Perl 6 - the future is here, just unevenly distributed

IRC log for #webwork, 2013-04-16

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Time Nick Message
00:36 Paul_Pearson mgage ?
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12:59 goehle joined #webwork
13:02 goehle hey mgage
13:46 mgage goehle: hi
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15:00 mgage goehle: hi
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16:34 goehle hey mgage, back from class
16:34 goehle (or mgag_)
16:34 goehle (mgage_ rather)
16:35 goehle Or Paul_Pearson
16:35 Paul_Pearson Hi
16:35 goehle It got your email about AnnArbor
16:35 goehle I'm interested in going, but wanted to get some more info
16:36 Paul_Pearson You've been doing a lot of work lately, so I thought it might be good for everyone else to get caught up :)
16:36 Paul_Pearson What do you want to know?
16:36 goehle in particular, I was talking about some of the cs professors here (and one in particular who does database stuff) if they had anything to say about the database redesign
16:37 goehle If database stuff is on the agenda for Ann Arbor then that would be a good time to look at their suggestions
16:37 Paul_Pearson Should we try to get everyone interested in database stuff to come to Ann Arbor?
16:38 Paul_Pearson In other words, should I invite the following people:
16:38 Paul_Pearson Jason Aubrey
16:38 Paul_Pearson Aaron Wangberg
16:39 goehle Thats probably a better question for Mike.  I dont want to let my interests dictate who gets invited :)
16:39 Paul_Pearson Mike Gage (already invited)
16:39 Paul_Pearson Is anyone else interested in database stuff?
16:40 Paul_Pearson I wasn't at Raleigh -- did database stuff get done there?
16:40 goehle However, if we do decide that Ann Arbor then that would be a good idea.  One option would be to bring the CS person at western out to Ann Arbor as well.  I'm not sure they are interested but wanted to see if it was possible before I asked
16:41 goehle I think a little bit of database stuff got done at Raleigh, but it happened before I got there I think.  It was mostly planning
16:42 Paul_Pearson I'll have to ask JT and MG if bringing a CS person is possible (i.e., if the grant will fund it).
16:42 Paul_Pearson Is the database stuff still in planning, or is it in active transition.
16:42 goehle Yeah, and ask them who else should be in on it.  Because I know a bunch of people have had opinions on it one way or the other
16:42 Paul_Pearson In other words, are other people also working on the database right now?
16:42 goehle Still in planning, but I think Mike wants to start development soonish
16:43 goehle Something that threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the process is that implementing past_answers as a global table ended up having performance implications
16:44 goehle So we have to figure what that means for global tables and the db design.
16:44 goehle Honestly, I can help out with the coding and what not, but as far as design goes I'm over my head
16:45 Paul_Pearson Are there other projects you're working on?
16:45 Paul_Pearson Essays are done, yes?
16:46 Paul_Pearson Achievements are done, yes?
16:46 goehle Pretty much.
16:46 goehle I've been working on math4, but thats sort of a side project.  Other folks are doing a more extensive graphics overhaul.
16:48 goehle I was thinking about adding some more gameification stuff, but it would potentially have some security implications.  So I should discuss that with people before I dive in
16:48 goehle (this would be actual rewards for leveling like the ability to extend a deadline or skip a problem)
16:49 Paul_Pearson OK.  I'll talk with Mike about the possibility of having a database group at Ann Arbor and whether we can invite CS people.
16:50 goehle Great!
17:23 mgage goehle: Paul_Pearson: hi -- just back from lunch
17:23 goehle hey
17:23 goehle we were talking about Ann Arbor
17:23 mgage catching up
17:23 goehle sure
17:24 mgage I see.  database stuff would be fine with me (and I would participate) -- but I don't want to detract from a focus on courses -- so that's a call for the organizers to make about this particular meeting.
17:25 mgage I can't see why inviting CS people and paying from the grant would be a problem.
17:29 goehle sec, I'm talking to a student
17:29 mgage I was just a CS talk about integrating apps with FaceBook.  It looks like something that might be done fairly easily.  It could facilitate logins for those who hangout permanently on facebook.  And there are some educational social interactions that could be explored.  (Plus one could probably collect data -- already publicly broadcast -- which I think might be interesting.  Knowledge of how socially connected the students are might have an intere
17:29 mgage correlation with performance.  Plus there are possibilities of encouraging study partners through facebook.  It looks like the facebook api is pretty straightforward and well documented
17:29 mgage np
17:48 goehle back
17:48 goehle I've actually done some facebook stuff for the achievements
17:49 goehle the api is pretty easy to work with but there is a big snag
17:49 goehle when you set up a facebook "app" as a developer you give it a url and it gives you an app id.
17:50 goehle Only web pages from that url can use that app id.  So (essentially) each different webwork server has to have its own facebook app and app id.
17:54 goehle oh, back mgage, btw
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18:19 mgage goehle: back also
18:19 goehle kk
18:19 goehle I've currently got everything set up so that there is a facebook app id variable that can be set in localOverrides
18:20 goehle but it would be up to individual administrators to go out and get a facebook account/appid and set it up
18:20 mgage so that's something to deal with of course.  but if there are enough advantages to linking to facebook it might be worth if for site managers to do that.
18:21 goehle sure.  But it wont be "plug and play".  There are pedagogical advantages.  Achievements, for example, mean a lot more to people if everyone can see them
18:21 mgage by the way I've been using piazza as a place for students to discuss their homework -- I redirected the "mail your instructor" button to be a link to out course piazza page.  It's worked pretty well.  Students seem to like it.
18:21 goehle I got your email.  Changing the font on links is super easy.  I'll also try to troubleshoot pgeditor3 if I get time
18:21 goehle yeah, I was going to try that out next semester
18:22 mgage yes about achievements -- I'm also intrigued with developing social networks this way.
18:22 goehle I also wanted to ask a couple questions.
18:22 goehle I'm going to spend the next few weeks brining the cs guys up to speed on how the database works.
18:22 mgage I don't think pgeditor3 is the problem -- it's the new mathview equation editor (you can't see it in math4 theme yet -- but you can in math3 theme)
18:23 mgage it's on hosted2 in the usual courses -- you can toggle it on the course configuration page.
18:23 goehle I thought robin was having trouble with save as/ add to end of homeowkr
18:24 mgage yes -- that was also a problem -- I can actually look into that -- I think it's a problem with both PGproblemeditor2 and 3 -- something didn't get copied over properly from PGProblemeditor1.
18:24 goehle I didn't think it was math4 specific
18:26 goehle ah. I see.  So mathview is for inputting equations
18:26 goehle You know.  I dont think I've ever had a student complain about not knowing how to enter something.  Still, its a good idea
18:27 goehle anyway.  Do you want me to ask if the main database guy is interested in coming to the coding camp?
18:27 Paul_Pearson Here's my 2 cents:
18:27 Paul_Pearson The database group would probably be independent of the course development group at Ann Arbor.
18:28 Paul_Pearson Perhaps Mike would be in the intersection of the two.
18:28 goehle Mike is in the intersection of everything :D
18:28 Paul_Pearson So, I think it would make sense to have a database group working at Ann Arbor.
18:37 mgage back -- sorry -- had a student
18:38 goehle np
18:38 mgage having the database people coming is fine with me -- I'd join.
18:38 mgage I'm probably not needed that badly for the model course group although I'm happy to catch up on what's happening.
18:39 _ilbot joined #webwork
18:39 Topic for #webwork is now WeBWorK (http://webwork.maa.org) is an open-source online homework system for math and sciences courses. WeBWorK is supported by the MAA and the NSF. | Release notes: http://goo.gl/Ry5HN | Channel logged at http://goo.gl/jELTn
18:40 mgage tools that help you analyze how the data is currently being stored and I don't think we've made a recent map like that.  Jason made one at one point a while ago but I don't know what's happened to it.
18:40 goehle I'll ask about that
18:41 mgage aubreyja:  what database tool did you use to map the current database?  it had a dia output if I remember  correctly
18:41 goehle I was also thinking about adding some gameification elements, but they would be a little more invasive than the current achievements.
18:42 goehle I was thinking that as a reward for gaining levels students could get potions/powers/whatever that would allow them to do things like
18:42 goehle get 100% on a homework problem automagically
18:42 goehle or extend a due date for a homework set by some number of hours
18:42 goehle however, this is something that not everyone will want
18:42 goehle and it touches on some pretty fundamental webwork stuff
18:43 mgage a lot of people have liked the gamefication aspects -- and a lot of people haven't tried it.  I think it's reasonable to think about adding this stuff as long as they can be turned off -- possibly incrementally if there are different levels of invasiveness.
18:45 goehle great.  I'm just keeping an eye on potential projects
18:45 goehle the social aspect seems interesting too
18:45 goehle someone was suggesting that they might get some sort of avatar
18:45 goehle and then could kit out the avatar with differetn stuff
18:45 goehle which they earn by doing well on homework etc
18:45 goehle another suggestion was for group based achievements
18:46 mgage I like the avatar idea -- I think that might be fun.  I'm probably a bit conservative about this but I'm inclined to keep the game aspects and the homework score aspects separate.
18:47 mgage but kitting out the avatar might be a real incentive.  I'm still bemused by the effect the green bar has on students -- but it's an absolutely real phenomenon.  And that's barely a game but it still has an effect the students talk about
18:48 Paul_Pearson I re-invited Jason Aubrey to Ann Arbor and also invited Aaron Wangberg.
18:48 mgage ok -- sounds good
18:49 goehle I think a lot of people will be conservative about seperating the game elements and the grades.
18:49 mgage gavin will already be there -- and we'll want his input about how gateway quizzes should have been implemented if we had a better database model.
18:49 goehle yeah
18:49 goehle I know the cs guys are going to say that there should be inheritance and whatnot
18:50 mgage there would be advantages to that -- if we can use an noSQL database.
18:51 mgage Other people who will want to say something about this are Peter Staab and David Gage --- this also means that we need to rush the completion of the webwork API description -- which is on github.com /openwebwork
18:51 mgage goehle: you should point your CS guys at that as well.  a good restful model of the api will help guide the database implementation.
18:52 goehle ah yeah
18:52 mgage https://github.com/openwebwork/WeBWorK-API
18:53 goehle sure.  The closer the db is to that api the easier it will be
18:59 mgage afk
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