Mimir:Spring 2016 Daniel Sgroi Log

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Week Ending February 8, 2016

Task

Continue to look over the previous version of Mimir from last semester and make suggestions to follow for the next version.


Results

I continued to skim over the material from the second and first versions of the textbook. There is definitely a lack of structure and a lot of the content is not in depth enough for the topics being covered in the chapters. I did take note of the previous semesters notes on where they left off and what they would suggest be done for this draft of the textbook. I believe they had a good plan for moving forward in that focusing on one chapter at a time is probably the best route to take and will provide future students with the ability to hit the ground running just by reviewing the mostly completed chapters from previous semesters.


Plan

I feel that the best plan for right now would be to decide on a "voice" or style for the book to take on and then maybe trying to edit the content in one of the first chapters to adhere to it. Also, some guidelines for the structure of the chapters would be good to discuss and pick and choose some to use going forward as well as modify the current content to adhere to the as well. Some of the areas I believe that need to be addressed are:

1. Chapter summaries at the beginning of each chapter along with lists of topics that will be covered. Being a text book, readers may look back at it for reference. Knowing at a glance, what topics are covered in the first page of the chapter can help find information quickly.

2. Use of graphics. There is not a consistent size or style being used right now. most of them do not look like they belong inside the text. Some are black and white, some have color, etc.

3. Use of shadow boxes. There are many instances where this is being used to highlight text or provide an example, but they do not feel consistent with one another. I would expect that the use of a shadow box would give the reader the visual queue of what type of information they can expect before they even read it. for example, all shadow boxes could contain code snippets only.


Concerns

I feel like the third draft may come along much slower as there are only two grad students compared to previous semesters where there were at least four or five. However, this could also maybe work in our favor as there is not too many cooks in the kitchen so to speak. It may be easier to discuss and come to solutions along the way. The first couple of weeks there may not be much to show for any new content, as it sounds like what we need to do is re-evaluate what we have now and come up with a better starting point before adding new content. Finally, if we are going to only focus on one chapter for the semester, my concern would be that this text book may not be finished for several more years.

Week Ending February 15, 2016

Task

This week's task was to review the proposed changes and talk about if they are necessary or not to make to the third draft.


Results

There wasn't much communication going on, which yielded no feedback on the proposed changes. This will need to be revisited next time.


Plan

The plan is still to continue picking apart the second draft and look at ways to improve the narrative while slowly making small tweaks to the format to see if we like it.


Concerns

I feel like we are a little behind on getting this going. Hoping for a better week to get some real work done on the textbook draft.

Week Ending February 22, 2016

Task

Continue reading second draft and look for ways to possibly create a template structure in which to build new content and mold existing content into to give a better idea of what this text book will be about.


Results

I read through most of the chapters just for the sake of seeing what had been completed and how full the content was. I was not too thrilled with some of the content as it looked more like the previous class was trying to dive into teaching specific programming languages instead of using them to illustrate small examples of the chapter topic. I don't have the outlines from the previous classes at the moment, but I am curious to see how the actual content follows the outlines.

Plan

Going forward the goal is to try and expand on the template idea and see if we can actually make it happen and get some editing started on the third draft.


Concerns

Feeling a little overwhelmed this week, with the work that needs to be done in all the aspects of the class. I still have my outline to work on, which is more important for us to use to be able to get started on some of the content changes we will be looking to make.

Week Ending February 29, 2016

Task

The task for this week was to try and come up with a sort of chapter template that can be used to give each of the chapters the same look and feel. We decided it would be a good idea to both come up with ideas individually and will compare notes to come up with a final version to start applying to the existing chapters.


Results

After reading through some of the content together, it was decided that format of the chapters seems to be more or less complete at this time, but I did suggest a couple of additions that may be of some help. One being that there should be some section links at the head of each chapter to allow the reader to easily skip down using anchor links to specific sections. Also, a small section that will let them know what they can expect to learn from the chapter before they begin reading that should match up with the summary at the end of each chapter.


Plan

Once the template is complete, we plan to apply it to a few chapters to see how it looks structurally. If everything looks good, I would like to document the template somewhere on the wiki to have future classes be able to use it as a reference and make any changes. I think it will be a good reference point that will speed up the process of adding content in the future and will make the textbook look more like one. I have also begun researching a little bit into how to create a consistent voice for the textbook. So far, that is proving to be a little difficult. I have skimmed a few programming textbook I have on hand and from that I feel like I have some ideas on where to go, but I think it will be challenging to merge some type of voice on to the subject matter, as I feel like teaching a specific language is a little more straightforward than teaching the concepts behind programming languages in general.


Concerns

I am a little concerned with how this project has come along so far. I would have liked to have a couple more graduate students this semester to help out. I feel like delegating the work between two people is a little overwhelming given the previous semesters had two or three times the students. Also, given the current directive to try and clean up the second draft is kind of taking away from the spirit of the project, which I believe is to focus on the content primarily and getting it together into the book.

Week Ending March 7, 2016

Task

For this week we will finally be getting into make some changes to get things started. Both of us have decided to take on one chapter and apply some changes to them based on the template we discussed last week. The changes may be subtle, but we want to start small and see if we can get a good format down before moving on to actually modifying the existing content.


Results

I made some small edits to the second chapter this week. I added the "What you will learn" portion of the header of the chapter, which I feel will attempt to add to the style of the textbook as most textbooks will have some add-on content to each chapter the reader will be able to use to give a sneak peek at the chapters content. Also, I began to re-do some of the content that didn't fit with my styling template. The pros and cons section of the compiler and interpreter content were changed to be un-ordered lists instead of being encased in shadow boxes, which should be only used for code samples.

I also felt that there seems to be a lack of linkage between the chapters in the textbook as well as navigation within the chapter itself. For starters, I added links at the foot of the chapter that link to the previous and next chapters as well as an anchor link that will bring the reader to the top of the chapter. I also placed some other anchor links to the top of the page at what I believed were the defining areas of the chapter content that would break it up according to the "What you will learn" section. This will allow the readers to quickly move around the text book as needed, which may become for difficult as more content is added and some of the chapters become quite long.

Plan

The current plan is going to be finishing up some changes to the chapter two and then start working my way up the chapters making the same changes and eventually we will meet in the middle. The links will be added to each chapter as well as the what you will learn sections. The changes to the content will be likely small and subtle as to keep things status quo for now as we begin getting more of the outlines finished from the current semester, which can then be worked in.


Concerns

I feel like there still isn't any kind of real plan with this textbook. We have had discussions, but I feel like every time we meet and discuss the previous weeks work, the work being done and the agreed upon plan is slightly modified. I will try to ensure that each week we at least attempt to stay on track with the plan and hopefully, the work will be reflective of the discussion that takes place.

One another note, the outlines are coming along, but I feel like there not many of them are finished. The longer they aren't finished, the less I feel we as a class will have to contribute to the overall textbook draft if we have to end up scramble towards the end of the semester to incorporate the content.

Week Ending March 21, 2016

This week I focused my attention solely on my graduate project during spring break.

Week Ending March 28, 2016

Task


Results


Plan


Concerns


Week Ending April 4, 2016

Task
This week I finished the work I started before the break and updated a few odds and ends to reflect that this is a new draft.


Results
I updated the copyright page to include the graduate students names for this semester and updated to show this is the third draft of the textbook.

I finished adding my linking to each chapter so that readers can now move forward and backward through the textbook without having to go to the table of contents. I also added a couple sections of the "What you will learn" to some of the chapter headings.


Plan
Next week I plan to attempt to write something for the introduction chapter. I believe this will be key in giving a good starting point to the new narrative that can be worked into the existing content afterwards. A few of the chapter outlines appear to be completed, but I am not sure if they have been graded. If I have time this week I will definitely start to integrate where possible.


Concerns
Time is quickly running out for the semester. I feel like the textbook hasn't made that much progress, but hopefully we can finish off the rest of the semester strong and make a positive mark for the next draft.

Week Ending April 11, 2016

Task

This week the task was to come up with a new introduction section to create a "voice" for the textbook and then try to carry that style over to the following chapter that I have been working on.


Results

I didn't get much written for the introduction, but I did get something there that I feel creates a voice of the book. It attempts to sound relaxed, informative, and in a sense, telling a story of programming languages rather than just spewing facts for each topic that is discussed currently in the textbook. I also began rewriting the second chapter in some areas where I felt the way the content was awkward sounding and not something you would really find readable in a normal textbook.


Plan

The plan for next week is to focus on the content of chapter 2. I will look to make some more changes to the content to make it sound more informative. Do a little bit of research to beef up some thinned out areas, as well make some formatting changes (update diagrams, code examples, and general styling). I feel like chapter two is pretty well done as it is now so hopefully we will be able to just add a few more pieces and be able to call it a finished draft of the chapter in the next couple weeks.

Concerns

The only concern is to make sure that this project is given some better attention starting this week and hopefully continuing that trend through the rest of the semester.

Week Ending April 18, 2016

Task

This week's task is to start reading through chapter two and making any changes/additions that we feel would be necessary. The goal is to use the remaining weeks to try and finish the second chapter and be able to provide the next set of students a jumping off point to how the subsequent chapters should look.


Results

I spend the week just going through each sub-section of the chapter, reading what was there and seeing if I could modify the content to give a consistent voice. In areas where the content was a little thin, I tried to use the chapter outlines from this semester and research online to expand on what was already there. I also made a minor styling change by editing the link to the appendix in the Second Generation section to be more obvious as to where the link takes the reader, rather than just saying "See here"


Plan

We had a good meeting between Illya and Prof. Jonas to talk about the current state of the project and how best to approach the last few weeks of the semester, which was similar to what I had already planned to do. The plan will be to continue working on chapter 2 and complete it as much as possible.


Concerns

Only concern is getting the chapter finished.

Week Ending April 25, 2016

Task

The task for this week is to continue work on chapter 2 and build off of last week's work. The plan was to review and edit as many more sections of the chapter and research some more information that will help build up the content of the chapter


Results

I was able to get through another few sections and add more detail to them, mainly the third generation language section and fourth.


Plan

The plan is continue working on the content for chapter two and start to look into adding some notes for the next set of grad students to be able to pick up where we left off.


Concerns

The only real big concern to me is to be able to adequately describe what Illya and I have done for the second chapter as far trying to create a narritive. This will be huge as far as the next set of students being able to hit the ground running and hopefully be able to just focus on developing content for the next chapter.

Week Ending May 2, 2016

Task

This weeks task was to continue working on chapter two and begin adding some notes in the TODO section of the third draft for the next semester.


Results

I was able to get a good amount of content added to the 5GL section, adding some more details about PROLOG and a full example program along with an explanation. I ended up swapping out the pictorial representations for the interpreter and compiler to the images that I created this semester. Mine are more consistent in size and I feel they are more readable. However, I did like the amount of detail the previous images went into. Maybe next semester, someone could merge the two together. I also added some notes for the current draft as far as what we focused on this semester and suggestions for future semesters for continuing the narrative voice we tried to create as well as only focusing on a single chapter.


Plan

Same as this past week. Just try to finish up on some of the edits to chapter two and finish up the notes/TODOs.

Concerns

There is still quite a bit of content to go over in chapter two, but as of now I think we did a fairly good job in expanding the content and giving is a consistent narrative.

Week Ending May 9, 2016

Task


Results


Plan


Concerns