Most of what I want to say has already been covered by Daniel, Jamie and
Perry while I was enjoying a weekend at the beach, but I'll sum up
anyway and address a few other comments that came up further down the
On Sun, 2004-02-15 at 00:01, Mark Grimshaw wrote:
It's unclear from your email whether this is just
for CS students or the
wider university population at large. I'm assuming the latter. If it's the
former then don't bother reading on and apologies for wasting your
The seminars are heavily focused on teaching 2nd (and 1st) year CompSci
students the very basics of what they need to know to operate in the lab
environment. Other people are most welcome to attend, including students
from other parts of the University, and other WLUG members who want to
beef up their linux knowledge.
What is the aim of it all? It seems to me you wish to
turn 1st. and 2nd. year students onto
Linux and suggest that there are other operating systems other than
Mac and Windows - dare I say even to convert some of those students.
The primary aim as Daniel said is to give students the knowledge of the
tools that are available to stop them from having to repeat mundane
tasks over and over again. I think a lot of the "geek" image comes from
people expecting linux and other unix like OSes to be Windows. The fact
is they are not, they come from quite a different model of operation and
getting students to recognise that is a secondary aim. Hand in Hand with
that is the fact that things will be done in different ways in linux
(ie. using the command line, rather than a GUI for managing files).
Perhaps we should state that we are not directly trying to convert
people to linux through these seminars, our primary goal is to enable
students to survive in the labs. If through that they come to see linux
as a better operating system for their daily tasks then hopefully we
will have exposed them to WLUG where they can find many more resources
to help them move to linux.
I'm a tertiary level lecturer of over a decade
(including at present
Waikato University) and most of that teaching has involved the use of
computers (audio, video, web applications mainly and some Perl-
scripting etc.) Assuming that the seminars are aimed at students not
just from the CS Dept. (where one can safely assume they know one
end of a mouse from another - do they?), I think the ordering of your
seminars is back to front.
I've also had this comment (ordering of the seminars) made to me off
list as well. I guess on reflection it does make sense to start with the
"basics" (Mozilla / OpenOffice, etc) before we get down to the really
useful (but more complex) things like bash and process control.
Do you think the following order would be more appropriate?
1. Intro to Linux / GNU / OSS
6. Summary / Q&A
On the topic of installfests, We (the committee) have been actively
discussing organising one for quite a while now, and it is on my list of
things to start planning for in the next week. I wanted to get the bulk
of the organisation for the Intro to Linux Seminars out of the way
before I started on something else. But while people are talking about
it I guess it's worth sharing my current thoughts.
1) We will hold the installfest seperately to a regular WLUG meeting,
most probably on a Saturday, simply because it gives us much more time
and hence more capacity for installing / troubleshooting peoples
2) It will be held after the Intro to Linux Seminars and after the Intro
to Linux March Meeting. So probably early April sometime. Perhaps the
3) We should standardise on a distribution to install on peoples
machines. Dangerous territory here, it's not worth starting a distro war
over, but I think having a standard platform for new users is an
excellent idea, then when they have a problem we can know how their
system is meant to be configured and make much better guesses as to how
to fix it. Besides the standardisation we also want to make sure that
it's something pretty like XD2 or Fedora.
Obviously we still need to discuss a lot of this and work out a lot more
details, but we do have ideas in planning.
Phew, that will do for tonight.
GSM : 021 611 544