Mimir:Draft6 Preface

From Openitware
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Table of Contents



"Don't speak unless you can improve the silence."

Why Mimir?

In the Old Norse, Mimir signifies "the rememberer, the wise one". He was a giant in Norse Mythology, the Guardian of the Well of Wisdom. The god Odin, father of Thor, gave his eye to be able to drink from the well, receiving guidance and counsel from Mimir.

A Flipped textbook?

Yes, a flipped textbook. It is a concept proposed to us by our professor, Dr. Michael Jonas, which represents a teaching process based on a reversed teaching method explained below.

Usually an instructor uses a textbook as guide for teaching the course, with lectures following the structure of the textbook. The teaching/learning process starts with the professor presenting the lecture, students taking notes, studying the textbook and attempting to solve the associated exercises.

In our case, the textbook doesn't exist. What, no textbook? Exactly: no textbook. Maybe no PARTICULAR textbook would be more appropriate. Lectures are presented, as usual, by the instructor, while students take notes. The result of this process comes from combining the class notes with multiple resources consultations into... a textbook. Yes, the textbook is created from student notes and incorporates their perception over the presented concepts.

Having a textbook usually imposes guidelines to the learning process and, even if not clearly distinguished, mental boundaries. "Why should we consult other resources? We have the textbook." - students might say. This doesn't exist in our case, the learning process is stimulated, the "pay attention in class" doesn't have to be spelled out, as our notes are our textbook, our starting point for consulting external resources and study them.

The process helps reinforcing the information for the students, organizing it into a logical flow of chapters and exploits their ability to use external resources.

The teamwork

The project is a collaboration of teams composed from graduate and undergraduate students. Each team followed some basic principles: graduates will create a higher level outline, provide guidance, review the captured notes and compile the results; in the meanwhile, the undergraduates would take lecture notes, research on the subject, study diverse resources and document their findings in writing. "Research your own topic, manage your time individually, contribute original findings as academic perspectives" were each team's guiding principles.

The result

The goal of this process is creating a book similar in structure to what an instructor would use for the purpose of teaching a class on Programming Languages: a textbook that focuses on grammar and programming paradigms, not a particular language.