What it is and isn't doing

My programming students had deadlines this weekend and I've been chatting with quite a few of them on GitHub, Slack, and Teams about their misbehaving programs.  I've been interested to see how some approach problems with their code, and I'm reflecting on how to go about teaching the others to…

Toward Telescope 3.0

Last year at this time I was writing about what we hoped to ship in Telescope 2.0 as part of OSD700/DPS911.  We had 10 students plus a fairly active set of community members outside of the class.  A little over 3 months later, we shipped Telescope 2.0.…

Teaching Open Source, Fall 2021

As I often do at the end of a term of teaching open source, I like to record some details about what I've observed and learned.  This was the 16th time I've taught the course, and as always, the experience was unique, despite also being very familiar.I've been doing…

If you liked it then you shoulda put a link on it

Today I've been reading and marking student blog posts and git commits for a recent lab. One of the comments I've made over and over again is to ask students to include links to everything they discuss. I've had to say it so many times now that I wanted to…

Yours to Discover

Today I wanted to give some credit to our government.  No, not the elected officials, about whom I have very little that's positive to say, especially during Covid.  Instead, I'm talking about the team who just shipped Ontario's Covid-19 Verification app.  I don't actually know who they are, but I…

Learning to not fear the unknown

This past week I've been fascinated to watch my students work in each other's repos. They have very different ways of approaching code they didn't write.  For the most part it goes well, but some are more successful, and it's useful to consider why that might be so.For example,…

Why newer isn't always better

Twice in the past week I've seen projects I'm working on go off the rails when an automatic, seemingly minor, dependency update didn't do what it advertised.First, it's helpful to understand something about how packages are versioned in the node.js/JavaScript ecosystem.  By and large, such projects use…

Learning to Review Code

This week's open source lab has the students reviewing each other's code on GitHub.  I've purposely given every student the same programming problem so that they would a) all have the same knowledge about the problem space; b) get to see how another person might solve it in a totally…

There isn't an app for that

I've been thinking a lot about this story: a woman in Wales who found a message in a bottle from a Newfoundland fisherman.  The bottle had traveled 5,000 Km over a year to end up on a Welsh beach.The story is wonderful, and simple, and easy to understand.…

Starting Open Source Fall 2021

This week I've begun teaching my introductory open source course again. Throughout the week I've been meeting the new students on Slack, and getting to know a bit more about them via their blogs.  I thought I'd write about some of what I learned.Many students have told me that…