Process of learning on DIY Computer Science
diycomputerscience.com contains several self paced courses in many categories of Computer Science. All courses are absolutely free of cost. Everyone is welcome to learn for free, and at their own pace. Very soon we also plan to introduce a service, where participants can pay a modest amount to get personalized mentoring.
Each self paced course provides learners with four basic tools.
- Content (text, and/or audio, and/or video)
- A discussion forum for asking and answering questions
- A social space for submitting your assignments, and reflections for peer review
- E-Portfolio to demonstrate your learning and to put on your resume
To start a course, you must first login, and click on the 'Enroll' button on the course page. Enrolling is free, and will give you access to the course forums, and activity submission forms (we will explain both of these below). Everyone is welcome to view the course content, even without enrolling.
Below, we will explain the four learning tools - content, discussion forums, social space for submitting homework, and e-portfolio.
Each course is divided into several parts. The main course page will describe the course, and it's learning objectives. The sections which the course is comprised of are also listed on the course page. You can access the contents of all the sections by clicking on the apprporiate section link. The content will be in the form of text, audio, and/or video. Sometimes, we may also link to existing content, or blog posts on the Internet.
Each self paced course has a dedicated discussion forum for asking and answering doutbs. You can access the discussion forum by clicking on the "Discussion Forum" tab, above the course title on the course's page. All logged in users who have enrolled for a course will have access to the forum. The forum is a social forum, which means you can upvote good questions, as well as answers. We do not allow down-voting of either questions or answers, because we believe that participants should not be intimidated of participating. Please remember - there are no dumb questions. Feel free to ask questions if you are stuck, and if you find someone asking something obvious, please try and help them politely, so they can move ahead in the course.
Assignments and Peer Review:
Learning is all about understanding the connent, practicing, and having our work evaluated, so we can understand what we know, and what we need to work on. In a typical college course, this happens by way of assignments. Students do the assignments, to practice and demonstrate their knowledge. The faculty evaluates the work of students, and gives them feedback, as well as a grade. The feedback serves to explain to the student their strengths and weaknesses, and the grade serves as credentials - as a proof of the student's knowledge.
In this comuunity we manage the evaluation process slightly diffrently. Each section of a course has some activities. These activities are similar to course assignments. Each section will also contain one activity for posting your reflections. Reflection (thinking and soaking what you have learned) is a very important part of learning. Hence we have a dedicated activity for it.
To do the assignments students create their work on the Internet, and submit a link to their work in the submission box below each assignment. If the assigmnent is a programming assignment, then students are encouraged to publishing their code on any open source repository, such as GitHub, SourceForge, etc. They should then write a blog post describing their work in brief (including challendes faced, how the challenges were overcome, key concepts, learnings, etc). Each activity has a submission form, where you can submit a link to your blog post for that activity. When you submit a link, it will be visible on the course wall (at the bottom of the course page). The reflection assignments are free form assignments where you can publish blog posts containing your reflections about what you are learning.
Since this is a peer supported course, along with submitting your own assigments, you should also try and review assignments submitted by other participants. Remember, reading other people's work, and teaching is a great way to learn.
All your assignments, forum participation, and peer reviews will go towards creating your e-portfolio (which will be visible on your public user profile). You can link to this e-portfolio from your resume.
As always... if you have any questions please feel free to post them on the course forum, or in the help/feedback section.