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#1 2012-06-20 14:55:58

Meskarune
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From: USA
Registered: 2009-03-21
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Arch Classroom

There is a new project in the works called Arch Classroom, and it needs lots of planning and volunteers! The idea is that we use a section on the wiki for class material like lesson plans and tutorials. Then anyone can use that to have a class in real life or online.

The project would be similar in scope to Ubuntu Classroom: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Classroom  but probably more arch like. smile

The project idea was brainstormed in an Arch Women meeting. (for some context see here: http://archwomen.org/index.php/2012/june) We were coming up with ideas to increase the contributions of women to Arch Linux, and thought teaching people how to create and maintain packages would be a great start. Then after more discussion with the devs and other users, we realized it would be more useful to have a separate project for anyone and everyone to use to create their own classes. Arch Women specifically wants to host/sponsor some classes, and we'd like to start with a package maintaining class.

A package building / maintaining class could have sections on bash scripting resources, how programs are installed in a Linux system environment, what variables are used in PKGBUILDS, how to handle special case PKGBUILD like cvs, git, python, ruby, etc.

A few things up for discussion:
    could we get an official mailing list for teachers/project planners? Is using the talk page on wiki or in the forums better?
    class ideas!
    what is the best way to go about organizing/implementing this?
    constructive criticism

Anyone want to volunteer to head this thing or contribute? tongue

LETS DO THIS!!!!1111 big_smile

===
For more information on Arch Women please have a look at our site or IRC channel. http://archwomen.org  #archlinux-women @ irc.freenode.net

I'm going to make a request that no one post replies expressing disbelief or contempt for Arch Women in this thread. Go to the Arch Women site or IRC channel for Arch Women discussion. Lets keep this thread on topic and plan out Arch Classroom. smile


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#2 2012-06-20 15:56:53

drcouzelis
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Re: Arch Classroom

I think a lesson on creating packages is a great start. I've made a few packages and the process still confuses me a bit.

I did a brainstorm for some other ideas of things to teach about:

  • Using the ABS: It is very confusing for new users, and is the reason I wrote the ABS FAQ page.

  • Automount devices: Discuss different methods of setting up automounting devices, with advantages and drawbacks.

  • Finding an answer / Creating a bug report: How and where to search when you have a problem.

  • Controlling XDG: I have no idea how to use XDG.

  • Using git: Yes, I believe the world needs another git tutorial. No matter how many I read I still don't get it. tongue Make it Arch Linux specific by using it to backup your configuration files.

  • Creating backups: Different methods of creating backups of your files.

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#3 2012-06-20 16:13:31

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Arch Classroom

Great idea.  I'd be happy to contibute if I am capable/qualified.  I have a lot else on my plate so I would not commit to leading or coordinating, but let me know if there is anything I can do.  I've put together a few PKGBUILDS, and am comfortable with bash scripting, C programming, the build process including troubleshooting PKGBUILDS (via patching Makefiles from upstream) to work in arch.

I would also be interested in learning more about git, and git PKGBUILDS.  I have recently started using git (github) and just barely manage to get my code up on github properly.  More directly relevant is the git-based PKGBUILD structure.  I've seen a good bit of variety and some conflicting ideas about how these should work.

Also, I think new users will really benefit from a PKGBUILD class.  PKGBUILDS to seem mysterious and intimidating at first.  I avoided learning about them as they seemed very involved.  The wiki has so much information on them, but I feel it is too much information.  Extra information is great, but it could be good to have a 'basic PKGBUILD' course or page as it seems many users when they figure out PKGBUILDS there is a moment of thinking "Oh, that's it ... that's a lot easier than it looked".


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#4 2012-06-20 16:21:43

theGunslinger
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Registered: 2011-05-20
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Re: Arch Classroom

I'd be happy to apply as a student, been delaying going into PKGBUILD-s for quite some time now.

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#5 2012-06-21 11:06:18

z0id
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From: Romania
Registered: 2010-02-02
Posts: 121

Re: Arch Classroom

Controlling XDG: I have no idea how to use XDG.

+1 for that

Last edited by z0id (2012-06-21 11:06:29)


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#6 2012-06-21 20:09:54

ConnorBehan
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Re: Arch Classroom

Meskarune wrote:

could we get an official mailing list for teachers/project planners?

Sounds like a good idea to me. To make this happen I would suggest asking about it on one of the existing mailing lists.


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#7 2012-06-22 01:02:33

Yurlungur
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From: USA
Registered: 2012-01-06
Posts: 116

Re: Arch Classroom

This sounds like a great idea. I don't think I'm qualified to help teach one of these things, but I'd love to be a student. smile


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#8 2012-06-22 01:33:17

bohoomil
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Re: Arch Classroom

I like it and may try to participate.

A couple of ideas:

1. Multimedia -- a simple way (listening & watching with minimal resources).
2. Building (relatively complex) documents with (relatively simple tools), ie. markup languages in practice, or how to do without an office suite.


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#9 2012-06-22 07:54:24

jakobcreutzfeldt
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Registered: 2011-05-12
Posts: 1,033

Re: Arch Classroom

Great initiative!

Since working on the commandline and in scripts is so important to Arch (and to understanding things like PKGBUILDs, the init system, etc), I think a good introduction to Bash would be great.

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#10 2012-06-22 11:12:52

kynikos
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Registered: 2010-12-28
Posts: 156

Re: Arch Classroom

I'm glad to see so much enthusiasm in wanting to improve the clarity and effectiveness of our documentation! However, about the wiki part of the project, I'd like to express my concern about the temptation that some may have to start duplicating articles that we already have: I think this would be both a waste of efforts for contributors and the cause of even more confusion among readers.

For example:

Meskarune wrote:

A package building / maintaining class could have sections on bash scripting resources, how programs are installed in a Linux system environment, what variables are used in PKGBUILDS, how to handle special case PKGBUILD like cvs, git, python, ruby, etc.

We already have:
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Creating_Packages (and all the specific articles linked from https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Cr … guidelines )
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PKGBUILD
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Ar … _Standards
Not counting lots of related articles like "makepkg", "ABS", "AUR" and so on...

drcouzelis wrote:

Using the ABS: It is very confusing for new users, and is the reason I wrote the ABS FAQ page.

    Automount devices: Discuss different methods of setting up automounting devices, with advantages and drawbacks.

    Finding an answer / Creating a bug report: How and where to search when you have a problem.

    Controlling XDG: I have no idea how to use XDG.

    Using git: Yes, I believe the world needs another git tutorial. No matter how many I read I still don't get it. tongue Make it Arch Linux specific by using it to backup your configuration files.

    Creating backups: Different methods of creating backups of your files.

We already have:
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Build_System
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Udev
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Autofs
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Re … Guidelines
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xdg-open and https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xd … irs-update
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Su … _Git_Guide and https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Git
* https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Backup_Programs

Searching more existing articles can be done here, or one can also browse our https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Table_of_Contents

Last edited by kynikos (2012-06-22 11:17:53)

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#11 2012-06-22 12:54:24

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
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Re: Arch Classroom

kynikos wrote:

We already have (on the wiki)...

Pipe those pages through espeak and it's like having a personal tutor! big_smile

I, too, would worry about duplication of effort. Does a "classroom" work together with the Ubuntu forums and wiki but not with the Arch Linux forums and wiki because the two are so different? For example, the Arch Linux forums have a lot less... "fluff"? than the Ubuntu forums.

I also worry that the quickly changing nature of Arch Linux could make things difficult. An Ubuntu class could be targeted for a specific release, but in Arch Linux there's isn't a "Haptic Horse" or "Bompus Bison". Is it easy to update a classroom like it is a wiki page?

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#12 2012-06-22 17:04:27

fsckd
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Registered: 2009-06-15
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Re: Arch Classroom

If I understand correctly, the wiki is to serve as host to documentation and some tutorial materials. This would include step by step guides, class notes, examples, guides for tutors and those who prefer self study. The "classes" themselves would take place in IRC and would be something like group study or seminar. drcouzelis is correct as because Arch Linux constantly changes the wiki is the better place to store stuff than as static files on a webserver.
(I don't know exactly how this would all work so take what I say with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper to taste, reduce heat to a simmer and cover.)


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#13 2012-06-23 09:59:25

kynikos
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Registered: 2010-12-28
Posts: 156

Re: Arch Classroom

Yeah, I too would like to know better what these "materials" are exactly: currently I don't understand why the existing articles I've mentioned couldn't be used directly as teaching material, with the added benefit that this would be a chance to improve them further. Keeping a wiki page up to date with Arch's evolution is already difficult enough; IMHO maintaining two pages on the same topic is twice as hard, and absolutely not as Simple as Arch defines it.

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#14 2012-06-23 12:47:19

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Arch Classroom

Whoa, I don't think anyone has suggested creating new pages on the same topic.

A text book is different from a lesson plan.  I wouldn't want every wiki page to read like a lesson plan.  One of the strengths of the arch wiki is that it provides complete and consice information for people who know what they're doing.  This stands in contrast to many other distro's documentation that will given a long winded rambling of the authors irrelevant perspectives followed by an example of one option that can be provided for a given command.  Those always leave me wondering what the other options are and what they do.

<example>
The XCB documentation has received a good bit of criticism.  I am slow to 'criticize' because it is new, it needs time to grow.  But Having recently tried to learn XCB, I was quite frustrated with examples of creating a window in XCB that provided several arguments to the create window function.  Some decent defaults were given, but there was no description of what the alternatives were.  I had to look at the xlib documentation for a discussion of the different flags and values that could be passed, then grep through the xcb headers to find similar constant definitions to figure out how to do such things in XCB.  The XCB tutorials are great for someone who has done very little programming and just wants a "hello world" window to pop up on their screen.  But as this was not what I want, I quickly became frustrated.
</example>

The arch wiki is my preferred flavor of documentation.  It provides large amounts of information in a concise manner.  But then I much prefer to read doxygen style documentation of a library than to have to sift through pages of some other programmers commentary before I actually get to their example code.  I learn by doing.

There are different styles of learners though.  There is a difference between handing someone an encyclopedia and walking away versus handing them the encyclopedia and guiding and helping them understand the information presented in it.

Sadly, in much of the world, actual classrooms have become a place where information is simple thrown at the students, and students are expected to just 'get it'.  Many teachers blame the students for not figuring it out, when in reality the teachers never teach.

As someone who values teaching, and attempts to do it well, this pattern troubles me.

But my rants aside - it seems the goal idea presented here is to take the wonderful material already in the wiki, updating it where needed, and then presenting and teaching that to those who learn best with a guide rather than with just getting an encyclopedia thrown at their head.


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#15 2012-06-23 14:13:47

Evert7
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From: Lier, Belgium
Registered: 2012-02-18
Posts: 63
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Re: Arch Classroom

If the project will become reality once, i would be happy to be a student smile
But, may I suggest a different approach?
Like said above, just learning things can be done in the wiki and forums. So, those 'classrooms' will need some more advantages; like a more project-orientated approach.
For example: You start a classroom with some teachers and students, who will then together choose a project like 'Unity integration in Arch'. Then, they will create some nice PKGBUILDs, do some minor programming and scripting, maybe write some wiki pages about it, etc...
The teachers could explain the students what to do.
This way, I think it would be much more fun and it would make more sense.

Just my view, though smile


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#16 2012-06-23 21:28:02

ratcheer
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Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 501

Re: Arch Classroom

Trilby wrote:

But my rants aside - it seems the goal idea presented here is to take the wonderful material already in the wiki, updating it where needed, and then presenting and teaching that to those who learn best with a guide rather than with just getting an encyclopedia thrown at their head.

+1

Tim

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#17 2012-06-24 12:05:31

kynikos
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Registered: 2010-12-28
Posts: 156

Re: Arch Classroom

Trilby wrote:

But my rants aside - it seems the goal idea presented here is to take the wonderful material already in the wiki, updating it where needed, and then presenting and teaching that to those who learn best with a guide rather than with just getting an encyclopedia thrown at their head.

Ah well, if that's the correct interpretation, I too support it without reservation smile
We should probably wait for Meskarune to provide more details.

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#18 2012-06-28 17:22:40

Meskarune
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From: USA
Registered: 2009-03-21
Posts: 339
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Re: Arch Classroom

Thanks for your comments kynikos. Like the others said, I am thinking that Arch Classroom material would consist of a lesson plan with links to resources, and in the case of PKGBUILDING some extra PKGBUILD examples, etc. Here is a lesson Plan example: http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/avia … _plans.pdf

If we have good Lesson plans with "homework" and step by step beginner information that are easy to use and follow, I'm hoping anyone can use them to teach their own class. smile The teachers of course could edit the class to their students.

A lesson plan would consist of a learning goal, a list of knowledge requirements and software needed. And a class outline with chapters or lessons, etc. I do not have a ton of experience with writing lesson plans, but I did use them in my school years. tongue

I'll try and make some pages up in the wiki is that is still the appropriate place to do this. Then we just need some good writers. big_smile

ps. I'm moving across the country and won't be online very much this month/next month, so maybe email me If I"m needed. meskarune@gmail.com


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#19 2012-06-28 19:12:16

Meskarune
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Re: Arch Classroom


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#20 2012-06-28 20:43:42

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
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Posts: 13,491
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Re: Arch Classroom

Can I wait for someone else to go first, second, and third, then I can go fo(u)rth with a few examples.


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#21 2012-07-04 00:38:57

Meskarune
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From: USA
Registered: 2009-03-21
Posts: 339
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Re: Arch Classroom

Ok, I created a category for Arch Classroom and then made a very preliminary page for a PKGBUILD class here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Be … aintaining

ps. halp, idk what I"m doing tongue


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#22 2012-07-04 00:58:00

Allan
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From: Brisbane, AU
Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 10,358
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Re: Arch Classroom

Just as a small hint of the future...   I would not get too carried away with details about git/cvs/ etc PKGBUILDs.

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#23 2012-07-04 05:11:26

stlarch
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From: hell
Registered: 2010-12-25
Posts: 1,250

Re: Arch Classroom

Ellen wrote:

Just as a small hint of the future...   I would not get too carried away with details about git/cvs/ etc PKGBUILDs.

Would you care to expound upon that?

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#24 2012-07-04 05:15:28

Allan
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From: Brisbane, AU
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Posts: 10,358
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#25 2012-07-04 05:24:44

stlarch
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From: hell
Registered: 2010-12-25
Posts: 1,250

Re: Arch Classroom

Thank you.

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