The second task for the Teaching webcraft course is about making up profiles for people we're hoping to help. The couple of biographies that follow do not cover it all, but should still be a fair sample :-)
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Jessie is a high school student, and although she thinks about it often, what she wants to do after her final year still very much depends on what catches her interest the most any given week. She navigates the web effortlessly, and hangs out online in all the social networks her friends are into. She never really considered programming as something she could learn, but when presented with the opportunity to join an intro course she thinks maybe there she'll learn enough code to be able to personalise her blog, and make it look unique and more interactive.
This course will teach Jessie how to create her first program, and that programming is more similar to puzzle solving than inputting number in Excel to do sums like in the ICT class. Perhaps something worth exploring further...
Jon is working hard at his PhD thesis in social sciences. He has a lot of statistics to parse and go through every day, results of experiments to reproduce before building on them and so on. He has a dozen of Excel spreadsheets set up with insane macros that save him a lot of time, but still wastes many hours manually inputting data taken from websites or articles. He's hoping learning to program will enable him to spend less time on drudge work and more time exploring the interesting questions.
This course will teach Jon how to automate more of his experimental work, and in the process make him realise there are other areas where some scripting would make writing his dissertation more efficient.
Paula doesn't consider herself a power user, but she knows the keyboard shortcuts for every application she uses, is familiar with the file system layout of her computer (and learnt what a file system is) thanks to a couple of misadventures clicking on interesting looking icons, and is known to her friends and colleagues as the go-to person whenever a computer misbehaves. Though she doesn't plan on making a career out of it, she is curious to gain an understanding of what's under the hood of all these applications she uses.
This course will teach Paula the fundamental steps and "bricks" that every program is made of, and help her understand why bugs happen and what makes them difficult to eradicate. Maybe putting together a short script to randomly assign secret Santas for the next Christ Kindle wouldn't be too hard, though...