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To Do List is a calendar-based list of everyday activities provided by user to track and monitor his or her own daily progress in accomplishing or completing tasks or goals. It is viewable/accessible via user profile and the user has the option of allowing others to either view or not view the to-do list. This to do list would essentially exist as a means for encouraging productivity and also as a means for monitoring one's own productivity or maybe even someone else's productivity. A user can set their to do list to active or private. If set to active, any user can view the to-do list. If set to private, then only the user can view his or her own list or create settings to allow certain users to view their list. In this to-do list "app" (doesn't really have to be an app per se), Users will essentially access a calendar and post a list of things they want to accomplish each day, ideally days in advance and then they can either check off or line through the activities they've accomplished for that day. And since it is trackable by calendar, this to-do list can be "archived" (if you will) so that they can easily go back and forth through the days and months and monitor their own progress. On a side note, another thing that should be properly archived (by calendar) is questions asked and answered. It is difficult for me to even go back and view the first question I ever responded to on OS. But anyway, that's another topic for another day. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Please Post Below
That sounds like an interesting/great idea, since the chat boxes are sometimes really distracting; making a schedule might help some people to be more productive. As for the second idea, I would suggest to make a search engine though our question asked /answered.
I will support more for the search engine for users , unofficial groups and also for question asked/answered . as this will make OS user friendly .. We will be able to view whether any other students asked the same question and is it answered?
@zepp that suggestion about the search feature has been around forever, but they just haven't gotten to it yet. As far as finding older questions/answers that feature got altered when we switched to the smartscore system I think, so I'm not sure if those are even retrievable. You'd have to ask admin about that. As for the to-do list, what would be the consequences of accomplishing your agenda or not? Do you propose penalties and awards to those who participate? If so, of what kind? Points? Medals?
I was going to leave that for the admins to decide. They seem to have their own agenda when it comes to things like points and incentives.
do you mean the calendar will show the questions asked and answered for each day? i like that and this whole idea. i have troubles remembering my daily objectives in OpenStudy and i think this is a very innovative idea. it will ease a lot of things here. a timeline of progress...very nice...
What I mean by the calendar is this: On your profile, you can click "questions answered" and what would pop up is this calendar (we all know what a calendar looks like) and you could basically scroll through the calendar and go to any given day and observed how many questions and what kinds of questions you answered on that particular day. And yes, in that way, you could monitor your own progress as a timeline in that manner.
so basically, this is a way to organize question asked and question answered, yes?
I too like the idea of having some kind of incentive to push yourself to do something challenging. Many users are quite comfortable answering the same type of question day after day. Any benefits gained from encouraging yourself to advance your skills I definitely think is in the best interest of the site. I wonder though what the goal we would be striving for would be. If it is a certain number of questions, then I'm not so sure I like the idea, as many would try to game the system by answering only the questions they know how to, with as little explanation as possible. Mods can of course hunt these people down, but why make more work for us? we have enough trolls. I would prefer setting goals along the lines of "answered at least x questions from y category" to diversify your skill set. Ideally, something like "I will get a medal for at least 5 calculus questions by (some date)" but that would require us to categorize and reorganize things in a way that I'd imagine @shadowfiend shuddering over. Still, all in all I like the basis of the idea.
Actually, there's two things at play here: 1. To-Do List 2. Calendar-Based Archiving Both would improve OS from different aspects.
Hey everyone - so I like the ideas that are being discussed here. Actually, we're looking at implementing something along the same lines in the near future :) Couple of issues here: the idea of 'indexing' questions according to either difficulty or subject matter is something that is very hard to address in our current system. Also, while I like the idea of a calendar, I think that it would still be useful to set personal 'Learning Goals' that, at their heart, are ultimately self-reporting. And while I totally get @TuringTest's point regarding 'gaming the system' - I also feel that by making Learning Goals both personal and self-reporting would dissuade some of that activity. Also, Learning Goals *could* be expanded beyond the realm of OpenStudy - for example, deciding to take an MIT OCW course, and using the OpenStudy community to help with learning concepts, problem sets, etc. In terms of the Calendar-Based Archiving @Hero referred to, I could see that being helpful, though I'm unsure as to the level of technical complexity required there. Particularly when it comes to the database, as you're talking about thousands of questions across thousands of users... However, it's definitely an idea worth keeping in mind. In terms of the To-Do List - I definitely feel that the OpenStudy community is at a point where we should allow people to make decisions based on *what* they want to learn, and by making it public, we allow the community to both help and support each other as we strive for our respective goals. Overall, great post @Hero, and one I'd love to hear more input on from anyone/everyone... Cheers!
@cshalvey , I'm not seeing how you think the calendar idea is related to setting learning goals". The calendar is merely a way to archive questions so they are easier to access and this would be one avenue from which users can monitor their own progress. Setting learning goals in my opinion is not directly related to what I am suggesting. Also, the to-do list idea is not required to be incentive-based. I suggested it merely for the purpose of creating a more productive environment here on OS. Users can come here and set their own daily to-do list of things they need to accomplish for the day and monitor their own productivity that way. Both ideas are things that I believe are essential for improving open study and some of the users here have expressed their support for it. I'm sure it would probably be difficult to implement from a technical standpoint, but I believe it would be worth it in the long run. I believe it is important for OS to continue progressing and ideas like this is essential to that progress.
Sorry if I miscommunicated that @Hero - but I *do* understand that they are unrelated. The connection I was making was between the 'To-do List' and broader 'Learning Goals.' The main thrust of the idea being to take the tactical implications of a daily To-Do list and expanding that to a strategic 'Learning Goal.' Mainly, as you stated, if productivity is the goal, shouldn't that productivity be targeted at something long-term? As opposed to simply answering X questions today, shouldn't it be answering a number of questions with the goal of becoming more adept at Algebra or Multi-Variable Calculus? Also, regarding the use of incentives, I was going off the title of your post, but also, because I believe (and am backed up by experience on OpenStudy), that people typically respond to incentives, and nothing else ;). Anyways, that's why I was going from To-Do list to Learning Goal - I believe they are along the same lines, at least in my opinion. Of course, more than willing to listen to alternative implementations of this idea.
I never said that the to-do list would involve answering any questions. The to-do list can be short term or long term according to how the user deems it so. Maybe to get more of an idea of what I had in mind, you can take a look at this site: http://www.toodledo.com It gives you options on how you want to set your to-do list. Everyone is different and for some people, long term goals only might be too limiting.
As a side note and perhaps off topic, i think it would be great if there was a way to number the answers in a single post it seem that almost every time i am here i want to say "refer to line ..." above, but instead have to retype if this is not possible i understand, i thought it might be easy
or maybe a way to copy a previous reply?
As to the Calendar idea - I do understand that it's not related to Learning Goals or To-Do lists, I apologize if I miscommunicated that. Also, I do understand your stance that if the value is there, then we should make it happen regardless of technical difficulty. However, my rejoinder would be that we need to find the areas of OpenStudy that technical complexity would actually add value to our users. For the calendar idea, I understand it would be nice to be able to see what you did in the past, but ultimately, I think the *larger* value would be towards adding features that enhance the experience, not necessarily the record keeping of past interactions/questions...
Learning Goals and a To Do List is not exactly along the same lines. I think you're trying to limit the ideology To-Do List to just learning goals only, but for example, my to do list would probably look something like this: Complete Homework (short term - educational) Go For A Run (short term - not educational) Walk The Dog (short term -not education) Organize Community Event (long term - not educational) Create Educational Site (long term - educational)
Ok, well, I'm obviously looking at this through the lense of OpenStudy, which by definition would be limiting, yes? For example, your To-Do list above is not necessarily something that you would keep on OpenStudy, correct? I mean, I also have To-Do lists, but I also have them targeted by *where* they relate to - as a student I had a 'school list' as well as a 'personal' and 'professional development' list. So, the way I view a To-Do list on OpenStudy relates to what I wish 'to do' on OpenStudy today. That's why I made the jump from 'To-Do' lists to 'Learning Goals.' Because ultimately that's what OpenStudy is all about, and I also think there's a value of reinforcing OpenStudy's priorities to our users - we're about Learning.
So it seems to be that you have automatically rejected the idea behind the calendar archiving, right? Btw, I addressed the technical complexities. I didn't mean to imply that had a "create it no matter what the complexity" mentality.
It's all about learning on OS. I get you and it is the heart and soul of open study, but, OS does not have to necessarily be so limiting that things such as to-do lists are limited to just educational goals. I feel that you are undermining my idea and rendering it useless. Learning Goals is not related to the To-Do list idea. It is an entirely different thing altogether.
When I make suggestions to improve OS, I make them with the intention that they won't be downplayed, undermined, or dis-regarded as simple as that. At least not without giving it a little more thought and passing it by other members such as other users, mods, and admin. Sometimes I feel like you have the final say on they way things go here and that's exactly what I feel that something like Open House would prevent. One person shouldn't have the final say on how things are implemented. There are a lot of great ideas for OS that don't make it past the first mod that takes a look at the question and then shoot it down in an instant. It's sad that it happens, but it happens and as a result, the improvement of OS is greatly hindered.
Woah, ok. I feel that you are misinterpreting me at this point. In no way am I trying to 'undermine' your idea - I am merely presenting an opposing viewpoint. And at no point have I rejected anything - I was only presenting some real obstacles to that idea. Not impossible, but I feel it's an important factor in the decision-making process, wouldn't you agree? Also, I can absolutely *assure* you that 'one person' has the final say on anything on OpenStudy. On the contrary, I feel that is a disservice to us as a team, and you and the other users whose ideas we have taken very seriously, and also implemented. For instance, I believe it says 'Best Response' next to your reply, yes? Additionally, the entire implementation of SmartScore was done based on the input of *many* users over a period of time - and your voice was an important part of that @Hero. If I, or anyone else, has made you feel differently then I do apologize. But I will forcefully defend against the idea that we don't listen to our users - that's simply not true. Every idea that is brought up in Feedback, sent via email, or suggested by our UAC, is absolutely considered and tested. Just because it doesn't happen does not mean it is not considered. Also, the fact that we have limited resources is unfortunately, a fact. Meaning we *have* to make judgement calls on what we can and can't do - this is not because we have "downplayed, undermined, or dis-regarded as simple as that." This is in fact disingenuous to the (massive) efforts put forth by the development team, the moderators, and you the users. I am absolutely willing to listen to criticism, and am also willing to adapt and change as needed - but saying that I just downplayed your idea, or dismissed it out of hand is a problem of perception on your part, not fact. Again, I, as a member of OpenStudy, am voicing *my* opinion on your suggestions, which you have interpreted as an attack or outright dismissal. Again, if it came across that way then I will attempt to communicate differently in the future. So, to the matter at hand, let's talk about To-Do lists and the Calendar. Perhaps there are errors in my understanding of your idea, and I'm willing to be corrected :)
Hehe, *assure you that one person does NOT have the final say... Some would call that a Freudian slip alright ;)
I'm only going to say this and I'm done: Actually, I made the suggestion about "Best Response" and received feedback before you were able to provide any input regarding it. I fear what would have happened had you provided the input. I know that maybe in your mind, you feel that your intention is not to do things like undermine or dis-regard them, but what you say in response to suggestions does indeed hold a lot of weight. The reason why I suggested the to-do list is in fact a response to the apparent lack of productivity that not only seems to exist, but those that users themselves often admit to. When some users come here, some of them tend to chat a lot and admit that there are things that they could be doing otherwise. Perhaps the to-do list could be that thing that helps them stay focused. The reason why the to-do list should not be limited to "just" Learning Goals is because that's something that is pretty much already expected from OS. This is already site where learning goals can and are in the process of being achieved through providing help for users with their questions, with concepts and aspects of their education. Learning is the central theme of OS. Nevertheless, the productivity of students should also be of concern. A certain percentage of students come here and go to chat and admit that they are not getting their work done because they are too busy in the chat or perhaps they spend so much time answering other people's questions that they forget about their own work they need to do. The idea that I'm suggesting is purely but not limited to students of this type who could probably use something like a to-do list to remind them of the things they should be focused on. I, for one, believe that learning should be the fundamental theme, but it doesn't necessarily have to be limited to that. I consider learning to be a "major goal" (if you will) . Productivity could very well be a "minor goal" as learning and productivity go hand and hand. I'm just having a hard time understanding how you could "oppose" something like this, when it is something that can clearly improve OS in certain aspects. Perhaps learning goal could be one category of several in a to-do list. And perhaps those categories could vary per user. I think the idea should be to encourage productivity. The productivity issue is something that should not be ignored I feel, especially not when it could indeed improve OS. I know it is my own idea but, I highly recommend it.
Well, I indeed understand the importance/validity of what you are saying regarding a To-Do list that is more expansive than simply 'Learning Goals.' However, in my defence, this was not how you first presented the idea. Regardless, thank you for clarifying your point of view, and I do agree that users may benefit from more emphasis on productivity as opposed to 'other activities' such as chatting, becoming embroiled in questions, etc. So, the main idea of the To-Do list would be to focus users' attention upon the matters that are most important to them - be it on or off OpenStudy, correct? If so, I am more than willing to hear from other users regarding this idea. And, as always, I do appreciate your suggestion.
I just want to say also that I clearly stated from the very beginning that these ideas were for the purposes of encouraging productivity.
Sigh, yes, but let's be honest - 'productivity' is a pretty general term, no? I don't think it's crazy for me to make the assumption that you were referring to 'academic/learning productivity' - no?
Also, I still believe that you are way off base when it comes to my role and standing in the community. "I fear what would have happened had you provided the input" - I actually *did* provide input, internally on your idea and thought it had merit. Additionally, I feel that you are being incredibly dismissive of the rest of the OpenStudy team. The idea that I hold more weight and say than people such as farmdawg, mattfeury, shadowfiend, chris, or preetha is frankly, completely inaccurate. Our (great) development team, despite the fact that they routinely put in double digit hours during every day, *always* take the time to review and respond to Feedback. As I said before, regardless of who responds directly on site, the entire team contributes to each and every decision made on OpenStudy. I am not so much worried about your perception of *my* role or interactions, but I do feel strongly that the rest of the team's importance is being dismissed so easily by you. I think it's important to note that OpenStudy was alive and thriving *well* before I became a part of the team, and I also am well aware that it will continue to do so should I ever not be a part of the team. My role on OpenStudy is to serve as the voice of the user - one I have evidently failed from your perspective, which is fine, and something I am more than willing to be better at going forward. But, I can assure you, that all decisions that are made are done with the *entire* team's involvement, I have *never* unilaterally dismissed or 'buried' any idea that has been brought up by you or any user. But hey, that's just my opinion man... ;)
I didn't mean to give off the perception that I was being dismissive of the entire OS Team. The truth is, I don't really know what goes on behind the scenes. When you made your initial comments, I assumed that my ideas were being subtly discarded and that they would not get passed down to other mods and admin. Perhaps it is the style by which you present your opposing ideas that leads me to believe that the discussion ends with you. I'm a little relieved that this is not the case now. There's just one small little thing I'm a little feeble on. Forgive me for seeming harsh here but, It is difficult for me to understand how someone believe they are a "voice for the users" when they really have not much experience being a user. I would think that someone like satellite or myininaya, would be a better "voice". Nothing against you, seriously, but they've been here the longest and have much experience being an actual user on OS before becoming mods.
Community manger, that's fine. But, "voice for the user"...idk
Btw, for the record (and for everyone else's benefit), I have a *lot* of respect for @Hero as a user, and he brings up a LOT of important points. If anyone has similar feelings or thoughts, I hope to convey the point that I am absolutely willing to take suggestions, input. :) In terms of your response, I would like to address that. First of all, I hear you on the style of my response and I can work to be better about that in the future. It is essential that I convey the actual process of decision making on OpenStudy, and I'm actually very pleased that this was brought to light. Who knows how many other users felt the same but did not want to bring it up? In the future, I will absolutely remember this in my interactions, thank you. As to the voice of the user, those are great points, and of course I feel both Myininaya and Satellite would serve as excellent 'voices.' However, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't both of them (excellent) answerers? Additionally, both are extremely intelligent, insightful, and educated. They would be an excellent voice for the power user - which is why I take their opinions with the utmost respect. However, what about the other users on OpenStudy? Also, what about those who have yet to come to OpenStudy? I absolutely *love* the community we have, and part of my job is to let as many people as possible know about OpenStudy. For this reason, it is vital in my position to take input from as many people as possible - and try and reach as many segments of our community as possible. It is for this reason that I absolutely enjoy the opportunities I get to discuss OpenStudy with yourself, Myin, satellite, blues, and a host of other users of that ilk. But I also spend a lot of my time with younger users, new users, and users who have left OpenStudy. The 'voice of the user' is really a misnomer, because I am under absolutely no illusions that I actually speak for every (or even most) users. I simply talk to as many people as possible, and try my best to communicate that back to the team (and community). So, that is also why I am completely open to criticisms and suggestions - I am very aware (and maybe too comfortable ;) ) with my shortcomings, and I'm here to listen and learn - literally on a daily basis.
Don't mean to step into a conversation, just wanted to weigh in on a couple of points really briefly to provide an additional perspective. First, with regards to the calendar system as concerns technical difficulty. It should not be that difficult at all. Every question and every answer already has a database entry, and that database entry already has a timestamp value. Using that timestamp value in an organizational way should not be difficult. Databases are awesome tools that make things like this much easier than they may otherwise seem. I do not mean here to claim that it would be a quick or easy job, simply to claim that it would be a very doable one, if that is something that OpenStudy decided was worth spending the coding time on. The second issue I wanted to weigh in on was the one of categorizing learning areas. This has come up many times before, and I think there is a very good reason for that. It simply needs to happen. I understand the difficulties involved, and I understand that the timeline will not be short for it to happen, but I think that unless we have it as a long-term goal, we are missing the point. The purpose of OpenStudy is to promote learning, and learning is realized as a progression through categories of knowledge and skill. If we do not quantify those categories, then we cannot claim to be promoting learning to the best of our abilities. OpenStudy is a great and successful website for a variety of reasons, but I know that the vision for it is more than a place to get answers to homework questions. The vision for it is deeply related to the future of education in general, and with that in mind, categorizing learning is simply essential, difficult though it may be. Those are my two cents, anyway :)
If I might, while we are discussing it, I would also like to respond a bit to a notion that Hero brought up. He discussed the fact that some users spend time hanging out in chat, and use the site more as a chat room than for its "intended" purpose. I am one of those users, or at least have been for the past little while. Rather than actually answering questions, I have spent more time talking in chat and discussing things. Sometimes, those things are trivial and unrelated. Other times, though, we have had mini-seminars in the chat, during which I was able to teach what would be considered very advanced concepts to people who the traditional education system would immediately deem "not ready." It is one of the beautiful things about OpenStudy, I think, that we have people from so many different walks of life that can come together and have those conversations, and we all walk away from it very enriched. For example, I spent an evening teaching @Limitless the basic concepts of real analysis and the topology of the real line (I hope he does not mind me using this as an example). Not only did he benefit by being exposed to some ideas that the educational system wouldn't have let him see for another four or five years, I benefited by learning about pedagogical concerns of teaching advanced subjects to younger students, as well as to students who do not have certain backgrounds. All in all, it was a very positive experience, and other similar conversations have been just as rewarding. There are a couple of different directions that I want to take this example. First is to point out that chatting can often be a huge benefit. I have gained greatly from my chats with @KingGeorge, for example. I also think that every user benefits from any heavily mathematical chat, simply by nature of exposure. If there are people talking about advanced mathematical concepts in a way that sounds exciting and interesting and fun... well then dang, some of these people who came here because they hate their math class and they want someone to do their homework might just realize that wow, mathematics is actually pretty awesome. That is a huge victory, right there. Chat is one of the few ways that can happen. The other direction I wanted to take this relates to a vision of learning that I have been constructing recently. I have begun to see learning as taking place in two distinct phases. One is the communication of knowledge, and the second is the development of skill through practice. In a class, we see a variety of methods for the first, and generally one method for the second. Knowledge is communicated via lectures, chapters in the book, and very occasionally, one-on-one learning. Practice, of course, consists of homework exercises. I would assert that, especially in mathematics, both of these components of education are essential for success in learning. I would also assert that you can judge an educational framework by the way that it handles these two components. And further, I would reaffirm the view held by many others that the different methods of communicating knowledge are not created equal. One can communicate in an hour lecture what could take several hours to understand from reading, and one can communicate in a ten-minute personal conversation what might take an hour lecture. The more personal a conversation, the more quickly concepts can be communicated. With this concept in mind, I think we have a huge potential here with OpenStudy and with the chat rooms. We have the ability to bring communication of knowledge down to that personal level where it is most efficient and effective. We can combine that with the efficacy of the question/answer framework for handling the second part of the equation, which is the repetitive practice to produce mathematical skill. That was all a bit of a tangent, but it is something I have been thinking about, and wanted to provide for others to think about as well. If you read it all, thanks for reading :)
@nbouscal - regarding the technical complexity/time commitment of the Calendar idea - I will be the first to admit I'm not the best resource on that ;). For this reason I've notified the *actual* smart guys (dev team) about this post already. Unfortunately, they are on East Coast time, so it's past midnight for them right now and aren't available to respond. They will at some point tomorrow/Monday though I am sure. As to the categorization of learning, it's an issue we've been honestly struggling with for a very long time. Because ultimately, we absolutely agree with your point that it is essential to both our long and short-term goals. The difficulties we've had are these, hopefully you (or others) can provide input on these: - the process for when a question is asked by a user: how to make that process both quick and easy so as not to interrupt the first question asked flow of the user - Do we rely on 'power users' to categorize questions? Or change mis-categorized questions? If so, does this not take away the enjoyment of the site for them? - How do we accurately, and with as little interference as possible, introduce a categorization system to OpenStudy? Meaning, how will it actually 'look' to you as a user. Also, due to where OpenStudy is right now in terms of lifecycle, we *are* working on some items that are essential to our continued growth, which are at the moment our priority. However, this categorization issue is one that we feel is an essential element to literally *everything* we want to do on OpenStudy, both present and future...
quick questions..what are "power users"?
@nbouscal - I missed that response as I typed up my own essay ;). But I wanted to comment that I think that's an AWESOME point, and one that really led to the creation of OpenStudy. The vision for OpenStudy has always been to create a place that is open to everyone, from all walks of life, that makes learning fun and engaging (and even 'cool' if possible), and where we value the importance of individual interactions to communicate learning concepts. You, of course, put that much better than I did. Thank you!
@lgbasallote - Typically we call 'power users' those users (such as yourself), that interact on OpenStudy at a much higher and greater frequency than the norm. For instance, some users typically come to OpenStudy for an hour a day, others for six. Also, some rarely answer questions, others answer literally hundreds. So, while it's a loose definition (and not one we codify or measure), it's merely a name for those at the highest levels of activity on OpenStudy. :)
oh i see. well i am honoured to be on the list
I also want to add yet another two cents by mentioning that my suggestions have nothing to do with those who are being productive on OS via chat, but rather for those who are using chat and even answering questions on OS, but maybe OS isn't particularly helping them be productive in their own lives as they need to be in order to be successful in life. So @nbouscal, I just want to make the distinction that my suggestions are not towards those who are already being productive on OS and in their personal lives.
Yes, I would love to weigh in. I recognize, first off, that there are a lot of difficulties involved. This is something that a lot of different sites have struggled with and have worked on. The obvious easy comparison is StackExchange. The way that they handle it is by implementing a tagging system. I would be inclined to agree with that method, though there may be others. This answers the question of how it would look - just small tags on the questions with whatever category they are in. The simple fact, though, is that you can't just categorize any given question into one narrow box. The various fields of mathematics, for example, are all interrelated. Some are better viewed as approaches, whereas others are better viewed as bodies of knowledge, whereas others are better viewed as collections of open questions. These all interact. So, how do you quantify things? I think there are a couple of different approaches that all hold merit, and that the answer is probably a combination of multiple approaches. First, I think that we can piggyback off the current system. Most secondary schools have relatively comparable course structures that are pretty rigid and tend to contain the same material. You have your standard Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus. Typical course track for a high school student regardless of where they're at, or at which age they take which course. So, for questions that fit very nicely into these categories, we can simply use these as the categories. You can allow the student to put a tag on their question, and if they choose not to, that is okay! But power users can also come along later and add tags that they think are appropriate for the question. A key idea here is that questions do not have to be tagged, they simply can be, and if they are, we can use that data. The other approach keeps in mind that we do not just have secondary school students here, so we ought to be broader. We can do a similar thing with college courses if we'd like, since many college courses are similar in content: everyone tends to have Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, and other courses. Or, we can take a different approach and allow a variety of "descriptive" tags. So, a question that pertains to matrix multiplication could be labeled as such, regardless of whether it is in the context of linear algebra or group theory, for example. This will still provide us with some data, though the data may be a little fuzzier than exact course data. I think there are a couple of key ideas here. First, don't worry about categorizing every single question. It's okay if some aren't categorized. Second, allow both the user AND power users to categorize questions. If the user isn't able to narrow it down, maybe a power user will be able to. Third, take a broad outlook, being as abstract as possible so that this approach will work in the various study groups and for the various levels of study that we have here.
Another key point that I managed somehow to not mention is, allow multiple labels. Some questions are best categorized by using two or three labels, and that ought to be okay. @Hero, I recognize you weren't trying to malign me for chatting so much. Just wanted to provide different perspectives on how the chat system is used :)
My intent is never to discourage anyone from posting, however, I wanted more input regarding the topic that I posted and things have well, sort of drifted. I know it usually happens in OS feedback, but in a way, it kind of gets off topic. But okay.
superb idea !!
I'll address the two ideas separately from my point of view: - Calendar for questions: definitely useful, not sure we'll get around to it soon, but I think various visualizations for your activity would be awesome. The calendar could be one, some other inspirations you can see in the way github visualizes coding activity (e.g. see https://github.com/lift/framework/graphs ). These all help to see how someone's activity looks in aggregate. - To-do list: no real way to get around this, this is a different product from OpenStudy. We are not trying to become a Swiss army knife. There are systems out there, termed Learning Management Systems, for managing your learning. While we may over time grow into such a thing, for now we want to continue our focus on the actual interactions around questions that have been steadily improving, in terms of what we're doing on OpenStudy proper. As to longer-term learning goals, we're thinking of ways we could do something like that, but again, we're envisioning it as something that may be integrated into OpenStudy, but is ultimately a separate product. Stay tuned on that front. Last but not least, just to clarify, one of us disagreeing with an idea is rarely enough to get rid of that idea. It *is* true that, because we are a tight-knit team, hearing from one of us that they don't think an idea is necessarily a good fit is likely to reflect the team's view. However, it is never done out of hand, and it is rarely done without prior discussion. Even when it is done without *prior* discussion, we discuss it afterwards if there's any disagreement. Most of us regularly read feedback, independently of each other, and if we disagree, we're not afraid to tell one another.
well i like the part where we can refer to the old qns from the calendar by date ,this is extremely useful as for a user like me who has asked 608 qns!!
I would like to state that this post made me aware of how horrible it is to read text without my glasses. (My eyes are apparently unable to antialias.) Thankfully, they were at hand. There is a vast amount of varying content and structure to the information presented herein. I really don't feel as though I can give a respectable amount of attention to all of it. But, I would like to propose a few questions and input my opinion on a few things. First of all, I greatly appreciate the behavior of @Hero and @cshalvey in their discussion. That was very respectful of both of you and I didn't expect that. In fact, I would like to comment on how I absolutely adore that heartfelt and respectful discussion can take place on this site. This site is a rarity in that regard. (But, then again, it is possible that I used to frequent sites which did not encourage heartfelt and respectful discussion. I don't know whether my lens is distorted or reality is as it seems. Either way, my compliments remain.) I personally am apathetic to the idea of a To-Do list. I hate to say that, since I would love to benefit from it. However, I experience the issue that I simply cannot see the point of it. This could be a personality difference of mine from others. I speculate I prefer to live in my head more than in the physical reality and, as such, I would rather have a mental To-Do list than a tangible physical To-Do list. If you could, Hero, please explain what makes this so useful. I would love to see the point of a To-Do list. Unfortunately, I currently cannot as I can do all that a To-Do list does by using my head. The calendar idea is interesting. I personally have mixed feelings. I have never had a sense of time. That is, if you asked me right now what day it was, I would have no clue. The majority of the time I have to use Google to figure out what time it is and use Wolfram Alpha to calculate distance between dates (the latter is more of a convenience). Also, another thing that might separate me from other users here is the fact that I actually don't use clocks on my operating system's configuration. My entire GUI has been customized as to completely get rid of a clock. (I have no menu bar nor dock.) I apologize if that seems tangential. But, it is directly related to why I am so mixed on this idea. I have never had a sense of date nor an idea of what month it is. Only until recently did I begin to keep more of a track of what month it is and I have a spitting guess of what day it is. So, my point is, I can't really benefit from a calendar since I have never had a good sense of time. Maybe someone here at OS could explain to me how I could change and why I should change. So, as for the calendar idea: I don't know if I could glean any use from it. I'm also not sure if it would hinder the site in any way. I don't think I could use it for anything. It could possibly hinder the site in the aspect that it encourages competition and comparison to others. However, that's human nature. We can't implement a code to fix that. So, I do not see that as too big of an issue. But, I do think it should be brought up (no one has noticed this publicly in the thread). I don't mind the calendar idea or see it as too blatantly harmful (for the moment, anyway). So, I suppose I support it. If these ideas could benefit anyone and not harm anyone, I do not see why they should not be implemented even if I am not particularly enthusiastic about them. (Sorry if my lack of enthusiasm is bringing you down, Hero. I'm just stating my opinion.)
I think that this issue is too complicated to keep as simple as @Hero would like. To implement a To-Do list on OS that includes things that are not directly related to furthering one's education would, I think, be a distraction from the goal here. We need to specify our aim as a valuable and clear one if we are to become reputable. I believe it is very important to avoid becoming a grab-bag of semi-academic questions a la Yahoo Answers. I originally found this site through MIT's Open Course Ware. As it was presented to me on their site, OS was a place where you could discuss the topics you were having difficulty with in real time, to help you along in your personal studies. This seemed to me to be geared more towards those who actually want to learn, rather than those who just want their homework done. Now it seems that the OCW related sections are dying out in favor of the more general categories, which seems to inadvertently change the goal of the site, and appeal more to people who have zero interest in learning the material. We seem to be becoming more broad in terms of the subjects that we deal with, but this opportunity for more universality comes at the cost of having less qualified responses for many questions, and more users who don't care whether or not they walk away having learned something (again, I would think it beneficial to avoid becoming a real-time Yahoo Answers). I'd just like to point out that dichotomy; if we become too universal in terms our purpose we lose our academic credibility. If we become very stringent in our standards for what qualifies as an academic topic, we will likely lose a number of users. I feel that this site must evolve drastically if it is to survive. Sometimes I think we are almost a mix of MSE+Yahoo Answers+Chat room, which I think is too disorganized. Relating to @Hero 's point, my Socratic input is that we need to strictly define the purpose of this site, and cater to those goals. If our purpose is one of academic advancement, then I think that adding a To-Do list that incorporates things other than directly academic topics would only serve to confuse the true purpose of this site, which we all seem to agree is to teach. I have very little input on the calender thing. I'd like to see it done, but all I can say is that I'm fine with letting the dev team do it when they have the time.
The To-Do list is only for those for whom it would be useful for, not for those who do not believe it would be of use to them. I'd rather hear input from those who believe it would be of use to them. The reason for this is because those who are not interested in the to-do list wouldn't use it anyway, so why bother writing an essay about something you're not interested in and it would not hinder your use of open study. I clearly explained earlier why I felt it would be necessary for open study if you carefully re-read the comments I provided above. Another reason why I would only prefer hearing from those who support the to-do list is because they would be able to provide feedback on how it would be useful for them.
With all do respect, the problem is that I don't know whether or not I support the To-Do list because I don't know what you would imagine to be on it. Granted, I may have skimmed this long post a bit too quickly to find the more subtle points that you made, but the example you gave of us giving space for users to make a To-Do list that includes things like "go for a run" and "walk the dog" I just disagree with. If you only want to hear from those who support your particular conception of the To-Do list then I don't think we are going to are going to be able to fruitfully discuss the topic. Again, if I contested with something that you explained above I'm sorry for not catching it, I didn't read this whole post with perfect scrutiny, so I may have missed some of the points that you made.
Those were merely examples of course for demonstration purposes only. I should have come up with better examples. The discussion was pretty heated at that time and I wanted to come up with something quickly.
fair enough :)
Turing, I make a lot of points above. In order to get a more complete idea, I think you should read all of my comments at the very least.
I'm trying... but the rebuttals are important too
@TuringTest, the To-Do list where the individual user would place what he or she believes is important things they need to accomplish in a given period of time and they would "check off" things that they have accomplished within that period of time. Remember this is more of an optional feature for those who would find it useful.
@Hero, I carefully read all of your responses. In them I found a lot of vagueness. I asked if you could think of some way it could help -me- as a person, not the general person. I don't think it's respectful to simply write me off as you did. Furthermore, I am particularly offended by this comment: "why bother writing an essay about something you're not interested in and it would not hinder your use of open study." You clearly were not paying attention to my remarks because I explicitly stated why. Here are the remarks: "I hate to say that, since I would love to benefit from it. " "Hero, please explain what makes this so useful. I would love to see the point of a To-Do list. " "Maybe someone here at OS could explain to me how I could change and why I should change." I also brought up a good point about the issue created by the implementation of a calendar. I believe you, like how you missed the other remarks, missed this as well. Did you even read what I wrote? In my entire essay I repeated the implicit point that all of what you've said has not convinced me and I wanted to see if you could convince me on a personal level. This is your idea, not mine. Just as one proves their own assertions, you should tell someone why your idea is worthwhile to another person. I am kind of disturbed by this remark: "I'd rather hear input from those who believe it would be of use to them." You want to hear people support you for you expressing your own ideas and you do not want to attempt to appeal to people who aren't as easily convinced by what you have to say. This is plain offensive because it implies the people who are not encouraging you are not important to you. Also, "Another reason why I would only prefer hearing from those who support the to-do list is because they would be able to provide feedback on how it would be useful for them." You are completely missing the idea of constructive criticism. That is all.
though I am inclined to agree with the above statement by @Limitless about the importance of constructive criticism (that's why I used the word "Socratic") I'd like to try to keep this conversation as cordial as possible and avoid pointing out who offended who in this conversation/debate/idea proposal
I feel like you wrote me off equally as easily because your initial comments seem to imply that you didn't support either idea. Furthermore, I stated that I already provided input on why I feel it would be useful. After that, it would be pretty much up to you to decide on how it would be useful for you. I just don't understand why someone would write an essay expressing lack of taste for a feature that has yet to be created. I'd think that maybe most of the users would at least express some level of interest in these ideas, even if at the very least, to see how it would pan out in a live OS environment. I still maintain that the to-do list is within the scope of the goals of OS, just perhaps in an in-direct way, but yet it would still be very useful in some respects.
...and having reread the conversation I can't really say that I have anything new to add that I did not state above...
I really hate to undermine my last comment, but... " I just don't understand why someone would write an essay expressing lack of taste for a feature that has yet to be created" -I think the answer to this is that we need to openly debate the idea before deciding whether or not to put in the effort of creating it. Open and free debates include people who express a lack of interest in the idea, as well as those who do take an interest. That is the basis of constructive criticism. I guess the other choice would be to create it first, then decide whether we like it later. That seems to me like building a skyscraper before deciding whether or not you should really build it. Sorry if that example seemed crude, but I didn't feel like being creative in my analogy.
I know you stated that you are still up in the air on whether or not you would use the feature, but I'm inclined to believe that you would not use the feature and for those who would not use the feature, I just don't see how they can write essays expressing their passionate distaste for a feature that would be of use to users would could benefit greatly from it. This is the reason why the voice of users that should be expressing their opinion regarding these ideas are the users who believe they could benefit greatly from the added features. I feel like I'm repeating myself, but I just don't see the usefulness in users who would not use such features commenting on it. There's no real consequence behind expressing ideas for a feature that you would not use.
I'm off to have a dinner soon. So, I would like to quickly clarify a few points (I may leave at any moment). 1. "I feel like you wrote me off equally as easily because your initial comments seem to imply that you didn't support either idea." Apathy \(\ne\) unsupportive. Apathy \(=\) neutral. You are posing a false dichotomy here. I wrote my response previously in the sense that "I don't see how this benefits me. Could you please clarify? Also, here is one issue I see." None of that is saying, "I do not support this idea." In fact, the one point I made that was about how it could be harmful was slightly dismissed in my own response. I did this in an attempt to not sound as critical. 2. "Furthermore, I stated that I already provided input on why I feel it would be useful. After that, it would be pretty much up to you to decide on how it would be useful for you." You are missing the point. I don't mean this rudely at all. I respect what you have to say. But you aren't hearing what I am saying. I'll repeat it again: You haven't convinced me. Could you do so on a personal level, given what I stated about myself and what you know about me? I think you simply do not wish to do so. If so, that is fine! Just tell me so 3. "I just don't understand why someone would write an essay expressing lack of taste for a feature that has yet to be created." I explained this almost ad nauseam. I explained it in my first response, I explained that I explained it in my first response, and now I am explaining that I explained that I explained it in my first response. You don't seem to be listening at all as you're simply repeating yourself and not replying to what I've said. In fact, the "response" to what I had to say (which I am responding to now) was simply about what you already thought and almost verbatim of what you have said before. If I leave suddenly, I will come back to this thread to respond to any replies. Please re-read what I've said and respond.
If I can interject briefly. I think that we need to be very clear as to a certain distinction that Turing has pointed out. Is this To-Do List purely for tasks within OpenStudy, or is it a general To-Do List, the likes of which are available on countless websites around the internet? If the latter, I can't support the idea, and agree with Turing that it diversifies the website in a negative way. If the former, then we run into the issues that I was discussing earlier, with regards to classifications of questions and areas of knowledge and metrics for progress, et cetera. This idea I do agree with, but it is necessarily a longer-term goal.
There are many features on this site that are available on other sites. I don't see why that is an excuse to possibly dismiss the to-do list
I'll also chime in that having people who would not use a feature is useful because it helps us understand why they would not use it, which helps us judge the feature. That said, I think we could benefit in real-time from limiting the meta-discussion and focusing more on the actual ideas. Hero, yes, there are some features here that are available on other sites, but they are all very subordinated to the specific goals of OpenStudy. For example, there are chat rooms on other sites, but the chat room here is an OpenStudy chat room, which is a fundamentally different thing. How would the To-Do list that you suggest be subordinated to the specific goals of OpenStudy?
Hey everyone, I'm glad there is still debate - my only input would be that this kind of dialogue is essential to any and every feature we are thinking about implementing. I like the genesis of your idea @Hero - and if there is support for it we will definitely then proceed to more detailed conversations about how it would/could be implemented. On the other hand, please keep in mind that with every feature we discuss, there is an implicit opportunity cost - because for every feature we implement, we are obviously *not* implementing another. So, this kind of debate on the merits of each idea is essential to the process. I for one value these kind of interactions - because I believe each of you has OpenStudy's best interests at heart - the motivations are the same, of course the vision is obviously different ;)
Limitless and Hero, I think we can both continue the discussion without belaboring the points that have been rehashed ad nauseam already.
^I'll second that
I am effectively done expressing my ideas.
I am equally done. I have no wish to talk to those who do not wish to talk to me. Thank you, however, for your honesty.
Well, I for one am open to hearing others discuss their thoughts on both the To-Do list as well as the Calendar idea. I'm especially interested in hearing who would use these features, as well as the value they see in these features. Thanks everyone
I'll go into a little more detail on why I'm a bit hesitant about this idea. To be clear before I start, I like the idea of a calendar (though I don't think it's a priority), and I like the idea of learning goals, but I think they're necessarily going to take a bit of time to implement. The idea of a simple to-do list where you can put all of your tasks has a few problems, for me. First, it is relatively disconnected from OpenStudy. If you're putting in things like walk the dog and buy milk, that doesn't have much to do with OS. This decreases the coherence of the website. Second, you had mentioned incentives, but those incentives will by necessity be a bit confusing because there's no reason to give incentives for tasks outside OS, so the to-do list will be split into OS tasks and non-OS tasks anyway, based on which ones will be eligible for incentives. Third, incentives of any kind still run into the categorization problem that I have said way more than necessary about already. Fourth, it really is recreating the wheel. Now, that's fine... but that's a lot of energy on behalf of the dev team that I don't see as being necessary. Overall, I definitely think that qualifying and quantifying learning is a great goal for OpenStudy, but I think it is a large issue that isn't adequately addressed by a To-Do List. I hope that we maintain it as a goal, and work on ways to get there. I love that you are providing ideas to that end, Hero. I simply don't quite agree that this idea is the right way to get there.
Limitless, I wasn't necessarily avoiding talking to you. I'm just done debating about these ideas. I feel like I have expressed more than enough of my thoughts regarding them.
..and your point about the tole it takes on the dev team
Yes, I agree, Hero has addressed some of those concerns. I don't know that I agree with his responses to them, though. He mentions productivity, and how a general to-do list would help with the user's overall productivity, not necessarily related to OpenStudy. While I respect the goal, I don't think that recreating the wheel and hosting it here is necessary. If anything, we could provide links to the many websites that are already out there for the purpose of boosting your productivity. I think that diversifying ourselves in this way weakens us because we already have too much on our plate as is.
@TuringTest My take would be the same, also what @shadowfiend mentioned in his reply. While it is tempting to make OpenStudy 'all things to all people' - we need to keep the focus on OpenStudy's vision of education and learning. Thus, I still argue that *any* feature we discuss implementing needs to have this vision in mind, and must enhance the value of this site to online learners. Of course, at a later date more things become possible, but for now, we must focus on features which enhance the educational value of OpenStudy. It is for this reason that we are currently working on developing features that will provide for the long-term future of OpenStudy - as @shadowfiend alluded to in his post ;)
Although I am done debating, I would like to know how my ideas would hinder the enhancement of the educational value of OS as some users seem to believe.
My main claim wouldn't be that the idea would hinder the educational value of OS. I think that it would a little bit through lack of coherency, but I wouldn't claim that as the main problem. Rather, I simply don't see the idea as doing much to further the educational value of OS, and we have a lot of other ideas/projects that would do so. So it is a question of opportunity cost.
So creating a to-do list would hinder the educational value of OS. I would think that creating comic strips would do the same. So basically, you're condensing the value of a to-do list to comic strips. There are some who have suggested that a "cooking" section be added to OS, and I haven't heard any serious objections to that. However, my ideas to improve OS receive a multitude of objections.
If a cooking section gets added to OS over a to-do list, I would clearly understand where the priorities lie.
@Hero - I'd prefer to keep this debate as civil as possible, and I think we can all agree that no one has trivialized your ideas to the level of 'comic-strips.' Also, a cooking section hasn't been added, has it? Please keep in mind that constructive debate is essential to all ideas. OpenStudy's team has experienced the same dialogue - both internally and externally. So, let's keep the conversation productive, ok?
I apologize, but I am not happy right now.
I could be wrong here but I think your idea was good that is why it was being discussed so much. Hero I'm glad you care about the site and think of ideas for it but sometimes the hard part is showing how it improves the educational value of OpenStudy. I and I bet others really appreciate this idea and your previous ideas. A to-do list might be cool. But hey! Isn't OpenStudy already doing something like this? Like I mean the "goal and get paid" thing? I mean it is kinda similar, right? Honestly, I didn't read everything because there is so much to read here.
I mean...like the "goal and get paid thing" is not like a "calender thingy" but it is a "to do thingy". What I mean by "calender thingy" is that ummm... it is a goal for each day while the "goal and get paid thing" is something you are working towards without the day-to-day small goals. Am I understanding things right? I do think having setting small goals each day to reach that big goal could be effective in the journey of reaching that goal. So maybe the calender/to-do list thingy could be an awesome thingy. Sometimes you need to remember what you need to do each day in order to achieve bigger goals, you know to get the money at then end :).
Most of the discussion involved people expressing why it would NOT be of use for OS. So the idea was only good enough for that apparently
hey what the heck would be wrong with a cooking section? probably not necessary because they are so many good (and bad) recipes on line, but given the number of countries represented here, i think a cooking section could be very informative.
I agree with Satellite :3 lol you should see my new post in feedback c;
Well for Hero and Colm. as Limitless said, it was nice to see a dicussion being handled respectively. (It was a little tense though) ;) I like the calendar idea of being able to look at what you did on a particular day. To the rest of you. You are all awesome, especially if you read everything posted. (I did!) c: