First draft of a course module ready for you to review...
I've taken some time the past few days to really think about how best to present the material for the Education System. If you look over all the other content on the Rheingold Heavy site, every article is narrowly topic based and is more or less free-flowing - there's a loose order to it, but most of that is written for the fun of talking about different aspects of electronics, rather than trying to move diligently from one subject to another... I'm not trying to lay any foundations.
I want the content for the Education System to be a more structured than that, so I worked through some drafts for content templates I thought would help to enable that structure. What I've settled on is this:
- Highlight the objectives for the module at the very top
- Provide you with the learning path that will prepare you for that module.
- A link to the schematic that covers the hardware we'll be working with.
- Show you how to set up any hardware necessary for that module.
- Actual module content.
Because a common terminology and nomenclature is important when talking about this stuff, any keywords I want to emphasize from the objectives will be set in all caps and in bold. Further, any chunks of data presented in binary or hexadecimal will be set in a fixed size font to help it stand out. I'm using the Crayon Code plugin for Wordpress, so that when it comes time to go over actual programming, it will be formatted and colored in exactly the same way it looks in your Arduino IDE.
Philosophically, I think it's important that I don't blast you with all the material, problems and answers, but present you with challenges to solve on your own. It's as close as I think I can reasonably get to homework for this thing :) If you're lucky, you'll screw something up and have to determine WHY it isn't working, and I don't want to prevent that opportunity.
What I've settled on to achieve this, is the use of invisitext! After covering the fundamental way of doing something, I'll try to present a more advanced problem to be solved using the tools presented. You can work on your own to come up with the solution, and when you're ready to check it, you can hover your mouse over a black box and see the solution. I'm not sure how this will work with code, it might need to be a bit more elaborate than this when we get that far, but I hope you understand the gist of what I'm getting at.
Please check out this link for the first Education System module, covering the basics of the Clock, Data and Latch signals of a shift register...
I really want to encourage you to either send me messages, leave comments or shoot me an email with your thoughts on that link. Is there too little / too much information for one module? Does the flow make sense? Do you understand it? Do the analogies help explain the topics? More graphics? Less graphics? Sock puppet theater? This is where the collaboration between you as the content consumer and me as the content creator will have the most impact on the value you derive from this project, and I'm very excited to be at this point!
In design update news, I've already gone through the preliminary parts list with Small Batch Assembly, and we're close to settling on the final format of what I will provide and what he will already have on reels. He also mentioned that there is an IPC certified technician down the hall from him that will do the through-hole work at an exceptionally reasonable cost! This is huge, because I'd planned on soldering all the headers myself, but I'm willing to trade the cost of that against the dramatic increase in time I'll have to focus on creating content. The final quotes for assembly should arrive next week, and I'm really eager to go forward with that.
The funding goal still sits there so very close! We've been hovering at 92-93% for the last few days, and as some backers have moved out, others have moved in and offset each other. Only a little bit more remains to cross the $6000 mark and I expect that to happen in the next few days. Any suggestions you have on how to move this along are always welcome!
Have a good weekend! I'm going to spend it incorporating any content and structure feedback into that article and then drafting more modules.