Bachelor Thesis Log 14

You are reading an older blog post. Please be aware that the information contained in it may be technologically outdated. This text may not necessarily reflect my current opinions or capabilities.

This is an English translation of a blog post that was originally published in German.

October 5th, 2010

A new Tuesday, a new weekly report. Welcome back! Today it's primarily about my colloquium talk yesterday, but there's also a short general update.

Triple Colloquium

Yesterday, October 4 at 5:30 PM, I gave my colloquium lecture in D-220. The date came up because besides me two bachelor students wanted to finish their presentations (or were required due to deadlines), who were also supervised by Axel Schmolitzky and Horst Oberquelle. I found these two talks on agile methods vs. software quality and consuming/producing in BlueJ quite interesting and worthwhile – actually a pity that in the end not so many visitors were present. Anyway, I was the last one presenting that afternoon. Each of us was supposed to present for about 30 minutes and answer questions and engage in discussion for 15 minutes, which I think we all did quite well.

My presentation went well. I've gotten pretty good at estimating how much content I can manage in a certain time frame. I had made a few time markings on my printed set of slides, but in the heat of the moment I completely ignored them. I was told afterwards that I had talked for a bit longer than half an hour, probably around 35 minutes. I can live with that and can confirm nobody fell asleep.

So now I am waiting for the grade of the presentation. Axel has already let me know that my presentation was probably quite satisfactory from the examiner's point of view. Presumably he and Horst Oberquelle will fill out the protocol sheet some time these days and hand it in, so that the partial grade will eventually appear in our universally appreciated campus management system.

By the way, those who missed the lecture will get a second chance. I will probably give it one more time on a slightly larger scale in one of the first weeks of lectures in the SWT Oberseminar (on Tuesdays at 4 PM). As soon as there is a date, I will of course announce it here.

Purpose of a Definition

During the talk, a question from the audience drew my attention to an interesting discrepancy that I would like to share with you: During the brainstorming, choreography was declared important but not indispensable. Yet it shows up in my updated definition and is mentioned there as part of the documentation of a teachlet. What explains this contradiction? At first glance, it seems that either the categorization of the term or the definition must be flawed. However, there is a reasonable and, I hope, understandable explanation for this.

The categorization of the term results from an exclusively pragmatic, reductionist and result-oriented view of the importance of the aspects. In this sense, we have evaluated the choreography as not indispensable, since it is perfectly possible to perform a teachlet without having planned a precise choreography. It is certainly not recommended and it brings some difficulties, for example, the total duration will be impossible to estimate and in the worst case it will far exceed the targeted time slot. But: it is possible. You can leave out the planned-out choreography and you still have a teachlet. That is one perspective.

Although the definition is assembled from the central terms, it has a deeper purpose: the definition is what should illuminate the concept to a teachlet newcomer. It is meant to give someone who knows nothing about the subject a purposeful, comprehensive, and at the same time concise impression of what a teachlet is. In this sense, it has a normative function. First and foremost, it should clearly show what a teachlet should look like – and only secondarily what it can get away with in order to be called a teachlet. That is the other perspective.

Black Forest Cake

Let's imagine a Black Forest Cake. Delicious! In addition to layers, cream, cherries and chocolate dough, a cake like this, at least in my eyes, must also have chocolate shavings on top, which are so much fun to bite into. What do I do if I want to make a Black Forest cake and don't have chocolate shavings? The supermarkets are closed and there's no way to organize any more? Sure, I'll just make my cake without chocolate shavings for once. Maybe I'll use the cheap chocolate sprinkles instead. No one will seriously argue that what I'm making isn't a Black Forest cake – the delicious dough, the cream, the cherries… obviously it's a Black Forest cake. Maybe not the tastiest of them all, but still. But if someone asks me how to make Black Forest cake? Then chocolate shavings are of course one of the most important ingredients! They are so much a part of the typical look, feel, and taste of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte that they absolutely have to be a central ingredient in the recipe. (Experimenting with chocolate sprinkles is not recommended.)

Hopefully this has made it clear how I justify this difference between the term categorization and the wording of the definition. Thanks to Lorna for this wonderful question!

Feedback Status

At the end of last week I sent out my feedback request mail. The time schedule has changed a bit because I realized while writing that one week is actually not that much time for it. So I gave the people two weeks (until October 15th).

Unfortunately this means that I can't wait with Axel's feedback until afterwards, because he will start teaching again with the beginning of the lecture period on October 18 and he won't want to make any commitments for advisory tasks in the first weeks of the semester, which I can understand very well. So Axel will give his feedback now after all based on the first iteration of the thesis. Since I don't know if anyone else will even get back to me (so far there is no feedback), this is probably not a problem. Due to the uncertain waiting time for me, this won't change anything else about the planned finishing date in the area of the first half of November (hopefully).


Thus, at the moment I have nothing concrete to do for my bachelor thesis. So it may be that not much happens until next week – but there will be a weekly report for sure anyway, if needed I'll chat a little about looking back at the process of creating this thing. See you then!


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