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#1 2006-01-26 21:16:55

jellywerker
Member
From: Sunny Seattle
Registered: 2005-04-04
Posts: 286

ruby on rails idea

I had an idea for a ruby on rails application. Basically it is an online classroom. Teachers sign up and can make courses online, similar to moogle, but the data itself is also made by the teachers or other volunteers instead of it jsut being a course administration tool, with other resources needed for it to work, like textbooks, etc... e.g.: a full year math course, complete with tests and quizes and self check homework. It could feature a gradebook, forums, calendar of course events and such, schedules for work, interactive tutor pages for different aspects of subjects, online lessons, chat sessions, etc...

Anyways, I thought this would be a cool idea to develop, and perhaps eventually even make.

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#2 2006-01-27 00:15:04

elasticdog
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From: Washington, USA
Registered: 2005-05-02
Posts: 995
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Re: ruby on rails idea

Do you mean some sort of software like WebCT Vista (which is awful BTW)?  I keep thinking that there must be a good alternative out there, and don't know why so many Universities use it.  That does sound like an interesting project, and something that you could easily add features to over time.  I'd say go for it!

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#3 2006-01-27 22:32:41

postlogic
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Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 410
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Re: ruby on rails idea

That can be done in any language, too ;-)

I had a similar idea for this project I started a couple of years ago. Basically, we were a bunch who wanted to learn C++ & Allegro, so we got two-three guys to tutor us through a forum. Had the project not died, I'd make a bit more basic version of what you're talking about..

It's definately interesting, so I'd go for it!

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#4 2006-01-28 04:45:19

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: ruby on rails idea

Teachers would never use it. Just the fact its on a computer would scare most away.

Besides, computers in classroom = bad thing

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#5 2006-01-28 07:43:52

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
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Re: ruby on rails idea

I'm sure you can justify such statements iphitus.

I had a professor in my undergrad who was doing a research project like this. His goal was to create an integrated environment that could be customized for each student/course/instructor combination. His ultimate goal was to create course content automatically based on student needs.... some pretty impressive work though.

The question is whether you want to do this for fun or profit (aka: practical application, since profit and open source are pretty difficult, sadly. sad) If you do it for fun.... then it doesn't matter if its a good idea, go for it :-D

Dusty

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#6 2006-01-28 13:10:44

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: ruby on rails idea

Dusty wrote:

I'm sure you can justify such statements iphitus.

Yeah I can, but i had to go out earlier wink


Most of the teachers at my school are utterly clueless when it comes to computers, and to them it seems a big steep learning curve. Others just dont trust them. While they have an effective and working system in place, teachers won't want to switch to a computer based setup. Adding computers in adds even more room for disruption. When you have a class of thirty, all using computers, something *will* go wrong.

In year 10, it is a requirement for everyone to have a laptop computer. And teachers did let us use them, to take notes, do work, etc. But the reality is, that students will be distracted. Games of counterstrike, gameboy emulators, tetris was popular, were common.
Students could easily access webpages and such too when they desired.

The teachers were simply incapable of policing it.

A handful didnt realise you could minimise, and for those that did, some students discovered 'double desktop', aka multiple desktops. One keypress and battlefield is gone, your word document is on screen.

Dont say training, it's just not practical, no matter what, teachers will be one step behind students, and once one student finds away around something, it spreads.

And dont even consider locking computers down. With windows? pssh, good luck. It'd be easier to find a needle in a haystack than lock windows down. Linux? It's simply not ready. Linux didnt support my wireless driver for at least 6 months. Linux wireless sucks imho. Linux doesnt support many programs that the teachers and students are used to either. Dont say wine. More work, and it doesnt always provide the most consistent results.

Which leads me to another point, what real benefits does a computer provide? the ability to use Comic Sans MS?

Sure you can use programs like OneNote (windows oriented school hmm ) or other things to take well organised notes, but I betcha, I could find anything in my handwritten notes faster than any computer note taker.

Essays are best done on paper. You dont have spell check, grammar check and the ability to chop and paste in an exam.

I suppose you could do research on the computers, but then, when the school has three full class computer rooms, why bother with laptops just for research when you could go to those rooms?

Computers break down, computers stop working. Viruses, Infections, Spyware, Trojans, Adware (hey that spells Vista!). One student I know had at least 5 new hard drives, in 2 years. And each one interrupted his schoolwork in some way. I had one new one myself.

The benefits of computers in the classroom do not outweigh the distractions and effects of them.

If it aint broke, dont fix it. It's easier, and more productive to learn by paper and pen. I find i take more in if I write it by hand too.

put simply. it doesnt work smile

phew... ok, rant over.

slightly more on topic: having a system with the things mentioned above would be terrible to maintain. It's extra work for teachers (they hate that), and it would need to be kept up to date. Curriculum changes. You couldnt share between different schools either, as many teach things differently. Online lessons? Man I have a text book! Chat sessions? I'd rather talk face to face, it's soo much quicker and effective. I know that my teachers are happy to field any questions, in or out of class time.

secondary rant over.....

ciao,

iphitus

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#7 2006-01-29 01:07:48

jellywerker
Member
From: Sunny Seattle
Registered: 2005-04-04
Posts: 286

Re: ruby on rails idea

Well, I can see what you mean, but it is mroe for correspondance (sp?) courses. Perhaps I could make something similar but simpler, such as an educational game site that techers can add the words or problems to be quizzed on.

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#8 2006-03-16 18:07:37

god
Member
Registered: 2004-12-01
Posts: 25

Re: ruby on rails idea

I think this is a wonderful idea with a huge niche that is ready for the plucking. You could make fistfulls of cash if you do this right.

Course management and administration frameworks are in use at every university in the US and they all universally suck nuts. I encourage you to take a lot of time and care in designing a scalable, sane, flexible system and then only expose a minimal, manageable amount of functionality (because teachers/professors are very much computer illiterate). If done well, it should be easy to create and administer classes and materials for even the most idiotic of teachers. If you can do that, you've got all the big guys beat smile

Good luck! Let me know if you need/want a programming or design partner. I'm in the market for a job and something fun and useful fits the bill nicely.

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#9 2006-03-16 21:07:21

cactus
Taco Eater
From: t͈̫̹ͨa͖͕͎̱͈ͨ͆ć̥̖̝o̫̫̼s͈̭̱̞͍̃!̰
Registered: 2004-05-25
Posts: 4,615
Website

Re: ruby on rails idea

quite a few colleges use 'blackboard'.
that sounds alot like your app in question.

Sounds like iphitus was speaking more of remedial education. in a collegiate environment, you have to remember, nobody is forcing you to learn. if you play counterstike or games all day, and dont show up to class..you just dont pass.

College is far more personally motivated. as in, "If I dont pass this class, I have to retake it. If I have to retake it, I lose money"

The quality of teaching is also generally a bit better (though not always).


"Be conservative in what you send; be liberal in what you accept." -- Postel's Law
"tacos" -- Cactus' Law
"t̥͍͎̪̪͗a̴̻̩͈͚ͨc̠o̩̙͈ͫͅs͙͎̙͊ ͔͇̫̜t͎̳̀a̜̞̗ͩc̗͍͚o̲̯̿s̖̣̤̙͌ ̖̜̈ț̰̫͓ạ̪͖̳c̲͎͕̰̯̃̈o͉ͅs̪ͪ ̜̻̖̜͕" -- -̖͚̫̙̓-̺̠͇ͤ̃ ̜̪̜ͯZ͔̗̭̞ͪA̝͈̙͖̩L͉̠̺͓G̙̞̦͖O̳̗͍

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