A new style of teaching?

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Author(s) Doug White and anonymous edits



  • EduMod consists of wiki-based instructional pages for different analytic or data analysis problems. An EduMod page has background and operating instructions. The operating commands (OCs) can be cut and pasted into a software command page like those of R (freeware), MatLab, or Spss. The OCs may contain links to a data file url that is read from the web, or from the user's directory if the data is not already contained in the OC. The OCs may install or call installed program packages, load programs read from the web, or from the user's directory if the source commands are not already contained in the OCs.
The beauty of this is that a working demonstration is provided after which either (a) the data line can be changed or (b) elements of the program of its parameters may be changed or (c) both. These are called Mods or modifications, and the process is called Modding.
As the learner is preparing a new operation, they are is asked to add a "go to" line to the wiki page to link to a new Mod page with the name provided, to create that page, and to copy to the empty Mod page the original exemplar, and then Mod the page by altering it, testing it, and explaining what was done, what worked, or what did not work and why.
This approach leaves a cumulative series of Mods. For examples see Cohesive blocking or Subgraph centrality.

EduMod authorship

EduMod is the product of an open-access wiki community of scholars and scientists run by UCI's InterSci wiki. All materials on the InterSci wiki are covered by InterSciWiki:Copyrights under the Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License. This includes the following:


Material licensed under the current version of the license can be used for any purpose, as long as the use meets certain conditions.

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Current Courses

Starting in the Complexity summer school of 2007 and continuing through my (Doug White 17:52, 22 September 2007 (PDT), sysop) four classes (2 graduate and 2 undergrad) for 2007-2008

Seminars: Network Theory and Social Complexity; Social Networks; Anthropological Models and Methods 2008 (Fundamentals of Research)

Courses: Human Sciences and Complexity; Networks and Complexity; Human Social Complexity and World Cultures, Social Networks

(continued...Doug White 07:33, 3 October 2007 (PDT))


Mosteller suggests feedback on the "Muddiest point in the Lecture"

Evolution in wiki coursework

Doug White: I think I have evolved an effective new means of teaching that anyone is welcome to use given a wiki. You can't do this with Wikipedia, Citizendium, Scholarpedia or its Encyclopedia of Dynamical Systems, the NECSI Complex Systems Wiki, or (not yet anyway) UCLA Human Complex Systems wiki, but you can do this here at the http://intersci.ss.uci.edu/wiki/ and possibly Wikiversity or any other wiki that allows teachers to organize seminar and course sites.

I usually teach my classes in a computer lab or a seminar room (or any space with privacy and) with wireless access where students bring their laptop. My wiki pages have links to readings in *.pdf and I put lecture or discussion text up with the main graphics (and appropriate credits) I want to use. These are easy for me to upload for students, and they can do the same before, during, or after class (altho during may be a bit distracting for them in terms of missing class interaction). Each of my pages has headings that are clickable (just put ==double bars== to make auto-indexed headings, so we can all get quickly to the same page. If I have a projector I can expand text easily so it is readable, and without a projector each student can do that independently. Now, each indexed ==section== has its own edit button so I can change the text in the middle of the discussion, and so can any of the students, provided that we agree for one person to close their edits before another begins their (otherwise we risk frustration in "lost edits."). Alternately, a student can prepare text off-line and then ask for time to insert it, which doesnt take longer than 10 seconds, amazingly. If everyone agrees to use the Mozilla Firefox browser we will all have automatic spellcheck.

Graphics can be clicked to expose the updated original (and its copyrights or copyshare, a good practice for all) and then clicked again to enlarge the image, which can be very useful for discussion and readability of images.

Students can not only change my pages (but I can backtrack to undo edits if I want), and they can also create new pages of their own: pages for their projects, their assignments, suggestions, critiques, and all these are easily cross-referenced to another page [[using its title as the hyperlink]]

What is really nice is that everyone can be logged in (we insist on this) under their own name (but also under a pseudonym if they insist on anonymity in some ccommunications) and the login automatically creates a "User:Your Name" page that can be used semiprivately (you may also have a site that is public under "Your Name" which you or others can create and edit) to organize your bookmarks and shortcuts, projects, and all sorts of things (tho others CAN see it if they know a user-name. Some pages can get "lost" if there are no links to them, but everyone can see for themselves the historical series of edits.

Special features

It is possible to install web-log routines on the server that will make web-hit counts that may be useful in seeing what is popular or being much-edited, and also to install web-log routines that will record number of downloads (PDFs, zip files, data files, program software, etc). We are trying to do that at this wiki.

One thing I have done alot of is to place on-site links to downloadable software packages and on-wiki cut-and-paste commands to get students started, educated, and practices with software, and of course to post downloadable datasets. As a user you can check the history of changes to the site is by people you trust not to post malignant files, but if there are problems of those sort the sysop can be asked to "freeze" a verified site and post its authenticity.

If you have questions or suggestions

Please post them here! Or use the "talk" function to post to me directly --(initial page by Doug White) 17:24, 22 September 2007 (PDT)

(and note that typing four tildes, which I just did, ~~~~ automatically generates not only your name (signature) but the date and time.

"A new style of teaching" is an interesting idea, and we would like to experiment with it at the Open University for Complex Systems. The OUCS is an independent foundation based in Paris with the mission of creating free web-based education in complex systems. It is our belief that across Europe and worldwide thousands or even millions of people will need education in the new science of complex systems, since this new science will provide entirely new ways of managing social systems at every scale, from small companies and local government to international relations and the world trade system. The new scientific principles will be embedded in new generations of computer systems, and it will be necessary for people to have minimum level of education to function successfully. Jeff Johnson 03:52, 23 September 2007 (PDT)

How I use my User:page

Check out User:Douglas R. White, which is organized to help me find things quickly and help others find out about me in a more workaday way rather than my formal personal site at User:Douglas R. White (with links to similar pages at other wiki sites, as you can see I suffer this month from wikimania, which will soon pass. On this wiki you are encouraged to organize your wiki pages any way you like just so you stay with the broad norms of the community.

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