On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 3:25 PM, Gregory B.
Please feel free to ask questions on the blog or here. Like the
original Ruby Mendicant project, I will need lots of feedback from the
community to get this one right!
From your page:
Q: Would you want to attend this online school?
A: Yes (assuming I’m in your target demographic, a little more
about who this is would be nice)
Q: Would you be willing to donate to help with its creation?
Q: Would you recommend this program to others?
A: If I thought they would benefit from it.
Q: What can I do to make it even more awesome?
A: I would love to see something like codingbat.com / spoj.pl /
codechef.comexplicitly aimed at Ruby. I feel like quick immediate
feedback is very
helpful. Preset problems give direction and goals, and if they can be
immediately verified, give an incentive to keep going. As I discovered
working on projecteuler.net, seeing little green checkmarks aggregate is
oddly addicting, and helps to motivate me to keep going. (Note that
stackoverflow does the same thing, but they use community approval as
test, and badges / reputation for green checkmarks. I’m pretty sure Joel
Spolsky talks about why this works in his blog, but I read it a while
and don’t care to look it up)
I’ve been trying to teach some of my friends Ruby, and my approach was
set up challenges for them to work on, and rake tasks to test that
against a test suite for it. If you have a safe online Ruby interpreter
TryRuby, as Andrew talked about, then I think that after the initial
get problem sets in, then it would be in line with the idea that once
have it set up, it should be very little effort to maintain, yet still
provide that interactive feel. For example, what if the problems at
http://www.rubyproblems.com also had auto-testing a la codingbat.com, to
verify that you did it correctly? Then you could associate with the
a test suite (http://gist.github.com/425975) load them up with the
interpreter from TryRuby or Dia (http://github.com/robgleeson/Dia) or
And now you have automated homework assignments. And you have a resource
that is easy to provide to the entire community (ie you don’t have to be
the school to work on the problems). And it scales: anyone can write a
problem, and a test suite, you check them over, upload them, and there
brand new problem for everyone to work on, you had to do almost no work,
everyone signed up is eligible to work on it, it provides continued
exercises for alumni.
Just thoughts, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to see for a very
time, and will end up implementing myself at some point when I know
to do it, if there isn’t already something better.
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing more about this project.