[Haskell] on starting Haskell-Edu,
a new education-related Haskell-related mailing list
Benjamin L. Russell
dekudekuplex at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 1 07:37:00 EDT 2008
I am interested in starting a new mailing list on Haskell.org, aimed mainly at liberal arts teachers and elementary-level learners of Haskell, called "Haskell-Edu: The Haskell Educational Mailing List." This new mailing list would be guided by the principle that Haskell is useful not just in research, but also in teaching programming as part of a liberal arts education, on a par with Scheme. When I suggested the idea of this mailing list to Simon Marlow, the Haskell.org mailing list administrator, he suggested that I post this idea on The Haskell Mailing List, so I am posting it here to ask for feedback.
The main purposes of this new (proposed) mailing list would be as follows:
1) To provide a primarily non-research-oriented discussion forum to serve the needs of users wishing to focus on the uses of Haskell in education, such as in high school and in introductory computer science college courses, as opposed to in research.
2) To provide a primarily non-research-oriented discussion forum to serve the needs of non-computer-science students of Haskell who wish to focus on Haskell as a language for learning programming as part of a well-rounded a liberal arts education, as opposed to an engineering/mathematics/science-oriented education.
Currently, there are two main Haskell mailing lists:
a) The Haskell Mailing List, currently used mainly for announcements and for non-beginner discussions
b) The Haskell-Cafe, currently ostensibly used for everything else, but in fact used primarily for serious academic computer-science research-oriented discussion of the language Haskell.
Neither mailing list addresses Haskell as a tool for teaching functional programming as part of a liberal arts education, and while The Haskell Cafe is ostensibly responsible for addressing beginner questions, I have witnessed several instances in which new users who were not familiar with the academic culture of The Haskell Cafe have been frowned upon for either posting messages that did not assume enough mathematical background, or for posting messages that were written in a tongue-in-cheek style, and that therefore did not fit into the serious tone of the mailing list.
(For example, a few months ago, one poster received a private e-mail message from another poster asking the former not to "pollute" The Haskell-Cafe Mailing List for assuming that screen pixel resolution was somehow related to the precision of an algorithm that picked points randomly from a square in approximating pi. Avoiding this question required the knowledge that screen resolution could be considered independently from the precision of the algorithm itself, but while this point may be elementary to mathematicians and researchers, the poster was not familiar enough with the issue to grasp this immediately, and received the above-mentioned response.)
This new mailing list is intended to cover both the issue of teaching Haskell as part of a liberal arts curriculum, and of answering beginner questions about Haskell from students who may not have a sophisticated mathematics background. The primary audience of this new mailing list would be educators and students in a liberal arts curriculum who are interested in studying Haskell for studying functional programming. Currently, the language Scheme is often used in this context (even though Scheme is not a true functional programming language), but Haskell has recently been gaining ground rapidly as a programming language in industry as well, and many students of Haskell may either not have a computer science background, or may not have a sophisticated mathematical background. Posts from such users may tend to irritate serious researchers, who are impatient and hard-pressed for time to find valuable information to aid their research, but may be welcome
in a more education-focused context.
It would seem that creating a new mailing list, Haskell-Edu, focusing on using Haskell in teaching programming in a liberal arts context, and fielding questions from students in that context, would help increase the scope of Haskell users, and help spread knowledge about Haskell to potential future users in industry. Teachers in a liberal arts curriculum could discuss teaching Haskell in a non-research context, and students of Haskell with a liberal arts-related background would be able to ask elementary questions to educators willing to discuss such questions, without being expected to have a sophisticated mathematical or computer science background.
-- Benjamin L. Russell
--- On Sat, 6/28/08, Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com> wrote:
> From: Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: on starting a new Haskell-related mailing list
> To: "Benjamin L. Russell" <dekudekuplex at yahoo.com>
> Cc: "John Peterson" <jpeterson at western.edu>
> Date: Saturday, June 28, 2008, 4:20 AM
> Hi Benjamin,
> Normally we create new mailing lists when the new list has
> a narrow
> focus and covers a clearly unoccupied niche. In this case
> proposing a list that is very broad, and so I think it
> needs discussion
> amongst the community before we create the list, so that we
> can keep a
> consistent strategy.
> That's not to say that I disagree with your proposal.
> But it doesn't
> seem immediately clear what the focus would be, and why
> shouldn't serve the purpose. One thing that isn't
> clear is whether the
> list you're proposing is for people interested in
> *teaching* Haskell (in
> which case I'd say it's a great idea), or people
> *learning* Haskell (in
> which case I'd consider carefully whether haskell-cafe
> shoudn't be
> serving that need). That's something you need to
> clarify when proposing
> this list to the community.
> So I suggest you send this proposal out to
> haskell at haskell.org in the
> first instance, and see what response you get. Discussion
> should move
> to haskell-cafe quickly.
> Benjamin L. Russell wrote:
> > Greetings,
> > John Peterson suggested that I send you an e-mail
> message requesting you to perform set-up of a new
> Haskell-related mailing list that I plan to
> moderate/administrate, since he said that you are the
> administrator of the mailing lists on Haskell.org.
> > My name is Benjamin L. Russell, and I am interested in
> starting a new mailing list on Haskell, which I plan to call
> Haskell-Edu, specifically devoted to non-research
> beginner-level educational matters, guided by the
> philosophy that Haskell should be more accessible to
> non-computer science major students.
> > This topic is not covered by any of the other mailing
> lists. I have regularly read both Haskell and Haskell-Cafe
> for the past six months or so, but the former is devoted to
> announcements, and the latter de facto to research matters.
> Also, the general tone of Haskell-Cafe is overly academic
> and research-oriented, and I feel that this creates an
> unnecessary learning curve for non-computer science majors
> interested in learning Haskell.
> > Since John Peterson recommended that I request you to
> set-up the mailing list on Haskell.org, could you please
> set it whenever you have free time, as follows:
> > Name of Mailing List: Haskell-Edu
> > E-mail Address: haskell-edu at haskell.org
> > Description: The Haskell-Edu Mailing List:
> Discussion About Non-research Issues on Haskell in
> > Could you please advise me on what I need to do to
> start this mailing list? Should I host it on haskell.org,
> or just start it by myself using a non-Haskell.org mailing
> list service? Also, how should I have it listed in the
> "www.haskell.org Mailing Lists"
> (http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo) page for the
> benefit of other members of the Haskell community?
> > Thank you very much for your time and cooperation.
> > Sincerely yours,
> > Benjamin L. Russell
> > --- On Fri, 6/27/08, John Peterson
> <jpeterson at western.edu> wrote:
> >> From: John Peterson <jpeterson at western.edu>
> >> Subject: RE: on starting a new Haskell-related
> mailing list
> >> To: "Benjamin L. Russell"
> <dekudekuplex at yahoo.com>
> >> Date: Friday, June 27, 2008, 12:05 AM
> >> Hi Benjamin,
> >> There's no problem starting a new mailing
> list. Simon
> >> Marlow is the administrator of our lists - if you
> drop him
> >> and email he'll do the setup for Haskell.org.
> Once the
> >> list is going, you can go into the wiki and add it
> to the
> >> appropriate pages.
> >> We've had a bunch of these special interest
> lists and
> >> most of them go dead after a few months but you
> never know
> >> ...
> >> John
> > --- On Thu, 6/26/08, Benjamin L. Russell
> <dekudekuplex at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >> From: Benjamin L. Russell
> <dekudekuplex at yahoo.com>
> >> Subject: on starting a new Haskell-related mailing
> >> To: "John Peterson"
> <jpeterson at western.edu>
> >> Date: Thursday, June 26, 2008, 4:37 PM
> >> Greetings,
> >> My name is Benjamin L. Russell, and I am
> interested in
> >> starting a new mailing list on Haskell, which I
> plan to
> >> call Haskell-Edu, specifically devoted to
> >> beginner-level educational matters, guided by the
> >> philosophy that Haskell should be more accessible
> >> non-computer science major students. (This
> message is
> >> being addressed to you because I had already sent
> >> portion below twice to other administrators at
> >> first to mailman-owner at haskell.org, and then to
> >> simonmarhaskell at gmail.com, but had not received a
> >> on either occasion.)
> >> This topic is not covered by any of the other
> >> lists. I have regularly read both Haskell and
> >> for the past six months or so, but the former is
> devoted to
> >> announcements, and the latter de facto to research
> >> Also, the general tone of Haskell-Cafe is overly
> >> and research-oriented, and I feel that this
> creates an
> >> unnecessary learning curve for non-computer
> science majors
> >> interested in learning Haskell.
> >> Could you please advise me on what I need to do to
> >> this mailing list? Should I host it on
> haskell.org, or
> >> just start it by myself using a non-Haskell.org
> >> list service? Also, how should I have it listed
> in the
> >> "www.haskell.org Mailing Lists"
> >> (http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo) page for
> >> benefit of other members of the Haskell community?
> >> Thank you very much for your time and cooperation.
> >> Sincerely yours,
> >> Benjamin L. Russell
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