Archive for December, 2012

A Reflection on a Textbook Section

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. ~ Christopher Columbus

For the final blog post, we are asked to reflect on the experience of writing a textbook section. The idea of this course was to give students a quick look into both the history and various applications of computer science. All of the sections  for the class were split up into a number of teams to do research for a topic. My team, Group D, focused on algorithms.

Research for the topic was quite easy to obtain, thanks to the number of search engines and resources that the internet can provide. The group was quite efficient at finding relevant material from a variety of mediums: research papers, general knowledge texts (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc…), and visual examples either in the form of games, pictures, and even movies discussing algorithms as a whole. We looked into the various types of sorting methods and along with the notes presented in the discussion for that day,  were able to get a good feel for what an algorithm did for the discipline.

Even with the research we obtained composing the section was a new challenge altogether. Originally we had missed the established due date for when our part of the section needed to be turned in. This led to a quick creation of a placeholder piece with the general idea of what we wanted the textbook section to look like. Of course, this placeholder wasn’t quite the quality I would have liked. The placeholder had around one hundred and thirty-five words that just basically blasted the reader with a quick look at what an algorithm was. Not very many of the sections were written in detail and overall the thing was a mess.

I was not surprised with the grade we received for the work as I quickly communicated the deadline for the rewrite to my fellow group mates. Constructing the rewrite was one daunting task but the placeholder was already the foundation that I wanted to expand upon. After reviewing sections that other groups did, I got a general feel for what to expand on and began to diligently work on the final piece. Within that period of time for the rewrite, I was able to get together with my group and get feedback on what to expand. Kameron, for example, did a great job on explaining an algorithm that he had worked with previously.

In the end, the completed section was complete makeover of the placeholder expanding and creating new sections to describe algorithms. I found the task quite daunting at first,  as I was started to understand the overall composition of a textbook section. When completing the project I was left with a sense of pride of what our group had contributed and as set piece of what to expect in the future.


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