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Collaborative project to make flashcards for the online Stanford classes of fall 2011
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README

README

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* Collaborative flashcards for the online Stanford classes of fall 2011 *
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=== Description
The aim of this project is to create a collaborative set of flashcards decks for the online Stanford classes.

We believe that the community effort combined with the technologies offered by nowadays automatic flashcards management softwares can produce a quasi-personalized review and exercises training program for each student.

This should result in a far higher long-term retention of the knowledge, a better recalling as well as a better induction (propagation of the intuition behind a concept).

=== Technical choices
We chose to use Anki as a the software framework for this project because Anki:
- is opensource
- supports all the major OSes (Windows, Linux, MacOSX)
- supports embedded medias (images, sounds, etc..)
- supports Latex equations
- has a desktop, web and mobile versions and synchronization of your decks and progress between all these mediums
- supports the public sharing of the decks
- has an active development

Unfortunately, Anki does not yet supports the collaborative sharing of decks, so we chose to use a revision control system as the medium for the collaborative process, more specifically Git and Github, since we think appropriate to use the distributed "fork+push request" model and easy forking and merging facilities that Github offers us.

=== Users: How to download and use the flashcards

1- Download Anki: http://ankisrs.net/

2- Download the latest version of the decks at:
https://github.com/lrq3000/online-stanford-flashcards-2011/zipball/master
OR download them directly from Anki's premade decks downloader (click on the Download button on the main page, and search for Stanford Online Class 2011).

3- Enjoy!

=== Users: How to update a deck
Unfortunately, this process is quite a bit complicated as of now. Anki plans to fully support Study Groups in the next major release with synchronized decks, but for now we have to be on our own.

The packages on the Anki premade decks repository will regularly be maintained up to date, so you can just redownload them to get the latest version.

The problem is that if you already have an older version of the decks, they won't be updated: the updated version will sit along the older versions.

This leaves you with two choices:
- Either delete the old decks each time you update, but you will lose your review progress
- Keep each decks versions and use Selective study, using "weekx" tag, to study online updated materials for the week

We will keep you updated if we find another way around.

=== Developer: How to contribute

1- Follow the instructions in the chapter "How to download and use the flashcards"

2- Add your own questions (and even templates if you want), see Anki's wiki: http://ankisrs.net/docs/manual.html#_the_basics
or the official video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0dI2VyLDWw&feature=PlayList&p=4221D2E6B440D79B&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1

3- Create an account on Github.com: https://github.com/signup/free

4- Fork the decks: Go to https://github.com/lrq3000/online-stanford-flashcards-2011 and click on Fork

5- Install Git on your computer (for Windows I advise TortoiseGit or msysgit [as the last resort, TortoiseGit is far better and more stable currently than msysgit]).
Some tutorials for Git:
http://nathanj.github.com/gitguide/tour.html
http://blog.xkoder.com/2008/08/13/git-tutorial-starting-with-git-using-just-10-commands/

6- Clone your forked repository on your computer using Git

7- Export as a "compressed anki packet" each of your decks (so that images are contained in the archive)

8- Unzip your compressed anki packets and copy the contained files into your local clone of the git repository (done at step 6)

9- Git commit and push (and please sign your commits!)

10- Redo all the previous steps whenever you update your deck(s)

11- Pull request when you are glad with your commits, this will ask the main repository to merge your commits. In summary, this will permit everyone to benefit from your changes.

12- Go take a beer, you deserve it.

=== Guidelines for contribution
If you want to contribute, please follow these guidelines for making a good question and answer:
- short
- no enumeration or very short
- good tags
- NO assignement or homework answer (quizz is ok)
- please tag each question with the corresponding week (eg: week3 for the third week's material)
- no multiple choices questions, prefer open questions (to force active recall)
- avoid external material (except for images or definitions if they are related to the material learned in class, but generally prefer to include the material from the classes directly, which can be rephrased as you like)

More guidelines:
http://ankisrs.net/docs/TheTimerAndShortQuestions.html
http://www.supermemo.com/articles/20rules.htm

Note: these guidelines aren't engraved in stone, if you find that a material should be included but it cannot be broke down into a short answer, then you should still include it. Just try to follow the guidelines as often as possible, but bending the rules once or twice should not be alarming.

=== Publications
This project is based on the latest findings in the education and pedagogical field, more specifically:
- Spaced learning
- Test-enhanced learning

You can find more informations on the following links:
http://ctlt.ubc.ca/about-isotl/resources-archives/the-cognitive-science-of-learning-enhancement-optimizing-long-term-retention/
http://innovationunit.org/sites/default/files/Spaced%20Learning%20toolkit.pdf
http://www.monkseaton.org.uk/spaced/Pages/default.aspx

Some other interesting findings in the field:

- Using gestures can help a lot the learning process: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110105121125.htm
- Sleeping is utterly important to memorize, and can be used to categorize your thoughts for you:
http://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2010/research/sleep-collecting-thoughts/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101113165441.htm
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