  
an online place to provide for the teaching/learning of python that  
is specifically structured for high school credit. You may have heard  
that Michigan is thinking of making the completion of an online  
course a graduation requirement. If this passes, and other states  
follow, there might well be demand for such a course, or set of courses.

I really like Kirby's penchant for sharing his educational endeavors  
with us, and the materials that go with them, however, it is all very  
*specific* to his particular situation. I've been wondering if there  
isn't some way to foster greater collaboration with what Kirby is  
doing, while at the same time, engender more such efforts by those of  
us inclined to do so.

For example, one well-regarded, open-source curriculum management  
system is Moodle (moodle.org) (think Blackboard, or WebCT, only  
free.) If we set up a moodle site, we could each prototype courses,  
placing emphasis where each of us felt was appropriate or necessary  
for our own needs, or the perceived needs of a potential audience. We  
might then synthesize our efforts somehow and make it available to  
schools (the horizon gets hazy at this point...)

One drawback, in my mind, is that moodle runs on php rather than  
python, and I wouldn't like the subtle irony of that situation. The  
obvious python product I suppose is plone (plone.org) but that would  
have to be heavily customized to make it more like a courseware  
system than a generic content management system. Or maybe using php  
isn't so bad...

Anyway, just wondering if any others were feeling similarly.

John Miller

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