Week 1 (5/29 - 5/31)
This has been the first week of research. It's been pretty straight-forward learning some of the ins-and-outs of the REU program as well as LookingGlass IDE and Community.
Tuesday morning consisted of orientation, meeting other REU students, pizza, and an informal campus tour. That afternoon, we (Genevieve, Mary, Patrick, Reilly, Shannon, and myself) joined the rest of the LG staff Professor Kelleher, Kyle, Jordana, Matt, and Dennis. We began to install all the necessary programs and files on to our laptops for the summer and each built then shared our own world through LookingGlass (Mine is right here: http://lookingglass.wustl.edu/worlds/102).
Wednesday continued much of the same things as Tuesday. I finished up my To-Do Lists by reading the Developer Guides for LookingGlass and Community. After lunch at Tuvolo (Italian place; it was delicious), I also finished up Community set-up since the network was having problems yesterday.
We each selected and were assigned our "starter projects" to get started on. Each of them focusing on different features of LookingGlass that we would like to incorporate into the final design. Each project made me think of building a video game where the character essentially levels up after learning skills and there are progress bars and build trees. The character would earn badges by completing missions or challenges. I don't know how accurate this analogy is, but It certainly makes the project even more exciting than before.
I will be working on creating a history of the remix process. This involves tracking the specific lines of code that are traveling from animation to animation across differnet worlds and users. It seems like an interesting problem where I will be marking each node in the abstract syntax tree where the our code is being stored to note what changes have been made. I was thinking this could eventually be turned into a build tree of some sort where users could track how their code hass been and where it has gone. For example if someone remixes coke can being shaken into a body being shaken. Then someone else remixes the shaking body into a plate of jello wiggling. If successful, the end goal would allow the users to see which lines of code have traveled through from the coke to jello. Also, if someone uses the code from shaking body to make an earthquake, the feature would show both the earthquake and the jello as branches off of the shaking body.
Thursday, I began to work on my project by planning what kind of information should be stored at each of the abstract syntax tree (AST) nodes. We need to know what information needs to be marked in order to pass along information during remixes. This mainly consists of the original user and world and the current user and world that is doing the remixing. However, for the purposes of understanding how users learn from remixing, we also intend on including information on how much code is written by the current user or by the original user or by DINAH. If theinformation is remixed, then we would also need to check if the current user has modified the remixed code. Also the amount of assistance offered by LookingGlass would also have to be noted.
From here we encountered two main questions: 1) How do we account for the users who create worlds without having logged in? and 2) How should we deliniate between code written by the users or code inserted by LookingGlass or DINAH? There are notes on the subject of which properties to include in the design as well as some possible solutions to these questions on SparkleShare(CodeGeneration.docx). The properties would mainly include the different users as well as their respective worlds, but also the amount off computer assistance was given on writing a particular piece of code. The other terms would mainly be Boolean terms to describe whether or not the code had bee remixed or if the remixed code has been modified and so on and so forth. I look forward to discussing ideas with people tomorrow.
We also had a fantastic BBQ dinner at Professor Kelleher's apartment. Dennis was quite the grill master, and the corn was especially delicious. The guacamole and salsa were fantastic, as well as the chocolate-covered strawberries. Playing the picture version of telephone and petting the dog Sally were both a lot of fun too!